Wednesday, October 13, 2010

RSV--Respiratory Syncytial Virus

If you have been following our blog or talked to Jeremy or I you have probably seen or heard about these three little letters - RSV. If you are not aware of RSV you are among the majority. Most people have not heard of RSV, even though nearly every child has had it by the age of two. For full term babies, RSV is usually not any worse than a common cold, but for preemies, the virus can be severe. Babies born earlier than 36 weeks are at the highest risk for serious complications like pneumonia, bronchitis, and other sometimes fatal complications. Our babies were born premature, are multiples, and had low birth weights; these are among the highest risk factors for contracting RSV and developing serious complications.
Starting now in October through the end of April we will be on whats called in the preemie world, "RSV Lockdown". That's 7 months of no church, shopping, going out to eat, or taking the babies to other crowded areas.... sounds crazy I know... but for the most part that's the way it was right after the babies had come home. We will only be taking the babies to necessary doctors appts during the RSV season. But Laura, your babies are 5 months old now and they are fat and healthy?! True, and we want them to stay that way. It was just a few short months ago they were fighting to live in the NICU. They do look like big "normal" healthy babies now, but their lungs have a lot of catching up to do. Can’t they fight it off and build up their immune system? Kids need to get sick, right?! The simple answer is NO. Since our babies were pre-term, they did not acquire the necessary immunities to fight off infection.
Here's a brief explanation I found at
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is a very common virus. RSV usually causes mild cold-like symptoms in adults and children. But premature babies or those with lung or heart problems have a high risk of getting very sick if they catch RSV early in life. This is because premature babies do not have fully developed lungs. Also, because they were born early, they may not have received virus-fighting substances (called antibodies) from their mothers that help them fight off RSV and other viruses. Each year, an estimated 125,000 infants in the United States are hospitalized with severe RSV, the leading cause of infant hospitalization. Severe RSV infections may cause up to 500 infants deaths annually in the United States.

I encourage you to research more on RSV to get a clearunderstanding of it and its potential danger. Here are a few other helpful links I have found:
To help prevent RSV we pretty much expect the same as always from friends and family. We ask that you do not bring over children, don't visit if you have been or have been around someone who is sick within the past 2 weeks... regardless of how much you want to see and miss the babies! When visiting we ask that you wear freshly washed clothing or bring a change of clothes to change into. You will also be asked to wash and sanitize your hands upon arrival. If Jeremy and I feel like someone visiting has symptoms of a cold or other sickness, we will ask you to leave. 
As of right now the babies will not be receiving monthly Synagis shots during the RSV season.  They have missed the insurance criteria by 4, 5 and 7 minutes.  If the babies had been born before midnight instead of directly after they would have recieved the monthly shots to help them fight RSV.  These shots are designed to help protect preemies and other high risk babies from severe RSV but cannot prevent it.  We have appealed the insurance company's decision but are not sure if they will cover the very high cost of administering the shots.
Are we over protective parents? Absolutely. We have every right and reason to be. Our goal is to make it through this and the next RSV seasons without the babies contracting RSV or any other serious illness. Their lungs are still very fragile until they are 2-years-old. Please understand that we do not mean to offend anyone, just simply to provide an explanation. We hope you understand, and we appreciate your help keeping our babies safe. We ask that you continue to keep our precious babies in your prayers that we may make it through this season as fat and healthy as ever! :)


Laura and Jeremy said...

Thank you to Heather who provided all of these really important resources. I could not have been so informative without her dedicated research and obvious love and concern for the safety of her children as well as others.

Bret and Heather said...

No problem, glad you're getting the word out :]

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