ST. LOUIS - “I was worried having a winter baby. You hear things…it’s flu season. A lot goes around in the winter,” says FOX 2 and News 11 Meteorologist Jaime Travers.
Jaime and husband, Evan, welcomed baby Hazel in November. Their new bundle of joy made the holidays an exciting time, but after spending time with family, mom and baby both got sick the week of New Year’s.
“I had posted to Facebook and a lot of people commented, “I hope it isn’t RSV. That’s really going around this year.”
Jaime called the doctor, who gave her some signs to look for. When Hazel showed some of those signs, they headed for the hospital.
“She took a turn for the worse on a Saturday which is really scary when you can’t just go into the doctor’s office. So, we did have to take her into the ER.”
Tests confirmed it was respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Adults with the virus recover in a week or two but RSV can be especially serious for infants.
“We're looking to see how fast or how quick the child is breathing. If they're using extra muscles to try to breathe. What their oxygen levels are. Along with how much they're eating. Are they at risk for dehydration?,” explains David Wathen, DO, a Pediatrics Hospitalist with SSM Health Cardinals Glennon Children's Hospital.
Hazel was admitted to the hospital for a few days until her oxygen levels could improve.
Jaime said, “The one nurse said to take how I’m feeling because I was still really struggling at that point, and multiply it times ten and that’s how she felt. And that broke my heart.”
RSV spreads rapidly and easily and is most common between the months of November and April.
“Hand sanitizer, washing your hands is the best way to try and prevent this,” says Dr. Wathen. “If you do have a small child, especially a newborn is simply asking others who have ill symptoms, whether it be a fever, cough, sneezing, to just stay away until those symptoms are over before they visit and see the newborn.”
According to the CDC, most children will have had an RSV infection by their second birthday. Jaime calls the ordeal scary and emotional.
“She would cry like she’s crying now. But then she would start coughing and gagging and that would make her cry worse. And then I would get kind of frustrated and then I would feel so bad for feeling frustrated because she was sick and couldn’t help it.”
Hazel bounced back quickly but did have a few extra visits to the doctor. Jaime reminds all new moms to not be afraid to check in with the doctor if they feel something isn't right.