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RSV Lockdown

Author: Jessica Woolwine
Published Date: Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Premature. The word itself sounds so insignificant when it comes to describing how early Abby was born. At 24 weeks, Abby wasn’t just a preemie – she was a micropreemie. She arrived quiet and still and was immediately given a breathing tube and put on a ventilator for almost seven weeks.

CHKD neonatologists and the NICU staff took great care of Abby for 104 days. When she was two days old, she coded – which means her tiny body needed to be resuscitated. Dr. Tiffany and his team saved her life.

Graduation from the NICU was our first hurdle as parents of a preemie. When it was time to leave, we experienced euphoria mixed with panic. There’d be no nurse by my side to answer questions, no machine beeping to tell me she was still breathing and no specialist just down the hall to come to her rescue at a moment’s notice.

I’ll spoil the ending; I took her home anyway and lived happily ever after until … someone … sneezed!

Allow me to introduce you to RSV season, the time of year preemie parents fear the most.

In late fall through the early spring months in Virginia, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) spreads easily. For most healthy older babies and children, RSV looks like a bad cold. No biggie.

For preemies and their sensitive little lungs, catching RSV can turn into a hospital stay for bronchiolitis, pneumonia or worse. Thus, when November begins, so does what preemie parents call “RSV Lockdown.”

It’s basically when I required everyone to wear full hazmat gear to see Abby.

I’m kidding. But the thought has crossed my mind.

In order to prevent the spread of germs, extra safeguards need to be put into place. Take it from a parent that avoided an RSV hospitalization during those important first two years.

These precautions include:

  • Avoiding large crowds or crowded spaces where germs can transfer easier
  • Diligent hand washing at home – and even more so when you’re out of the house
  • Limiting sibling contact and the spread of germs between kids
  • Keeping sick people away. Banished! See you when the tulips bloom!
  • Breastfeeding, if possible, to utilize those protective antibodies

About Jessica Woolwine

Jessica Woolwine is a native of Hampton Roads and lives in Hampton with her three “miracles” Jackson (9), Abby (5) and Henry (1). As a mother to a childhood cancer survivor and a micro-preemie, she began the blog Mothering Miracles in 2014 to support other families dealing with health issues. Jessica also works as Creative Director for Rubin Communications Group and enjoys mixing her talents for graphic design and creative writing with community relations. She is a past member of both the CHKD Family Advisory Council and the CHKD NICU Family Advisory Council.