ABC’s of RSV

Disclosure: This is a compensated campaign in collaboration with MedImmune and Latina Bloggers Connect. All opinions stated here are my own.

Putting my kids in daycare was a difficult transition for me. I was worried about the illnesses and sickness they would come into contact with especially that they were only three months old. Their little immune systems are so fragile. I knew there wasn’t much I can do once my kids were dropped off at their childcare location. I prayed for the best and hoped that they would be OK. I wasn’t aware of one particular infection that is common in babies – RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus). The daycare advised us one day that one of the children that attended the school was diagnosed with RSV. I had no idea what RSV was at the time so I quickly searched the Internet. The information I found out was worrying. Luckily, my children were safe.

ABCs of RSV

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is a common, seasonal virus contracted by nearly 100 percent of babies by their second birthday. Although RSV is extremely common, many parents are unaware of the dangers that RSV presents to their children. In fact, two-thirds of Hispanic mothers have never heard of RSV, and one in five Hispanic moms only becomes aware of RSV once their child has contracted the virus. This was exactly the case for me – I had no idea what it was until I did research.

RSV Infographic - ENGLISHData has indicated that infants from African-American and Hispanic communities are at increased risk of developing severe RSV disease. The virus often leads to a mild respiratory infection, but in some babies, such as preemies, it can develop into something much more serious due to their underdeveloped lungs and immature immune systems.

All parents—especially those with babies at increased risk for contracting RSV—must understand key facts about RSV to protect their children. Learning the ABCs of RSV is a simple way to keep your family healthy during RSV season.

A is for Awareness:

RSV is a common seasonal virus, contracted by nearly all children by the age of two, and typically causes mild to moderate cold-like symptoms in healthy, full-term babies. Preterm infants, however, are born with undeveloped lungs and immature immune systems that put them at heightened risk for developing severe RSV disease, often requiring hospitalization.
• RSV occurs in epidemics each year, typically from November through March, though it can vary by geography and year-to-year
• RSV disease is the leading cause of hospitalization for babies during their first year of life in the United States, with approximately 125,000 hospitalizations and up to 400 infant deaths each year
• RSV disease is responsible for one of every 13 pediatrician visits and one of every 38 trips to the ER in children under the age of five
• Despite being so common, many parents aren’t aware of RSV; in fact, one-third of mothers (and two-thirds of Hispanic mothers) have never heard of the virus

B is for Babies:

• Premature babies—defined as those born before 37 weeks gestation—are most at risk for developing severe RSV disease because they have underdeveloped lungs and fewer antibodies to fight the virus than babies born full term.
• Amongst Hispanics, the preterm birth rate has grown six percent over the last decade. Currently, one in eight Hispanic babies is born premature and it is likely that high prematurity rates are a reason for increased risk of RSV within Hispanic communities.

C is for Contagious:

RSV is very contagious and can be spread easily through touching, sneezing and coughing. Additionally, the virus can live on the skin and surfaces for hours. Learn the symptoms of severe RSV disease and contact your child’s pediatrician immediately if your child exhibits one or more of the following:
• Persistent coughing or wheezing
• Bluish color around the mouth or fingernails
• Rapid, difficult, or gasping breaths
• Fever [especially if it is over 100.4°F (rectal) in infants under 3 months of age]

There is no treatment for RSV disease once it’s contracted, so prevention is critical. A pediatrician is the best way for mothers to get answers to their child’s health issues, but one in three Hispanic mothers has made a decision to avoid or postpone proper treatment for their child because of healthcare costs. In addition to talking to their children’s doctor, parents can help protect their children from contracting RSV by:
• Washing their hands and ask others to do the same
• Keeping toys, clothes, blanket and sheets clean
• Avoiding crowds and other young children during RSV season
• Never letting anyone smoke around your baby
• Steering clear of people who are sick or who have recently been sick

Please spread the word to other moms, dads, friends, neighbors, or anyone else you come into contact with. Let’s try to prevent the spread of this virus and protect our precious babies!

Want to learn morning about RSV? Please visit www.RSVprotection.com for more information.

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