INDIANAPOLIS — Sarah England’s family is all back home again after a scary stay in the hospital for her infant daughter Ophelia.
”I really thought, ‘Okay, maybe she’ll just need some oxygen for a day or two and then we’ll be out of here,'” said England. “Well, that is not what happened.”
England said her three-year-old Avery brought Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) home from her preschool after an outbreak there. About a week later, England said Ophelia started to show symptoms.
”You could just see her breathing really hard and I was like, ‘This doesn’t feel right,'” she said.
Ophelia went to a hospital near the family’s home and then was transferred to Riley Children’s Hospital when it became even more difficult for her to breathe.
”Basically we’re lucky we made it to Riley in time because she was fighting,” England said.
Ophelia was intubated for five days while at Riley, an incredibly hard time for the family.
”We couldn’t hold her, we couldn’t hear her talk so it was just, it was just really sad,” England said. “So now that we can it just makes you appreciate it even more.”
Ophelia recovered enough to head home on Oct. 5, only then did England really think about how scary everything was.
”Once we got home all the emotions kind of flooded in on how close we were to almost losing her,” she said.
RSV is on the rise right now, the CDC shows a spike in the summer and another one happening right now. Something Dr. John Christenson, the Associate Medical Dir. of Infection Prevention at Riley Children’s Hospital, said is unusual.
Normally RSV peaks in January and February, this early showing could mean more down the road.
”We’re going to see a lot more activity emerge in the next few months,” Christenson said.
Christenson said they’re seeing triple the cases they would usually see this time of the year.
”Just walk through the floors and you’ll see that every other room has someone with a respiratory illness,” he said.
RSV is mainly seen in children but everyone can get it. It can also be risky for the elderly, especially those with breathing issues.
Most who get RSV will not need to be in the hospital but Christenson said parents need to be mindful.
”The first symptoms will be something that resembles a cold,” Christenson said. “It may be runny nose, it may be congestions, it may be some cough, the children could have a low grade fever.”
After coming so close to the worst outcome, England wants other parents to make sure they keep sick kids at home.
”You need to keep them home to really prevent the spread of it because you don’t know who’s going to get it on the other side,” she said.
Christenson said this spike could be associated with children born during the pandemic just now being exposed to RSV for the first time.