Thirteen million babies are born early every year, with more than half a million of them being born in the United States. PREMATURITY is the leading cause of neonatal death and with those staggering numbers, it is important that we all educate ourselves and others on the potential risks associated with pre-term birth.
Tomorrow Saturday, November 17th is World Prematurity Day and it's the perfect time to raise awareness. With underdeveloped lungs and immature immune systems, preemie babies born prior to 37 weeks can be especially prone to infections from seemingly harmless viruses like the common cold, the flu or RSV. While nearly all kids contract RSV by the age of two, preemies are at higher risk of contracting a severe case of RSV. What is RSV?
What is RSV Disease?
RSV is a virus that infects the lungs and breathing passages.
• RSV is the leading cause of infant hospitalization, and severe RSV disease causes up to 10 times as many infant deaths each year as the flu.
• RSV is most prevalent during the winter months. The CDC has defined the “RSV season” as
beginning in November and lasting through March for most parts of North America.
• In addition to prematurity, common risk factors include low birth weight, certain lung or heart
diseases, a family history of asthma and frequent contact with other children.
As with all diseases, prevention is key. RSV is very contagious and can be spread easily through touching, sneezing and coughing. Since there’s no treatment for RSV, parents should take the following preventive steps to help protect their child:
- Wash hands, toys, bedding, and play areas frequently
- Ensure you, your family, and any visitors in your home wash their hands or use hand sanitizer
- Avoid large crowds and people who are or have been sick
- Never let anyone smoke near your baby
- Speak with your child’s doctor if he or she may be at high risk for RSV, as a preventive therapy may be available
It always saddens me that our community is always so under-educated about these kinds of illnesses. Especially when we are at increased risk.
Prematurity and RSV in the U.S. Hispanic Community
• The current rate of preterm births in the U.S. Hispanic community is 11.66 percent. Since 2006, the preterm rate has declined 5 percent for Hispanic infants.
• Data indicate that infants from U.S. Hispanic communities are at increased risk to develop
severe RSV disease; while the exact reason for the increased risk is unknown, the increased
prematurity rate is likely a contributing factor.
• Two-thirds of U.S. Hispanic mothers have never heard of RSV, and one in five U.S. Hispanic
moms only becomes aware of RSV once their child has contracted the virus.
Sometimes my girls think I overreact when my grand kids have a cold and I am pressuring their mom to take them to the doctor. But its because of viruses like these, that sometimes what you may think is a little cold or flu could be a lot more serious. It's important to know the symptoms of RSV, and if you believe your child might have it, get him/her to the doctor immediately.
Contact your child’s pediatrician immediately if your child exhibits one or more of the following:
- Severe coughing, wheezing or rapid gasping breaths
- Blue color on the lips, mouth, or under the fingernails
- High fever and extreme fatigue
November 17th is World Prematurity Day and there is no better time to SPEAK UP, educate and raise awareness about the dangers of premature birth ad RSV. Lear more about RSV by visiting the RSV Protection Site.
This is s a sponsored post in collaboration with Latina Bloggers Connect, however all opinions are my own.