Yep, it's time. Time to once again remind everyone that although our children look absolutely normal, their prematurity still stands in the way of them being able to effectively fight a virus such as RSV or the flu. Honestly, last season wasn't too bad. Most people understood what our requirements were w/o a fight. This year, they understand that much better b/c of what we endured w/ Ian in January. It just goes to prove that no matter how careful you are, a virus can be easily transmitted from 1 healthy person & wreak havoc on a small child, especially one born 6 weeks early.
Here is last year's post, revised for this year.
People don't seem to really understand what sick means when we tell them they can't come over if they are "sick". What we mean is if you have the sniffles or the remnants of a cough or even a tickle in your throat, DON'T COME OVER! I'm not trying to be rude but the dr specifically told us that you have to be symptom free to come visit. I'm sorry but we are listening to her over anyone else.
Why is this important? Because our babies are preemies. No, they aren't small anymore nor do they look ill. They actually look like any other 18 mth old toddler at this point BUT their lungs are still underdeveloped & they still have a compromised immune system. This is very important to know b/c there is a virus called RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) which to us or a full-term baby, would not do anything more than just give us a cough & a runny nose, much like the common cold. For our babies, it can mean DEATH.
Why? Our babies lungs look very different from that of a baby the same age that was born after 37 weeks gestation. Let me show you a picture of what our babies' lungs look like compared to that of a regular full-term baby. The 1st 3 pictures are that of our babies' lungs (not actual but you get the idea). The 4th picture is that of a regular baby. Scary to see how much less our babies have compared to them!
This is another good picture to look at. As you can see, they used trees to explain the difference between a normal infant's lungs (left) & a preemie's (right). WOW!
Finally, this is a photo of the airway when affected by RSV. On the left is a normal infant & on the right, a preemie. You can see how much LESS airway is open in the preemie's picture. SCARY!
Once RSV has been passed to one of our babies, hospital stay is an almost certainty. Actually, they would probably end up in the PICU (Pediatric ICU). There is NOTHING they can do to help our babies except to give them O2 via vent (intubated) to help them breathe. Again, something we don't want to experience ESPECIALLY after seeing Ian intubated w/o sedation last year. VERY SCARY!
How do we keep our babies healthy? By staying away from sick people! You may not even know you are carrying RSV & if you come over & infect our babies, you would feel very badly afterward. Sorry if I sound so harsh but I have had to explain over & over again why it is important not to come over.
RSV is contracted through physical contact or vapor droplets in the air. This is why if Todd or I get sick, we will have to wear a mask anytime we are around the babies b/c obviously we can't avoid caring for them. RSV can also live on surfaces for several hours so you better believe I will be Cloroxing all surfaces at least once a day!
A new implementation this year is that people coming from crowded places such as schools, will be required to change clothing. We need to take the extra precautions b/c of what happened to Ian last year. If you would like to read more about what we went through, the link is below.
Ian & Post-Infectious Cerebellitis
Mommies, if you have experienced RSV w/ your little one, I would love for you to leave a comment so others can be educated from a 1st hand experience. I do not want my babies in the hospital. They started their lives there & I would like to keep them out as long as possible!