RSV can be so scary! Find out everything you need to know about Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and how to prevent it with the ABC’s of RSV. This is a compensated campaign in collaboration with MedImmune and Latina Bloggers Connect
When Bummie my #3 was 14 months old she developed a severed cough. It started off as a simple cold but then it became brutal overnight. A cough so bad she would throw up every time she began coughing fits. We rushed her over to the doctor in the morning only to find out she had RSV.
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is a common, seasonal virus contracted by nearly 100 percent of babies by their second birthday. Growing up in Miami I had never even heard of RSV because it was something you never dealt with.
Although RSV is extremely common, many parents are unaware of the dangers that RSV presents to their children. I was surprised to find out that Hispanic Babies are at an Increased Risk of Developing Severe Seasonal Illness like RSV.
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. Which was my case!
Data 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.
Each year in the United States, half a million babies are born premature, and 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. Studies have also shown that on average, Hispanic families have more children, therefore babies often have siblings and extended family who interact with other children, go to school, and often care for them – which creates more opportunity for RSV to spread to the baby.
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.
IT also 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
B is for Babies:
Premature babies(those born before 37 weeks gestation)are most at risk for developing severe RSV because they have underdeveloped lungs and fewer antibodies to fight the virus than babies born full term.
Sadly, 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
Speak to your child’s pediatrician to determine if your baby is at high risk for RSV disease, and if so, what additional steps may be recommended.
Thankfully once we took Bummie to the doctor she was started on breathing treatments and didn’t need hospitalization. It was a very scary episode for us and I realized how important it was to protect our little ones from something that strikes so quickly, yet could be prevented if we took the appropriate measures.
For more information about RSV and prevention, visit www.RSVprotection.com.