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Spike In RSV Cases

February 25, 2014, 6:13 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

Spike In RSV Cases

A virus that can be very serious, even deadly, in young children is making the rounds in KELOLAND. Right now we're in the peak of RSV season.

Three-week-old Eve Martin is a Super Bowl baby.

"She's pretty peaceful when she sleeps," Eve's mother Tanya Martin said.

But Eve's first few weeks weren't so peaceful. First, her older brother and sister, three-year-old Sullivan and one-year-old Celia, got sick with RSV. The virus attacks the lungs and each year causes more than 200 deaths in infants under one year old. The Martin family couldn't keep the highly contagious virus from spreading to their newborn. 

"She started having difficulties breathing. She was breathing really quickly," Martin said.

Eve had to spend several days in the hospital. And she's not alone. Local doctors have seen an increase in RSV cases in recent weeks.

"A child sneezes or a child chews on a toy and puts that down and another child picks that up and chews on that is probably the most common way it's spread," Avera Pediatrician Dr. Rick Kooima said.

The first signs of RSV are similar to a cold. Your child might have a runny nose or a cough.

"The worrisome respiratory things we see are if babies are breathing rapidly or if they're breathing hard," Kooima said.

Kooima says you should watch to make sure your child is not flaring his or her nose. It's also important to look for what doctors call "retraction.” That’s where the skin above the collarbone sucks in every time they breathe or the skin in between the ribs sucks in every time they breathe.

These days, Eve's receiving nebulizer treatments every four hours. She's now doing much better and is back home again.

"We want to take full advantage of maternity leave and enjoy my time with her not in the hospital," Martin said.

Healthy infants under six months of age are most at risk for complications of RSV, as are children who were born premature or have underlying lung or heart problems. Also, older kids with asthma might have difficulty fighting the virus.

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