My daughter Becky was born at 30-weeks gestation in very early September and her due date was supposed to be mid-November. In our first actual meeting with Becky’s neonatologist, one of the first things she brought up was the fact that cold and flu season was coming and that so was RSV season. I looked at her and turned instantly pale. She was surprised that as a first time mother I knew what RSV was.
“Yes a friend’s full-term daughter had it and was hospitalized for a number of days due to being really sick,” I noted to the doctor. “So what can we do to protect our premature baby?” The pit of my stomach was clenching in fear because here I was watching my daughter work through serious breathing issues, heart issues, thermoregulation issues and more. And RSV could wreak havoc with her, it could kill her. The doctor was clear that though this was a very serious issue, that indeed there was a drug that could help her through the season and mitigate the effects of RSV should she contract it. I was beyond grateful to hear that there was a drug to help. The thought of my daughter struggling just to live and get out of the hospital only get hammered by this extremely contagious virus left me paranoid about anyone touching my daughter. The same with the flu and any other colds.
So what do you do? Here are some things that helped me through that period of time:
Having a family on lockdown during RSV season is a real challenge. Make sure to talk to your child’s lung doctor (pulmonologist) about this prior to discharge. The pediatrician is a decent go-to but is not a specialist that will truly understand RSV.
Oh and my daughter? She made it through that first season without RSV thanks to the monthly (Synagis) injections. But we also were diligent hand-washers, screeners of the few visitors we had in to see her and made sure we all got flu shots.
Deb Discenza is the Founder and CEO/Publisher of PreemieWorld, LLC and the co-Author to The Preemie Parent’s Survival Guide to the NICU. (https://PreemieWorld.com). She also runs the free Inspire Preemie Community, 40,000+ strong at http://preemie.inspire.com