RSV season at peak: spotting the signs


Along with winter comes cold and flu season, but for young children, it can also bring a common respiratory virus.

Symptoms of RSV are similar to the common cold – so you might not even know you have it.

Babies born prematurely and those with chronic lung and heart conditions are at a higher risk.

There’s no magic pill you can give your child if they catch RSV. You can only make them comfortable until it runs its course.

Local 4’s James Sears’ family learned that the hard way.

9-month-old Colin had a cough and runny nose for a week and wasn’t getting better.

When his fever spiked to 103-degrees, mom Kristin went with her gut.

“I thought I was just bringing him in for a cold maybe some antibiotics, and it it turned into a much more serious situation,” she says. “They told me how fast he was breathing and how hard he was breathing which was something i wasn’t even looking for.”

Colin tested positive for RSV, Respiratory Syncytial Virus, and was admitted to the hospital.

“Your child will get RSV,” says Davenport pediatrician Dr. Elise Bream. “The question is whether or not you’ll be worried about it and need to bring him to the doctor.”

“It’s just one of those viruses you’ll assume your child will get when they’re an infant or toddler – especially if they’re in daycare or have school-age siblings at home because they’re going to be more exposed to those viruses.”

Colin was belly breathing – a sign his body was working harder to breathe.

He went on oxygen and spent two nights in the Intensive Care Unit.

“I didn’t know what was going to happen,” says Kristin, “and that’s when I noticed the change in how he was behaving. He was almost lifeless, he wasn’t moving, smiling, or interacting with me. He was not himself at all. That was a very scary time.”

After seven days, the virus had run its course, and Colin went home.

Kristin’s advice to other parents: trust your instincts.

“I had no idea that RSV was as serious as it was because he was still pretty happy and playful,” she says. “If we hadn’t been in the hospital when he got really sick, I don’t know what could’ve happened to Colin.

A Genesis spokesman tells Local 4 News, there are 1-to-2 patients a week during RSV season – which is peaking now and runs through March.

For UnityPoint Health, there have been about 475 cases between the four campuses (Bettendorf, Moline, Rock Island, and Muscatine) in all of 2018.

As for Colin, we are happy to report he’s back to his usual playful, smiley self.

Like James Sears on Facebook here.

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