Wednesday, June 29th, 2011
One in 150 children in the United States are born with Cytomegalovirus, or CMV, a common virus that can cause permanent medical conditions, disabilities, and even death. What’s even scarier is that only 14 percent of women have heard of CMV—and I’ll be honest, I only recently learned about the virus, which can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus.
CMV, which is spread through bodily fluids like saliva, urine, tears, and blood, is usually harmless. Most people have been exposed to it without even realizing it, and it’s especially common among healthy kids ages 1 to 3. But if you’re infected during pregnancy, it can put your baby at risk of hearing, vision, neurological, and developmental problems.
The good news: there are prevention steps pregnant women and women trying to conceive can take to avoid exposure to CMV, especially if they’re often around young children. And just last week the Senate recommended that more effort be made to inform women of childbearing age about the virus. Let’s help get the word out about this health issue. Pass these prevention tips along to your friends, and find out more at stopcmv.org.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for 15-20 seconds, especially after changing diapers, feeding a young child, wiping a young child’s nose or drool, and handling children’s toys.
- Do not share food, drinks, or eating utensils used by young children.
- Do not put a child’s pacifier in your mouth.
- Do not share a toothbrush with a young child.
- Avoid contact with saliva when kissing a child.
- Clean toys, countertops, and other surfaces that come into contact with children’s urine or saliva.