February … what does this month represent to most people? Probably Valentine’s Day, paper hearts, candy, and flowers.
But to parents of children born with congenital heart defects, it means a time to spread awareness of this birth defect. Feb. 7 to 14 is devoted to awareness of the number one birth defect found in babies. Feb. 12 was the day to wear purple to honor those who are heart angels, warriors, and survivors.
There are over 40 different identified types of heart defects. Some babies need surgery right after birth, some a few days, months, or years later, and some may not ever need surgery.
Symptoms of heart defects may include: pale gray or blue skin, rapid breathing, grunting, flared nostrils, feeding problems, or excessive sweating. If parents notice any of these things, they should bring it to the attention of their baby’s doctor.
Today, because of the advances in medical care, there are more adults living with CHD than children. Some adults who had heart surgery as babies, find out that they need surgery once again. Because most heart defects can never be fully repaired, it is very important that those who have had heart surgery be followed by an adult congenital heart specialist.
Please help spread awareness by wearing purple and telling others why you are wearing it.
Rita Scoggins Harlingen