Tuesday, October 11, 2011

RSV: A Must-Read If You're Planning On Visiting Us Anytime Soon

Dear Family and Friends, 

We’re writing regarding a very important matter: RSV.  For those of you who plan to visit us over the next few months, and even if you are not, please take a few minutes to read this letter.

We want to start by saying thank you for the outpouring of support we have received from everyone. So many people have done so much for us, and every bit of help we have received is truly 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 girls' pediatrician.  If you are not aware of RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), you are among the majority.  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 are at the highest risk for serious complications like pneumonia, bronchiolitis, and other sometimes fatal complications.  Our babies were born premature, are multiples, and had low birth weights; these are among the highest risk factors for contracting RSV and developing serious complications. 

This website offers a great visual comparison of a preemie’s lungs compared to the lungs of a full-term baby: 


Preventing the spread of RSV is very difficult. Thus, we must be vigilant about keeping our children 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 hands and up to twelve hours on objects, and it spreads very easily, especially from child to child.  Studies have also shown that infants pose an even higher risk of spreading RSV to others. 

You may ask, “Can’t they fight it off and build up their immune system? Children 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 and develop serious complications. 

We’ll be asking our visitors to follow a few guidelines to help prevent the babies from contracting RSV or any other illness.  We ask that all visitors do the following: 

  1. When you arrive, please wash your hands and use hand sanitizer before touching the babies.  
  2. Please, if it is possible, get a flu shot.
  3. Please refrain from coming over if you are currently sick and have not been symptom-free for at least five (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 ask that you change your clothing and refrain from smoking prior to visiting, as a preemie’s lungs are VERY sensitive to smoke.  Our doctors and most RSV sites strongly recommend against passive smoke exposure.  So, if you smell like smoke, you will not be able to hold the babies.
  5. If you are parents to a baby or toddler, please refrain from bringing them to our house during RSV season.  
  6. For older children, they may come and see the babies, but we ask that if there are any known sicknesses going around their classrooms, they refrain from coming until their classmates are well.
Unfortunately, we will not be attending many events during RSV season. Our goal is to make it through this and the next RSV seasons without the babies contracting RSV or any other serious illness.  Their lungs are still very fragile until they are two (2) years old. 

Please understand that this letter is not meant to offend anyone, just simply to provide an explanation.  We hope you understand, and we appreciate your help keeping our babies safe.

We are also providing several resources with additional information about RSV, below. 

www.PreemieCare.org/rsv_resourceshtm.htm www.PreemieCare.org/rsvfaq.htm www.PreemieCare.org/rsv2.htm www.MOSTonline.org/preemieBB/viewforum.php?f=82 

Love and best wishes to all! 

Jeremy, Meghan, Sophia, Isabelle, and Madelyn DeBauche 

(Thanks to MOST for providing this information.  This letter was adapted from one shared on MOST's website.)


  1. i hope you've been told about the synagis shot. preemies will qualify for it and they will get it at no cost through insurance. i swear it's the best thing and helped keep our girl safe through the cold season. (she came home in november)

  2. We have and our definitely planning on getting it for all of the girls. Thanks!

  3. Mr. Debauche, have you taken a look at the Synagis monoclonal antibody injection to fortify the Troop's immune systems vs. RSV? Talk to any of the Pulmo. folk in the NICU, it's made by B-D Monoclonal. Astrid got it a 4 mo.& it was A-OK. It's an Immune Globulin specifically tailored against RSVs. Hope this helps. We pray for you Every Day here in California.
    Michael & Danielle.

  4. We're definitely planning on getting the shots. They'll each get one per month from November through March. Thank you for the prayers!

  5. We were completely vigilant about this. We were only able to convince the insurance to pay for Synagis for one of our triplets (Abby), which was completely ridiculous. They were all born on the same day, had the same risk factors, all had an older brother in preschool (that's a risk factor in and of itself), etc.

    As it turned out, Abby was fine, but Ellie got RSV when she was a year and a half old and landed in the hospital for a few days. I'm still bitter about the synagis Ellie didn't get! (My triplets just turned 4 - I should probably just get over it!)