Cases of respiratory virus on the rise, Joplin mother shares personal experience

Looking at eight-month-old baby Owen, you wouldn’t think he’d been so miserable just a week before, fighting a serious case of RSV.

“If I wouldn’t have taken him in, in a couple days, he would’ve been hospitalized,” said Mandi Lindsey, a Joplin mom.

RSV is a common respiratory virus that may seem like a cold with symptoms like a runny nose, cough and fever, but it causes more inflammation and can even turn into pneumonia.

“Pediatricians and neonatologists will tell you that they’ve seen the worst case scenarios where babies end up on a ventilator or worse because unfortunately RSV can kill babies as well and young kids,” said Rahul Oberoi, a neonatal ICU physician with Freeman.

RSV is especially dangerous for children under two years of age. Doctors say if you feel sick, or are sick, you should avoid contact with the baby, resisting the urge to kiss or get close to the infant’s face.

“It can be transmitted through respiratory droplets, people coughing. Adults can be infectious, but not have signs and symptoms. But, other than that, the best thing you can do is just keeping your hands clean and minimizing your exposure,” said Oberoi.

The only treatment for RSV is time and rest. The virus has to run it’s course, but breathing treatments can also help the healing process.

“They gave us a nebulizer and you know we did the mask treatment three or four times a day and kept him hydrated,” explained Lindsey.

Freeman buckles down on visitation policies during flu and RSV season, hoping to keep the virus from spreading, but some hospitals are seeing more cases.

“Hearing from our colleagues in the surrounding communites all the way out to Pittsburg, Parsons as well, and a few surrounding areas down in the Miami area, that they’ve been seeing incresasing cases over the past month,” Oberoi stated.

Owen’s mom isn’t taking any chances. She says it’s her rule that everyone will have to ask for permission to hold her son before she hands him over.

“A lot of people think, ‘Oh, it’s unnecessary, you’re being too cautious.’ No, it’s serious,” said Lindsey.

The closest thing to a vaccine for RSV is called Synagis, but it’s expensive and the American Academy of Pediatrics sets criteria for who can get that shot.

It’s only available for premature babies or children with chronic lung disease or congenital heart disease.

While it doesn’t prevent RSV, it does reduce the risk of catching it.

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