RSV dangers

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Little Madeleine Thien is a happy, easy baby for first-time mom Lindsay Thien.  

"She sleeps great, which has been a miracle," Thien said. "She's always happy unless she's hungry."

But, in just the first few months of motherhood, Thien has already learned an important lesson: Don't second-guess yourself. 

"If you think something is wrong it probably is," said Thien, who learned that when Madeleine ended up in the hospital with Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), a common and contagious virus that can be deadly for babies. Dr. Jimmy Tipton, with Norton Children's Medical Associates - Dixie, said they're already seeing RSV cases this year.

"If an adult gets it or an older kid gets it, it would cause your typical cold symptoms," Tipton said, "but it becomes a bigger deal when younger babies get it."

An average of 57,000 children are hospitalized every year for RSV, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

"She one morning started coughing. She was really congested, really lethargic. Didn't think much of it," Thien said. "Just thought it was a little cold. She had just started daycare, so we were expecting that." 

By the time they saw Madeleine's pediatrician, her symptoms had gotten worse.

"Her stats were pretty low, her breathing had gotten worse and at that point they decided to admit her," Thien said. 

Madeleine spent three days in the hospital.

"When they put her on oxygen, she relaxed," Thien said. "It was like she could breathe without working so hard for the first time."

With RSV cases already popping up, Tipton offered some simple steps you can take to keep babies healthy.

"Making sure that you're washing your hands very well — hot soap and water — especially if you're going to be touching your baby," Tipton said. "You don't want anyone sick coming around your infant ... and then clean your surfaces of your house and toys."

Thien feels lucky that her daughter's case wasn't worse, but the experience has made her more cautious when it comes to the sniffles.

"I didn't know how quickly things could escalate," Thien said. "Looking back, I would not hesitate to take her, especially if I noticed those signs."

This cold and flu season, the first-time mom will be more diligent when it comes to visitors.

"We did not initially ask people to get their flu shot," Thien said, "and now that we've been in the hospital and experienced that type of thing we sent out texts to all the family, especially with holidays coming up, to please have your flu shot." 

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