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Your Baby and RSV Disease – What You Need to Know

What is RSV Disease?

RSV stands for respiratory syncytial (sin-SISH-uhl) virus, which can lead to extremely serious complications, specifically for preterm infants. It’s a very common, easily spread virus that almost all children catch by the time they turn 2 years old. In most babies, RSV will cause only cold and flu type symptoms, and you probably wouldn’t even be aware that it was anything other than that. But, in some babies, especially if they are born early, RSV can lead to really serious lung infections, and can require hospitalization.

Why RSV Disease is more Dangerous for Preemie Babies

Despite recent slight declines in rates of prematurity, 1,400 babies are still born prematurely in the United States every day, and 13 million babies are affected by prematurity around the world. Prematurity, defined as being born before 37 weeks completed gestation, disrupts a baby’s development in the womb, often stunting the growth of some of the body’s most critical organs. At birth, preemies often have difficulty with breathing, feeding and maintaining temperature. Because their immune systems haven’t had time to fully mature, preterm infants are more likely to develop infections, and because their lungs are underdeveloped, they are more susceptible to respiratory problems.

Why Moms Should be Aware of RSV:

The CDC has defined “RSV season” as beginning in November and lasting through March for most parts of North America. That means, this is the most dangerous time of year. Since RSV is the leading cause of infant hospitalization, responsible for more than 125,000 hospitalizations and up to 500 infant deaths each year, and there is no treatment for it, it is incredibly important to get educated on this disease, and learn how to protect your family.

What You Can Do:

Clearly, most preterm deliveries are unavoidable. Make sure you get the best prenatal care you can find, follow your doctors advice and directions, and make your very best effort at living as healthy as possible. Other than that – babies do what they want. Just like they do when they’re toddlers, and teenagers. :) But, there are some basic steps you can take to protect your new baby:

  • 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 may be sick
  • Never let anyone smoke near your baby
  • Speak with your child’s doctor if you believe he or she may be at high risk for RSV, as a preventive therapy may be available

Symptoms to Watch For:

Contact your child’s pediatrician immediately if your child exhibits one or more of the following:
  • Persistent coughing or wheezing
  • Rapid, difficult, or gasping breaths
  • Blue color on the lips, mouth, or under the fingernails
  • High fever
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Difficulty feeding

To learn more about RSV, visit  For more about the specialized health needs of preterm infants, visit

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{I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of MedImmune and received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.}


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