It's viral season and no one is more vulnerable than infants, especially premature babies.
November 1st marks the beginning of R-S-V season, when the respiratory syncytial virus plagues infants with cold like symptoms that may morph into a more serious and dangerous condition.
And some medical experts now fear preemies are even more at risk because of recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics that almost solely restricts Palivizumab the preventive treatment for infants born before 29 weeks.
Dr. Estuardo Figueroa, Parkridge East says "If we see there is an increase of babies who are having this trouble, most likely those guidelines will be revised."
Dr. Figueroa works in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Parkridge East. He says advancements in medical technology has made a big difference when it comes to the health and outcome for premature babies.
Dr. Estuardo Figueroa says "Because babies who are born now a days have the advantage of having treatment of respiratory care we've achieved over the last 15 years.
And because of new technology, Dr. Figueroa says he doesn't feel those premature infants who don't receive the preventive treatment are being put at risk when they leave the hospital.
Dr. Estuardo Figueroa says "I feel comfortable because the data shows that those babies tend to do a lot better than what we used to think."
But make no mistake about how serious this condition can be. Tennessee has the third highest infant mortality rate, with the African American community being hit very hard.
Estimates suggest that RSV causes roughly 4,000 deaths in children under age 5 each year.
That's why prevention is key, a nd Dr. Figueroa says it starts with moms -not smoking, watching their weight, and keeping regular doctors appointments.
And when your premature baby leaves the hospital Dr.Estuardo Figueroa says "Minimized Exposure of their babies to large crowds.
Dr. Estuardo Figueroa says "And have strict hand washing and good hygiene and know how to protect babies from cough."
So take safety precautions, make sure your baby is monitored on a regular basis, and enjoy your little bundle of love.