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Be on alert for RSV illness - Virus can affect little children and adults

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When my son’s daycare posted a note that two children had been diagnosed with RSV, I wasn’t concerned about him catching the illness.

I had always thought the virus was only an illness babies contracted, not children as old as my 4-year-old.

In reality, RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) can affect babies through adults. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), RSV is a “respiratory virus that infects the lungs and breathing passages.” Healthy people can recover within one to two weeks, but some babies, young children and even adults can have more severe reactions to the virus.

When my youngest daughter had RSV as a baby, we were lucky she didn’t have to be hospitalized, but I remember sitting and holding her, counting how many breaths she was taking per minute. Her pediatrician had told me it would be dangerous for her to take more than 60 breaths a minute. So, I sat in the rocking chair, staring at her, focusing on every breath and counting …. 50 … 55 … 60 …. 50. It was nerve-racking.

My 4-year-old’s symptoms started Sunday: Crying, loss of appetite, 101-degree temperature, extreme sinus drainage. Today, his temperature has decreased, and though he is not his usual rowdy self, he is feeling better.

For more information about symptoms and treatment, go to the CDC Web site.

–Linda Lynn

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Linda Lynn

Linda Lynn was born and raised in rural Oklahoma. A graduate of Purcell High School, Lynn began working at The Oklahoman in 1987 as a reporter after earning a journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma. She has served as both a... Read more ›