What’s this RSV you speak of??

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

October 1st marked the beginning of RSV season. In the micro-preemie and medically fragile kiddo world, this time of year is serious. While we didn't go on heavy lock-down those first few days, we are now officially on lock-down for winter (Alli has remained on moderate lockdown through the summer and our few adventures out were very thought out and planned).

Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV for short, is a very common virus that leads to mild, cold-like symptoms in adults and older healthy children. It can be more serious in young babies, especially to those in certain high-risk groups. PubMed
Alli, along with many other of her micro-preemie counterparts, are in that high-risk group.  For these kiddos, RSV is not just a cold. 
Lockdown for us looks much like this:
· No public outings as a family of 5. During the summer, we extremely limited these outings anyway, PLUS this is now our second RSV season.....we're almost pros!
· A season to divide and conquer.....It's either John with the big girls or myself with the big girls.....someone is always home with Alli
· The only outings allowed for Miss Alli are doctor's visits and clinics-PER her Pediatric Pulmonologist and Pediatric Cardiologist.
· Extreme hand washing and sanitizing (wait, that's not new, that's just my OCD).
· No visitors inside the home unless they have been screened by the CDC....you think I'm kidding, don't you??
· Alli will receive Synagis injections every 28-30 days during the season. Synagisis a prescription medication that is used to help prevent a serious lung disease caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in children at high risk for severe lung disease from RSV.  

This incredible rendering of preemie lungs, brought to you by Peek-a-Boo ICU, speaks volumes how RSV can greatly effect a preemie's lungs. In the womb, Alli lacked the amniotic fluid that is so crucial to lung development. Besides being born extremely premature in age and size, was the fact that her lungs were so hypoplastic, much like glass. While the ventilator was Alli's life support for 9 weeks, it also greatly damaged her already damaged, extremely fragile, and underdeveloped lungs. It was a necessary evil, YES, but the ramifications will linger for years.  

Studies suggest that many preemies outgrow Chronic Lung Disease by age 2. Alli is not one of those preemies, but she does have the potential to outgrow her CLD during her early childhood.  That's why these first 2-3 RSV seasons are  so important.  While Alli is still laying down new and healthy lung tissue, it's of the utmost importance to keep her insanely healthy.  Taking the necessary steps and precautions now can keep her from this potentially deadly virus AND it lays the foundation for her lifelong lung health.  It's a no-brainer, really. 

We have worked so hard at keeping Alli healthy.  It's more than difficult when you have older school age children in the home.  And the words isolating and lonely don't even begin to describe your mood and feelings once you get to January.  It's difficult, but the results are so worth every second of boredom and cabin fever....Plus, I'm enjoying all the extra snuggle time I'm getting with all 3 of my girls.  We don't always get those quiet and still moments during the hustle and bustle of summertime. 

 We made it through Alli's first season without a single sniffle.  This RSV season has already started off rough, but we are baring up the windows and doors, settling in for a nice long healthy winter, and hope to emerge sometime next spring victorious. 

And maybe even walking.  GASP

Are you entering your first RSV season and haven't a clue how to keep yourself sane??  Visit a fellow preemie Mama blogger over at
Life with Jack to find out how you too can survive RSV season. 


  1. Hi, just wondering how your big girls handle it? Do you allow friends to come over? We didn't last winter and it was full of sickness for the trio and really torn now that summer allowed us some normalcy.

    1. Awwwwwwww, the question everyone always asks. It's very very hard and there is a fine line. Our main thing though, is regardless of where we've been, EVERYONE changes clothes and the girls go directly to take a bath after school. We've stressed hand washing and sanitizing so much it's second nature to them now. We also limit where the girls go (ex. NO places like Chuck E Cheese and we even limit church during RSV season). 2 weeks ago the stomach bug was going around and there had been 6 kiddos out of another class. I made the decision to keep Anna Claire home. I'm just not going to take the chance. Maybe I'm overreacting by keeping her home, but I had a weird gut feeling and I went with it! :)

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    Respiratory Syncytial Virus


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