RAPID CITY, SD (KOTA) — Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season. Often that means spending time with family, but this year there could be some unwanted guests – the flu, COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus are making their rounds. One of them hits the children hard.
“My husband asked her, specifically, are we going to bring a baby home? And he couldn’t tell us whether we were or not. So every time we left the hospital, we couldn’t help but think that we were going to have to make it all the way home with just the two of us? That was reality for LeeVi and Ray Big Crow, whose 2-week-old daughter spent the next few weeks of her life in hospital with RSV.
“We kind of started noticing, like she started off with a stuffy nose and she just had some kind of fever, which when you’re a new mum they tell you if they have any fever, you need to take them to the emergency room. immediately. And we did,” LeeVi said. “Our other two or our other kids, we’ve never experienced that before so we didn’t really know what we were up against I guess. We didn’t really know what to watch for, but we kept thinking something was wrong, she wasn’t getting better.
There has been a noticeable increase in respiratory viruses in young children in recent weeks.
According to the CDC, as recently as last week, 8,987 positive RSV tests were recorded, double the number from a year ago.
“The younger you are, the more trouble you tend to have,” said Dr. Kimberly Hushagen of Rapid City Medical Center. “So before they are six months old they tend to struggle more, especially if the children are born prematurely they have underlying medical conditions that may be more difficult to cope with.”
Some common symptoms of RSV include a runny nose, decreased appetite, coughing, sneezing, fever, and wheezing. But Hushagen says some symptoms should be more concerning.
“If we’re on the fifth day of fever, I want to check and make sure they don’t have pneumonia or ear infections. Otherwise, if we have breathing difficulties, so breathing grunts, so-called retractions, where kids will use their extra muscles to help with breathing and pulling under their ribs or between their ribs,” Hushagen continued. “So respiratory issues or the other big issue is dehydration. So if they don’t pee at least three times in 24 hours, their mouth looks dry, that’s when I want to see you.
Hushagen added that this is the typical time of year for these viruses, but the easing of COVID-19 precautions may be why we are seeing such a spike in all of these viruses at once.
For LeeVi Big Crow, her daughter Allison got worse in 24 hours and trusts her instincts when something goes wrong.
“While all of this is going on, just think about how did we get here? We did everything we were supposed to do, we had no visitors, and people who came, we made people wash their hands and made sure people didn’t kiss our baby “, continued LeeVi. “She was completely sedated and intubated and seeing your baby like this is heartbreaking. There really is no other way to describe it.
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