Respiratory virus spreading


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Reported by: Michelle Linn
Updated: 1/15 6:47 pm Published: 1/15 2:23 pm


For weeks FOX23 has warned you about the flu, but now we're finding out about another threat. 

It's sending infants and toddlers to the hospital all over Green Country.  It's known as RSV.

Several years ago, Sarah Skates' son, Daniel, battled the virus.

"He was sitting on the floor with his toys, and he just looked up at me, and his little lips were blue, his fingers were pale.  I immediately knew this was way worse than a common cold," said Skates.

Daniel was 13 months old.  He's ten years old now.  Even though it's been several years, the memories are vivid for his mom.

"I just scooped him up and I went to St. Francis ER department.  As busy as they always are, you know it's really bad, when you have three doctors within seconds.  We ended up in the PICU for almost eight days," said Skates.

"It stands for Respiratory Syncytial Virus, and what it does, is their small little airways in the lungs fill with increased amounts of mucus, which is  very difficult for the infants to clear," said Dr. Ryan McCracken.

Dr. McCracken works at Milestones Pediatric Care, in Sapulpa.  He tells FOX23 adults get RSV, too, but for most of us, it's just a really bad cold, with a lot of nasal secretions.

Even though your kids probably hate it, Dr. McCracken says a nasal bulb syringe is your best friends, if your kids come down with RSV.

"Nasal suctioning, that's the biggest number one thing you can do that's going to make the kids feel the best," said Dr. McCracken.

We found information from the Oklahoma State Department of Health explaining that, unlike the flu, there's no vaccine for the general population.  It's only available for premature infants and young children with heart problems and other health risks.

"The RSV virus can typically last 14 days.  Its worst days are 3, 4 and 5," says Dr. McCracken.

He says that's unusual, and, since it's a virus, there's nothing doctors can do to help you get over it faster.

Dr. McCracken says adults and older kids can usually fight RSV, but it's dangerous for kids with asthma and for infants.

Things to watch for are: labored breathing, if your child is huffing and puffing to get air, if his nostrils are flaring, and if his skin is sucking in below his rib cage.  Those are all trademarks of RSV.

RSV peaks around the same time as the flu.  The Oklahoma State Department of Health numbers that we examined show last year it peaked in late December, and really tapered off by spring.  This year it's peaking later.


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Mayor Maynot - 1/15/2014 5:32 PM
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I got something but it's probably not that.
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