Mother shares experience after kids contracted RSV

Surge in RSV cases nationwide including Lexington

LEXINGTON, KY. (WTVQ) — The challenges of being a parent become even more pronounced, when your child gets sick.
Nationwide, there’s been a surge of cases in RSV, and it’s spreading in the Bluegrass.

“If you show any signs of sickness, or cold or cough, what may just be a small little sniffle to you could be potentially very dangerous for a baby,” says Shanisty Ireland, a mother who now shares her parenting experiences on social media including the time two of her sons contracted RSV.

The Respiratory Syncytial Virus was first discovered in 1956, causing annual outbreaks of respiratory illnesses in all age groups, according to the CDC.

“Nationally children’s hospitals are seeing a very large surge, including Kentucky Children’s Hospital here in Lexington,” adds Dr. Lindsay Ragsdale, the Chief Medical Officer, at Kentucky Children’s Hospital

Dr. Ragsdale says the surge can be due to the lack of exposure to viruses during the pandemic especially for children.

“Our hypothesis is that kids under two were not really exposed to RSV very much during the pandemic, we were masked we were social distanced, and germs weren’t spread among kids very often we did not see much RSV, the past two seasons,” she adds.

For mother Shanisty Ireland, she didn’t even know what RSV was when her infant son contracted the virus.

“Six years ago, our third child, Adam, was born in November. And he had two older siblings who were in school at the time. And they came home from school just with the traditional cold that we see so many times during this cold and flu season. And they ended up passing it down to our child, Adam, who was only six weeks old at the time,” she recalls.

Ireland thought her baby had a common cold, and that it would go away.
But she took her son to the pediatrician, who diagnosed him with RSV.

“Here I am sitting at the pediatricians office. I had never heard of RSV. Before, I had no idea what it was. I had no clue how severe it could potentially be for him, because he was so young,” an experience she has shared on social media.

The experience later preparing her for her son Asa.

“He was hooked up to oxygen and received breathing treatments for four days, which was the exact same time that our older son Adam was in the hospital,” she adds.

Ireland says the first time her son contracted the virus, doctors told her it could’ve been worse if she hadn’t taken him in to get treated.

“The odds are your child will probably get sick sometime this season. And that’s okay. The important thing is to understand what the warning signs are seeing the distressed, labored breathing and your small child counting their breaths. How many breaths are they taking per minute going and talking to your healthcare provider, talking to your pediatrician starting the conversation,” she says.

Dr. Ragsdale says they are worried about a possible surge in flu cases and encourages everyone to get the vaccine.

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