SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Doctors at CoxHealth in Springfield say this season has been one of the worst for child illnesses in recent memory, and RSV (Human Respiratory Syncytial Virus)in particular.
The disease can affect people of all ages and resembles a nasty cold, but it can be deadly for infants because the virus can cause swelling in their small airways. At that point, their lungs work overtime trying to pump oxygen.
“Anytime the child has trouble breathing maybe the respiratory rate increases, they begin to wheeze, sometimes they'll get retractions where they'll start pulling in in the chest area,” CoxHealth nurse manager Ami Rohr said. “Those are all signs to seek medical attention.”
Rita Bryson’s three-week-old son, Marshawn, showed similar signs in late January. He bounced from doctor to doctor, until going to CoxHealth’s ICU last week barely able to breathe.
“When he got to the ICU they told us they may have to put him on a ventilator and put a tube down his throat to help him breath, to breath for him, because his lungs were getting too tired,” Bryson said. “His body was getting too weak his body was focusing more on his breathing than getting better.”
His fight with RSV lasted nine long days, but he’s now home.
“A miracle,” Marshawn’s grandmother, Christine Bryson, said. “They even said that when he was in the ICU his bloodwork came back great all of the sudden, and they couldn't understand how. We have a pretty good fighter on our hands.”
“Unfortunately, you can get RSV over and over again, and there are children that will get it twice in one illness season,” Rohr said.
She added that, since there’s no vaccine against RSV, the best prevention is keeping your house and your hands clean.