Hand to Hold's Official Blog: Written by Parents for Parents

What is RSV and When is RSV Season?

There’s a lot of talk about RSV during the winter months and a lot of people aren’t quite sure what it really is or how bad it can be.  The following is a medical definition for starters.

RSV stands for Respiratory Syncytial Virus and it is a viral disease of the lungs.  It is the main cause of lower respiratory tract illness in infants and young children.  RSV is very contagious and is spread by contact with droplets from the nose and throat of someone who has it.  Mild infections appear mainly as a cold, but if the infection is severe it can require children to be hospitalized.  The best way to prevent the spread of RSV is to cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing, and to wash your hands often.

RSV infections peak in January and February in the United States and preemie babies are especially in danger if they get an RSV infection because of their already weakened lungs and immune systems.  If preemie babies with chronic lung disease get RSV they will most likely need to be hospitalized and unfortunately RSV can be fatal in some children.

One a positive note, there is a medication that preemies can qualify for that gives them antibodies against RSV.  It’s a monthly injection called Synagis given November through April (this time frame might vary according to the climate you live in).  It’s a very expensive shot but there are programs available to help pay for them.

RSV Season typically begins in October and ends in May in a temperate climate, but is officially determined by the number of children hospitalized with RSV.  Parents of preemies are encouraged to keep their premature infants quarantined during RSV Season until the risk of hospitalization or death is very low, around age 2.  Much easier said than done, right?  But it’s a sacrifice worth making, I think, to keep your preemie infant out of danger.

Afton Mower About Afton Mower

After Mower (UT) lost her firstborn son at 21 weeks.  Her daughter was born a year and a half later at 27 weeks.  The NICU was overwhelming and isolating and it was through those two experiences she was led to found this social hub for parents to find the support they needed. Afton also gave birth to another daughter, born two days overdue after four months of strict bedrest. She believes it is a tender experience to hold a special baby in your arms when his spirit returns to his heavenly home, a miracle to watch tiny babies survive the risks of prematurity and a blessing to hold a healthy full-term baby after months of difficulty and sacrifices.

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