Pregnancy #1 easy peasy. Pregnancy #2 easy peasy. So of course I naturally didn’t think anything of Pregnancy #3….until suddenly I was placed on hospital bed rest at 27 weeks. At 30 weeks and 2 days Anabelle arrived…a preemie, so tiny at 3lbs 13oz. I wasn’t prepared for all the risks involved in having a preemie but I was thankful that I had been given steroids to help develop her lungs in case she did arrive early. Fortunately the steroids helped tremendously because we were able to avoid having her to be put on any kind of breathing support.
Preemies Are At High Risk For Developing RSV
Shortly after her birth the NICU doctor recommended giving Anabelle a shot called Synagis – something to prevent RSV. I’d heard of RSV only briefly before but I didn’t know much about it nor how to prevent RSV. Because of my lack of knowledge and education on how to prevent RSV I wasn’t yet comfortable just allowing them to give her this shot. The nurses kept asking if I would allow them to do it and I kept stalling, I needed to speak to my pediatrician first. Without any hesitation the pediatrician insisted on us giving Anabelle the Synagis shot and said we would need to continue doing so monthly until she reached six months of age – for her own benefit and protection. We were also told to limit contact with others, including Anabelle’s Abuela, Tia and Tio, because the more visitors the more likely she could get RSV.
All I can tell you is that I am glad we did it. Not even a week after receiving the shot, another baby in the NICU right next to Anabelle was diagnosed with RSV – and the staff went into a frenzy of worry. The parents couldn’t understand how their baby got it and the nurses explained that it was likely one of their visitors. All the babies were immediately tested for RSV and parents were being called to explain the situation and obtain permission to give their babies the shot. RSV is highly contagious and is airborne. The baby that was infected was immediately placed in an isolation room and the parents were now required to put on special jumpers and masks. Fortunately none of the other babies had contracted RSV and all received Synagis shots. The nurses told us how lucky we were that we had already given Anabelle the Synagis shot because it likely prevented her from contracting RSV since she was the closest to the infected baby.
Everything You Need to Know About RSV to Protect their Little Lungs
At that point I was just thankful that we had listened to our pediatrician and educated ourselves. Anabelle was sent home the day before Thanksgiving, 54 days after her arrival into this world and NICU – and we sure had so much to be thankful for. I wish I had known sooner about protecting her little lungs and that’s exactly the reason I wanted to share our story with you. RSV is a common, seasonal virus (although in Florida I am told it is pretty much year round) which typically occurs between November and March in the United States.
October is National RSV Awareness Month and with RSV season starting next week now is the time for you to become educated about the signs and symptoms of RSV disease to protect the little lungs of your baby. Although RSV is the leading cause of hospitalization for babies in their first year of life, it’s not just babies that can contract RSV – toddlers and young kids can too. In fact, Emily was diagnosed with RSV at around age two . Thankfully I recognized the signs and symptoms and rushed her to the emergency room – following which she was admitted for treatment and spent two days in the hospital.
How to Prevent RSV
Preventative measures are key, like hand washing and keeping your little one away from crowds and young children, especially anyone with a cold. Preemies have a higher risk of developing RSV because of how fragile their little lungs are and you should talk to your doctor about more ways to prevent it. To learn more about the preventative measures you can take, visit http://bit.ly/RSVProtection to learn how to help keep your child healthy this RSV season. Check out these RSV Infographics with information you need to know to protect those little lungs in English or en Espanol.
Do you know anyone with a preemie? Be sure to share this post with other parents by raising awareness in your online community using the official hashtags #LittleLungs and #RSVAwarenessMonth and help another parent learn how to prevent RSV and protect their babies little lungs.