This post was sponsored as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
For many years my oldest daughter asked to be a big sister. We really thought a family of three is all we would ever be until on big sister’s first day of kindergarten in 2014, we learned we would make her dreams come true. She was so excited when we shared the news and waiting for little sister to arrive seemed to take forever. When it was finally time for the big day at my planned induction we learned that because of the potential risk of RSV, big sister would not be able to visit my labor and delivery room. Already devastated because she couldn’t stay overnight at the hospital with us and would be staying with her grandma instead, not being able to visit us was awful news for big sister. She was just six years old and the most excited to meet her baby sister. With this month being RSV Awareness Month, we all should learn a little about the highly contagious, seasonal virus that affects nearly 100% of infants by the age of two and occurs in epidemics from November through March.
October is National RSV Awareness Month and while most parents are at least mildly familiar with the virus, there was so much I was surprised to learn when little sister was born.
The bond my girls share is incredible considering their six year age gap. Little sister couldn’t be more proud of her big sister and follows her every move. Fortunately for our family, we have not experienced RSV in our household but it’s reassuring to know the great lengths hospitals do take to make sure their newest little patients are safe.
Unlike what some believe, all babies are at risk for RSV. Common symptoms include those that present themselves as the common cold or flu. Severe RSV causes up to 125,000 infant hospitalizations and around 200 deaths each year in the United States. We all have someone close to us that has been impacted by RSV. It’s so important to know the signs and when to seek medical assistance. Potential signs not to be ignored include persistent coughing or wheezing, fast or troubled breathing, bluish color around the mouth or fingernails, and fevers. For some infants, RSV is mild but for others, it can develop into a much more serious viral infection.
From day one, big sister couldn’t wait to meet the newest addition to our family. She spent almost her entire first year of school anticipating the arrival.
We did not expect our oldest daughter to be turned away by the hospital and not able to experience the excitement leading up to her sister’s birth with my husband and I. Although it probably felt like an eternity to her, the moment she did finally meet her little sister was magical.
Our new baby was not at risk for severe RSV disease but other newborn infants in the nursery could have factors making it unsafe for our older daughter to visit. There is no current treatment for RSV so it is extremely important for new parents to understand their child’s risks. Premature infants born at or earlier than 35 weeks gestational age are at a higher risk.
Little sister coming home was the best day ever for our oldest daughter but that certainly didn’t mean she was safe from the high numbers of RSV reported in our community.
Bringing home a new baby is exciting and sometimes we forget how dangerous it could be to bring them out too early and overexpose them to unnecessary germs and worse, RSV. There are a few things you can do to help prevent RSV disease and protect your child.
- Wash your hands! Remind your children and others in your home to wash their hands.
- Sanitize your child’s belongings to prevent exposure to germs.
- Ask your child’s pediatrician if your child could be at a higher risk for severe RSV disease.
Our youngest daughter is now two years old and while big sister might not appreciate all the pretties she’s “borrowed” from her bedroom, they are the cutest best friends together.
RSV Infographic references: