Like 86 percent of women polled in a recent survey, I had never heard about CMV (cytomegalovirus)—until, that is, it affected one of the strongest moms I know, Casey, and her beautiful daughter, Gracie. (Read their story here.)
Now I know that CMV is a very common, often symptomless virus that infects up to 80 percent of people before age 40. Usually it’s harmless. The scary part: If you’re infected during pregnancy—or even before getting pregnant—there’s a chance you could pass it along to your unborn baby. According to the CDC, one in 150 babies are born with congenital CMV and it’s the top cause of birth defects, including blindness, deafness, disability and even death.
June is National Congenital CMV Awareness Month, so I wanted to put these prevention tips from the CDC on your radar in case you’re in baby-making mode, already preggo or have a loved one who is. Since CMV is transmitted through bodily fluids (saliva, urine, tears, blood, mucus, etc.) and infected children easily spread the virus, it’s especially important for pregnant women who are around young kids often to protect themselves.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 15 to 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers, feeding a young child, wiping a young child’s nose or drool or handling children’s toys.
- Don’t share food, drinks or eating utensils used by young children.
- Don’t put anything that’s been in a child’s mouth (pacifier, toothbrush) into yours.
- Avoid kissing children on the mouth.
- Clean toys, countertops and other surfaces that come into contact with children’s urine or saliva.
Click here for more information on the Stop CMV campaign.