TYLER, Texas (KETK) – It’s a typical season for many to get sick, but for babies, it’s especially risky as their lives could be at stake.
An infection known as RSV is contagious. While many can recover from it in just a few weeks, it can be life-threatening for infants.
“We just thought she had a little cold and so over the weekend we had given her a little bit of Tylenol and just wiped her nose as best we could,” said Rachel Baker, mother.
Her 7-month-old daughter was at daycare when she received the frightening news.
“They called me at the end of the day and told me she was running a 103-degree fever, which in any person is a bad thing,” said Baker.
She immediately took her to urgent care where things became clear.
“Normally a swab takes awhile but they said her RSV was so bad that it instantaneously popped up,” said Baker.
Having experience with RSV through all of her children, she’s worried that other parents may have no idea what’s hiding behind a simple cough.
“It’s just as scary as if you hadn’t heard it because, in an infant, their airways are not developed like ours are so when you hear that they have RSV it rings hospital bells because if it gets so bad they do get emitted into the hospital,” said Baker.
RSV is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The tiny drops of saliva can land on a child’s face which leads many children to develop bronchitis and pneumonia.
“Sleeping is more difficult, eating is more difficult because they can’t breathe through their nose and they haven’t yet learned to breathe through their mouth, and then on top of that little ones have a lot tinier breathing tubes then we do,” said Baker.
The CDC estimates there are 57,000 children younger than five who have been hospitalized for RSV.
Just in the last month, the Texas Health and Human Services reported over 160 cases of RSV which is concerning since the peak season for infection doesn’t start until late December and early January.
People infected usually have symptoms for three to eight days but for infants, they can show symptoms for up to a month.
“It’s just really important to keep the smaller kids safe because they can’t fight things off as well as we can,” said Baker.
While the infection spreads through from the fall to the spring, one doctor recommends taking care and extra precaution to stay healthy.
“Don’t kiss the babies, don’t love on the babies if you have any kind of runny nose, cough congestion anything like that, and as a mom, absolutely feel empowered to say hey if your sick, you have respiratory symptoms please do not come near the baby,” said Dr. Heather Radu, RSV specialist.
Labeled at ‘Do not kiss the baby season’, doctors are urging parents to be on alert during the holiday season when families are close together.