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It’s Ok To Be A Mama Bear- Protect Your Newborns and Preemies From RSV

We welcomed our second son into the world almost nine months ago, a month premature. I was quite scared when words like “underdeveloped lungs” and “steroid shots” were muttered between doctors and nurses observing our son’s progress. He looked like a little chicken to me, frail and teeny, and despite being a mother already, I felt afraid for the first time in my life of holding such a fragile, delicate creature in my hands.

Preemie Awareness Day is November 17th

Over 13 millions babies are born early each year, and premature birth is the leading cause of neonatal death. Premature babies are much more susceptible to infections and illnesses than their full term counterparts, and as such require even more carefule handling by those around them. One of the most serious illnesses a premature baby can get is RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), a nasty yet common virus that is particularly threatening to new babies.

People don’t like to be asked to wash their hands when visiting, or to stay away if they’ve recently been sick, but because being cautious can be lifesaving, parents of premature babies need to stress hygiene and a strict quarantine around their precious little treasures.

RSV spreads easily and can live on surfaces like doorknobs, countertops, even bedding. It’s often spread through touching, hugging and kissing. Almost 100% of children contract RSV by their second birthday, and in toddlers, RSV usually manifests itself with mild flu-like symptoms. However, in very young babies, RSV can lead to a serious respiratory infection or even death.

Protect Your Newborn

For your baby’s safety, ask visitors to:

  • Refrain from visiting when they are sick or if they’ve been around someone ill
  • Make sure clothes are clean and smoke-free (smoke is dangerous to underdeveloped lungs)
  • Keep other babies and toddlers at home
  • Wash hands immediately upon entering home and as needed during visit

There is no treatment for RSV, so it’s important for parents to take preventive steps to help protect their child. Symptoms of serious RSV infection include persistent coughing or wheezing; rapid, difficult, or gasping breaths; blue color on the lips, mouth, or under the fingernails; high fever; extreme fatigue; and difficulty feeding.

To learn more about RSV and how to protect your baby, visit RSVProtection.com.

rsv infection infographic

  • TSV always scared me when my kids were babies — they are so susceptible.

  • That photo is beautiful.

    Those tips that you gave are so important to help protect babies.

  • Zoe was 4 weeks early. Scared me so much luckily she was completely healthy. Her immune system still isn’t the greatest though

  • Penelope

    Same here, he gets sick more often and easily than his older brother (who was full term and actually 5 days late).

  • My son was a month early too and I was worried about this but thankfully we got through that period safely. Great tips!

  • I was so scared of this since my daughter was born a few weeks early. She was so tiny and fragile looking. It’ almost hard for me to believe that she was preemie looking at her now.

  • RSV can definitely be pretty scary. And it’s amazing how insensitive some people (even family members) can be when you either ask them not to come visit because they’re sick or to wash their hands, etc. This is your baby’s life you’re talking about!

    Ryan was born a bit premature but he was born while my wife was real sick with a fever, so he was born sick too. He stayed in the hospital for almost a week. He’s definitely had the lower immune system, since he caught croup at the drop of a hat when he was younger.

  • My 2nd son had RSV when he was 6 weeks old. It was very scary, and taught me to keep my babies away from crowds!

  • Mellisa

    My son was born a month premature and while we did spend a few days in the NICU after a week or so he was healthy and home. RSV is a scary thing and nothing to mess with.

  • Such a wee little one. I can’t believe it’s been nine months.

    I was always afraid my children would get RSV when they were little but none of them ever did, thank goodness.

  • RSV is so scary!

  • RSV is no joke! I am glad to see Mom Central and some of my favorite bloggers helping to raise awareness!

  • Jenn

    Awww…that’s the cutest little “chicken” I’ve ever seen! It’s amazing how your inner mama bear comes out, isn’t it?

  • Jennifer The Quirky Momma

    What a precious little baby face.

    I knew nothing about RSV until recently. Now I am terrified for my friends who are expecting.

  • I’m so scared of this !

  • Thanks for sharing this great information.

  • This is definitely a subject worth sharing. So glad everything turned out, beautiful photo.

  • such an important message to share I had 2 children that had rsv and with the right meds thankfully all turnd out well

  • Love his eyelashes! So beautiful!! My son was born at 38 weeks and hadn’t grown them yet! They didn’t come in for a few more weeks. I agree it’s okay to be a mama bear and ask family to make sure they are clean and ask strangers not to touch!

  • When my little ones were little I worried about this and so much. Actually I still worry!

  • RSV scares me too. When they’re preemies, keeping them protected from everything is your goal but with no cure it’s an even scarier ordeal if they’re exposed or come down with this vicious illness.

  • Our younger daughter was born at 35 weeks. Although she didn’t have RSV, she does tend to keep coughs longer than her full term siblings despite her being 6 now!

  • It is so important to protect our little ones. One of mine was a preemie and this is a really real risk.

  • Donna

    My best friend’s first child was a preemie and I remember how protective she was of him… and I didn’t blame her one bit. My son wasn’t premature and was healthy but was born in the very late fall and winter season and I was very cautious.