Respiratory Virus Sends Local Infant to Hospital

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By: Angela Howard
January 31, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - Coughing. Fever. Congestion. There's all symptoms of the common cold - and arguably something we've all dealt with at some point in our lives ... but for little ones, these symptoms can also be the warning signs for another infection called Respiratory Syncytial Virus, or RSV.

"RSV is feared because of all the viruses that tend to do these things at this age, that's the one that tends to put the young ones in the hospital," said Pediatrician Jim Ed Martin, M.D.

After Lily Holt was born, she spent a week in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit because of low oxygen and jaundice. Seven weeks later, RSV sent her back to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital.

"You could tell that there was a lot of stuff in there. It wasn't just an innocent cough. It was pretty harsh," said Lily's mom Lauren Holt.

Once admitted, little Lily was put on oxygen and IV fluids to keep her from dehydrating, but that - and observation - is about all that can be done, since there is no direct treatment.

"It's one of the viruses we don't have a direct treatment for and the immune system just has to get on top of it at the end of the day and fight it off," said Dr. Martin.

There is also no vaccine to head it off at the start.

"For just the average baby out there, there's not a vaccine that's of any particular use. They've been trying for a long time, but it's not something we've been successful being able to make yet," Martin said.

Doctor Martin also mentioned that our area saw a dramatic spike in RSV cases back in November, and although numbers have fallen off since then, Lily's case is a prime example of why parents need to always keep their guard up."

"I want to be strong for her because I know when you hold them, your child and stuff, they can feel stress," said Holt. "I don't want to put that on her too, so I try to stay calm."

Holt also said she will stay by her little angel for as long as it takes for her to get better.

"I'm here every day. I'm not leaving until she gets to leave."

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