Respiratory syncytial virus, known as RSV, is a seasonal virus that resembles the common cold. While all babies can contract RSV, and likely will by their second birthday, those born prematurely have a higher risk of becoming seriously ill from the condition due to their underdeveloped lungs and immature immune systems. Additionally, data indicate that infants from Hispanic communities are also at increased risk to develop severe RSV disease.
Below are steps parents can take to protect their child from contracting RSV:
1. Wash hands, toys, play areas, and bedding often
2. Keep their baby away from people with colds or influenza
3. Avoid crowded areas during the “RSV season,” which typically runs from November through March
4. Never let anyone smoke around their baby
Unfortunately, many parents are unaware of the dangers of RSV, despite it being extremely common and the leading cause of infant hospitalization. In fact, two-thirds of Hispanic mothers have never heard of RSV].
For more information, they can visit www.rsvprotection.com.
Baby Care 101: Preventive Health Measures to Protect Your Newborn Baby
Stephanie Lewis, MN, RN, CPNP, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and RSV Prevention Clinic Coordinator, at the High-Risk Infant Neonatology Follow-up Clinic of Arrowhead Regional Medical Center and Riverside County Medical Center
Welcoming a new baby into the family is a life changing experience. Although this is a time of joy and happiness, it can also bring unwanted nerves to any first-time parent. With the arrival of a new baby, it’s important that the parents-to-be seek continuous prenatal care and follow-up care once a baby is born.
Below are three steps parents can follow to avoid troublesome behaviors that may impact their infant’s health:
· When handling a newborn, it is important to remember to always wash your hands. Newborns are more susceptible to infections because they have vulnerable immune systems. Invest in hand sanitizer!
· There’s a time and place for everything. Once parents bring their bundle of joy home, it’s important they discuss the appropriate time to have family and friends visit. Avoiding large crowds and ensuring guests are cold-free is key to preventing the spread of germs.
· Don’t let anyone smoke in your home, or near your baby. Second-hand smoke is extremely dangerous for babies, because among other things, it weakens their lungs and makes them more prone to infections.
These tips can help parents prevent their infants from contracting illnesses that are common among young children during the winter months, such as the cold, flu, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). RSV is a common, seasonal respiratory disease that is contracted by nearly all babies by the age two, but can be especially serious in premature infants (born 37 weeks or less), due to their underdeveloped lungs and immature immune systems.
Despite its prevalence, many parents and caregivers have never heard of RSV. In fact, data show that one-third of mothers have never heard of RSV. RSV often leads to a mild respiratory infection, but in some babies it can develop into something much more serious. It’s important for parents to be aware of the virus and know how they can protect their newborn from the virus. For more information, visit www.rsvprotection.com.