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Simple Baby Etiquette to Prevent RSV Disease

Thursday, March 22, 2012

This post was tough for me to write because tragedy struck a fellow mommy blogger a couple of weeks ago when she lost her youngest son to this very disease. RSV stands for respiratory syncytial virus, which is like the common cold but can lead to serious complications and even death. Almost every baby will contract RSV by age 2, but only 1/3 of moms say they’ve heard of the virus. That's because most babies with fight off the infection and recover without the parents being any wiser. 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. Parents should contact a medical professional immediately upon signs of these symptoms. There is no treatment for RSV, so it’s important for parents to take preventive steps to help protect their child. 

What can you do to prevent RSV? As parents, you are your baby's first line of defense. Wash hands, toys, bedding frequently; avoid crowds and cigarette smoke. It's also important to enforce baby etiquette to protect infants from serious infections like RSV, especially if they were born premature or with another complication that increases their risk. I am not a confrontational person at all, but I did turn into a mama bear when we had visitors and when I took my newborn out in public. I stashed hand sanitizer in all the rooms and asked family and friends to use it. I also told strangers point blank not to touch my baby. I didn't care if people got offended, but it's not so easy for some parents to communicate their uneasiness about human contact with their newborn. Here is an open letter designed to help new parents respectfully discuss baby etiquette with others:

We all love new babies and want to meet them, but we also have to be aware that they are vulnerable. So remember these tips when a loved one has a new baby: 
  • Call before you visit. New parents need time to set up a routine and bond. By giving them time to do so before you visit, you are respecting the new family. 
  • Postpone a visit if you feel that you may be getting sick, have recently been ill or exposed to illness. 
  • Remember that parents know best. If you feel they are being overprotective or overly cautious, just consider that only they know what’s best for the health of their new son or daughter. 
  • Offer to do something to ease their responsibilities as they spend time as a family, such as laundry, cooking or dishes. Sleep-deprived moms and dads will appreciate your help! 
If you do schedule a visit with a new baby: 
  • Wash your hands frequently—upon entering the home and especially prior to holding the baby. Parents, and the new baby, will appreciate it. 
  • Leave toddlers at home, especially during the winter months. Young children, especially if they attend day care or preschool, often carry germs and viruses, like RSV, that are easily spread.

I wrote this post while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of MedImmune 



Perk11 said...

What a very informative post..my heart goes out to the parents who recently lost their son. I had never heard of RSV but now that I have I will be telling parents about it...Thanks!

An Ordinary Housewife said...

I had never heard of this either. Thanks for the info. My problem is people at church want to hold the baby, not strangers.

sarh s said...

I've heard of it, but never knew quite so much on it. Thank you for sharing.

Chany said...

I have heard of RSV, but I didn't really know much about it before. Thanks for the information!

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