A local family warns other parents of a respiratory virus that hospitalized their one month old daughter

Doctors say they are seeing fewer cases of the flu and more cases of Respiratory Syncitial Virus or RSV.

Posted: Jan 18, 2019 9:01 AM

FARMERSBURG, Ind. (WTHI)- Doctors say they are seeing fewer cases of the flu and more cases of Respiratory syncytial Virus or RSV.

Earlier this month, Harley Gilliam and Austin Southwood noticed a change in their now one month old daughter, Khalessi.

"It was terrifying," Gilliam said. "At first it was like a regular cough, but then it kept progressing and getting worse."

They took their daughter to the doctor. He thought it was amniotic fluid built up in her lungs. However, days later she kept getting worse.

"Every time she coughed, she would choke," Gilliam said. 

They traveled to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. Doctors found she had RSV. According to the Centers for the Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), RSV is highly contagious.

"It hit her {Khalessi} hard and it hit her quick,"Gilliam said. "Just taking her out in public, she can get it {RSV} again."

The symptoms are similar to a bad cold- Nasal congestion, cough, and a sore throat. But, in tiny humans, doctors say RSV can be deadly if not treated. 

"Don't risk it," Gilliam said. For these parents, they say they learned first-hand that time is of the essence. They say they're encouraging other parents to know what to look for, before it's too late. 

The CDC says that almost all children will have had an RSV infection by their second birthday. Doctors say the symptoms usually will show up within 4 to 6 days. 

RSV can also cause more severe infections such as pneumonia. The CDC says most infections will go away on their own. But, it's extremely dangerous among infants and the elderly.

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