More children being hospitalized with respiratory virus, Jacksonville doctor says

Beverly Flagler’s 3-month-old son on oxygen support at Wolfson Children’s Hospital

More children being hospitalized with respiratory virus, Jacksonville doctor says
More children being hospitalized with respiratory virus, Jacksonville doctor says

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Doctors are seeing a lot of cases of respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, in children.

It’s a virus that doctors say almost all children get before they’re 2 years old.

Beverly Flagler told News4Jax on Monday that her 3-month-old son, Sway, has been hospitalized since Friday with RSV.

Flagler said her 2-year-old daughter came down with RSV a week before Sway and got over it pretty quickly. She said Sway’s symptoms are worse.

“He started coughing, getting a little congested, and the next day, his breathing was off,” Flagler said.

She said she took Sway to Wolfson Children’s in Fleming Island on Friday night, but his symptoms were so severe that the staff transported him to the downtown Jacksonville hospital.

“He had to be on oxygen support,” Flagler said. “His mucus was so bad in the back of his throat they had to do a deep suction, and he wasn’t able to eat.”

Flagler said he was still on oxygen support three days later.

“When the mucus was clogging him up, and his heart rate went up after he ate, I just broke down,” Flagler said.

Dr. Mobeen Rathore, chief of infectious disease at Wolfson Children’s Hospital, said most children get this virus before they’re 2 years old, and right now, he’s seeing many children become infected.

“There are more kids being hospitalized, but the total number of cases is certainly not something that I would call an outbreak -- just a shift of season,” Rathore said.

Rathore usually sees RSV cases from October to March. This year, because of the coronavirus pandemic, he saw cases start to rise in April. Rathore said RSV cases are usually mild, but children with underlying health conditions like heart disease or premature babies can get it worse.

Flagler said Sway was a healthy baby before this, so she wants to let parents know this could happen to their children.

“I just want to make parents aware because I never knew what RSV was and I never knew it could be this serious,” she said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms of RSV infection usually include running nose, decrease in appetite, coughing, sneezing, fever and wheezing.

RELATED: Protect your child from RSV

Rathore said adults can also contract RSV, but their symptoms show as a mild cold. Rathore said adults who get it as a minor cold could transmit a serious case to a younger child.

Rathore said to prevent this virus, wash your hands and don’t get close to infants when you’re sick -- even if you think it’s just a cold.

Flagler said Sway has been getting better, but he’s still on oxygen.

“As of today, he’s doing a lot better. They’re lowering the oxygen a little bit to see how he does on his own,” she said. “It’s been a rocky roller coaster.”

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