Monday, October 10, 2016

October is RSV Awareness Month: Learn About RSV Symptoms and Prevention

This post was sponsored by AstraZeneca as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. 
All opinions expressed in this post are my own.

My oldest daughter was born in the summer and it was more than a year before she got sick for the first time. I didn't quite know what to expect this past year when I had a baby born in the winter. My youngest was born in February and despite my best efforts to keep her healthy, unwanted germs entered our home and before I knew it, I had a very sick baby. Just 7 weeks after she was born, we were in the pediatrician's office with nasal and chest congestion and a fussy baby that could hardly eat because she couldn't breathe through her nose. She was wheezing, and our pediatrician, along with a nurse and nurse practitioner spent two hours trying to stabilize her oxygen levels. Normal is 100%, acceptable is in the 90%'s. We were sitting steady at 80%.

Infant airways and lungs are so tiny and so fragile and I learned through our experience that it doesn't take much for a baby's illness to escalate to the point of not getting enough oxygen. Thankfully babies - and their lungs - are incredibly resilient. Still, it's scary. As parents, we need understand what's happening, when to seek help, and what we can do to attempt to avoid it.

October is RSV Awareness Month, a great time to learn about what RSV is and how to prevent it. RSV - Respiratory Syncytial Disease - is more common than you might think. In fact, most babies will contract RSV before the age of two. Thankfully, it's not nearly as common for symptoms to become severe enough to require hospitalization. RSV is a seasonal virus that typically shows it's ugly head between November and March. It's the leading cause of hospitalization for babies in their first year of life.

We did everything we could think of to try to avoid illness in our baby, but with an older child who was unknowingly bringing germs home from school, it wasn't too surprising that despite our best efforts, we ended up with a sick baby. Thankfully we had a team of people that helped her to get well really fast and our hospital stay was short and sweet. We're hopeful that we'll make it through this RSV season without another hospitalization and we'll be sure to do what we can to prevent it - frequent hand washing, keeping baby away from crowds and young children (especially those with colds) as much as possible, washing toys and bedding often to get rid of any stowaway germs, and of course, avoiding any exposure to cigarette smoke.

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