Please wash your hands before touching mine.

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Quincy was born on June 28, 2010. She was almost 8 weeks early.

My friend Julie, who owns the shop “It’s a Preemie Thing” gave me this cool little tag to hang on Quincy’s carseat or stroller. It said “Please wash your hands before touching mine.” It was unbelievable the amount of people who would read the sign, comment on what a good idea it was and then REACH IN TO TOUCH QUINCY. Seriously?

It's a Preemie Thing

Moms like me who freak out on you for wanting to touch our babies (without washing your hands, or sometimes even if you have) aren’t paranoid first time moms. We’re trying to keep our little ones who might have compromised immune systems from getting sick. Especially RSV.

All babies are at risk for RSV, but when you add prematurity into the equation, the risk goes up.

One of the biggest threats to new babies is a very common virus called respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV. This virus is of special concern because it’s extremely common and spreads very easily. RSV can live on surfaces (e.g., doorknobs, countertops, toys, bedding) for several hours and is often spread through touching, hugging and kissing. Because of this, almost 100% of children contract RSV by their second birthday. In most older children, RSV runs its course with mild symptoms similar to the cold or flu, and many parents may not even know their child has the virus. But in very young babies—and especially preemies and those with certain lung and heart diseases—it can lead to a serious respiratory infection.

RSV is nothing to mess around with. While in many children it’s nothing worse than a common cold, some cases can be very severe, leading to hospitalization, and sadly, death.

It's a Preemie Thing

The spread of RSV can be prevented, so no, we aren’t being paranoid. We’re being smart. See, we’re protecting YOUR babies as much as we are protecting ours.

A few facts about RSV that all parents, caregivers and loved ones should know:
• Almost every baby will contract RSV by age 2, but only 1/3 of moms say they’ve heard of the virus.
• Serious RSV infection is the leading cause of infant hospitalization, responsible for more than 125,000 hospitalizations and up to 500 infant deaths each year.
• RSV occurs in epidemics each fall through spring. The CDC has defined “RSV season” as beginning in November and lasting through March for most parts of North America.
• There is no treatment for RSV, so it’s important for parents to take preventive steps to help protect their child (e.g., wash hands, toys, bedding frequently; avoid crowds and cigarette smoke).
• Certain babies are at an increased risk of developing serious RSV infection, so it’s important to speak with a pediatrician to determine if a baby may be at high risk for RSV, and discuss preventive measures.
• 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.

Quincy will be two in a few months. And you better believe I still want you to wash your hands before touching hers.

It's a Preemie Thing

Stop getting offended when new parents ask you to not come over if you’re three year old has been sick, they hand you a bottle of sanitizer or they ask you to wash your hands the instant you walk in the door, or they say no, you can’t hold their newborn. They’re just trying to avoid RSV.

You can read another post I wrote about RSV here.

Disclaimer: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of MedImmune and received promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

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