I sat on the cold plastic couch as my husband held my shuddering body tightly in his arms. Our 6-week-old daughter didn’t even fight the doctors who were trying to get her quickly settled into the PICU. The IVs, the feeding tube, the CPAP, and every other medical tool that was being strapped to her body elicited no response from her. What 24 hours earlier had just been a cough had turned into our baby’s body close to giving up the fight against RSV.
Maybe you’ve seen the memes floating around social media telling you not to kiss the babies this winter as respiratory syncytial virus, better known as RSV, runs rampant. It’s not because we don’t want you to love our babies; it’s because we want nothing more than to keep them safe.
A virus that presents like a common cold in adults can be deadly for infants. Walk into any PICU in the winter months, and you are sure to find cribs full of coughing infants fighting just to breathe. It’s a ruthless virus that doesn’t even peak in its severity until around day five. What is even scarier is that adults are normally contagious before they ever show symptoms.
So while it might be incredibly hard to resist a smooch on that adorable little baby, I beg you to reconsider. And if you just can’t resist, the back of the head is the safest spot to minimize their chances of catching the virus.
I will never forget the words from our nurse as we were preparing to be released from the hospital. “I’m so glad to see you going home. You don’t know how close her body was to shutting down.” And our baby did make a full recovery, thankfully, but there are many who don’t. There are many parents who have to walk out those doors without their babies. There are too many babies lost every winter from one deadly kiss. So this winter let’s do our best to keep these babies safe.
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