Tuesday, October 28, 2008

RSV Season...Things our Friends and Family Need to Know!

Hey everyone...

RSV season is now officially upon us and has already begun to hit the Lemonovich Family (PLEASE SEE JOHN'S POST BELOW ABOUT KATE AND HER HOSPITALIZATION). RSV is a very important matter, especially to premature, low birth weigh infants such as ours. For those of you who have thought about visiting us, our family and volunteers who lovingly come daily or weekly to help with the babies and even those of you who live far away who have no intentions of stopping by, please take just a few minutes to read this post.

We want to start by saying thank you for the outpouting of support we have received from everyone. So many people have done so much for us, and every bit of help we have received truly is appreciated. We are experiencing the biggest challenge of our lives and we're lucky to be surrounded by so many family members and friends who have shown us so much love and support.

We'd also like to share an important topic that we recently discussed with our babies' pediatrician following John's recent diagnosis of bronchiolitis and Kate's current hospitalization. If you are not aware of RSV, respiratory syncytial virus, you are among the majoirty. Most people have not heard of RSV, even though nearly every child has had the virus by age two. For full term babies, RSV typically is not any worse than a common cold, but for preemies, the virus can be quite different. Babies born earlier than 36 weeks (the quads were born at 26 weeks, 6 days) are at the highest risk for serious complications like pneumonia, bronchiolitis and other sometimes fatal complications. This website offers a great visual comparison of a preemie's lungs compared to the lumgs of a full term baby: http://www.preemiecare.org/LungsTrees03-4.pdf

Preventing the spread of RSV is very difficult. Thus, we must be vigilant about keeping the babies safe during RSV season - October through April. The virus is spread through physical contact, in the air via a cough or sneeze, or by touching an infected object. The virus can live as long as six hours on the hands and up to twelve hours on objects, and it spreads very easily, especially from child to child. Studies have also shown that infants post an even higher risk of spreading RSV to others.

You may ask, "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. If they contract RSV, they could be hospitalized (as Kate is now) and develop serious complications.

Keeping the babies illness free for the entire period will be a near impossible task, especially with Big Brother Luke constantly trying to "love up" on them by kissing and hugging them. However, we are asking any necessary visitors or our volunteers to follow a few guidelines to help prevent the babies from contracting RSV or any other illnesses.

We ask that all visitors do the following:

1. When you arrive, please take your shoes off at the door so as not to track and dirt, slush from the snow, etc. onto the carpets.

2. Please always be sure to wash your hands with hot, soapy water and use hand sanitizer as needed before touching each of the babies.

3. Please refrain from coming over if you are currently sick and have not been symptom-free for at least 5 days, if you live with someone who is sick, or have been in close contact with someone who is sick.

4. If you smoke, we aks that you change your clothing and refrain from smoking prior to visiting, as a preemie's lungs are very sensitive to smoke.

5. If you are parents to a baby or toddler, PLEASE refrain from bringing them to our house during RSV season.

It will be difficult for us to attend many public events during the RSV season. Our goal is to make it through this season with as little exposure to RSV or any other illnesses as possible.

Please, please, please understand that this post isn't meant to offend anyone or imply in any way that we don't completely appreciate all of the love, good wishes and acts of kindness that have been done on our behalf. For right now though, the babies and their health is the most important thing.

If you have any questions about RSV or whether or not you should come to the house to visit, volunteer, etc., please don't hesitate to contact me via email @ carrielw33@hotmail.com.

Love and good health to you all!


Anonymous said...

As parents charged with keeping 4 preemies well during the cold and flu season, you certainly need not feel that you may offend anyone by giving necessary information to anyone who might be in contact with you and your babies.

We only want your babies to grow up healthy and strong, and welcome any information you have to facilitate that process.

I will be praying for your little ones as they face this challenging season, and for mom and dad, that you will be able to fend off any illnesses, as well as "cabin fever" during these long months...

Take care~

Anonymous said...

You are in our prayers, including those who help with your children. God always hears our prayers!
Lori, Jim, Abigail, and Nathaniel

Jenny said...

sorry to hear Kate is in the hospital! Praying that she gets well soon! thinking about you guys!

Moni Graf said...

Very excellent and informative post. I think people really do want what's best for the babies and this is a perfect way to let them know how they can accomplish that.

I hope Kate is steadily improving and will be home soon. Extra prayers heading your way from the KS Graf quads!


Patti said...

Prayers for baby Kate and a quick recovery. Hope she is resting in your arms REAL soon. Prayers for the rest of your babes during this winter.

Jim, Patti, Katie and Felicity Neill