Father spreads warning online about virus that almost killed his baby
It just feels like a common cold for adults, but for babies it conceals a life-threatening menace: human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) attacks the respiratory system and is particularly dangerous for infants and toddlers.
The infection spreads easily through contact (it'll stay contagious on your hands for a good half hour if you don't wash them) and can survive up to five hours on contaminated surfaces, such as a table or door handle. Most children are actually exposed to the virus, but for a small percentage of kids, the germs develop into full-fledged bronchiolitis or pneumonia.
The younger the child, the more dangerous such infections are, as a dad in Memphis recently found out first hand. He posted an account of his daughter's close call on Imgur:
"Three weeks ago she was admitted to the hospital with viral meningitis. She got over that in a few days since it was a light case. Now she is fighting RSV. We almost lost her last Monday. Our local hospital told us if she got any worse there was nothing more they could do for her. We had to move her to a better facility.
As soon as the pediatric team arrived at the hospital to pick her up, she flatlined. They revived her and put her on a ventilator immediately. Since then, she had been diagnosed with of course RSV, a severe case of pneumonia, type h flu, bronchialitis, and a partially collapsed right lung. Needless to say, it's been a rough week for my little one," he wrote of the terrifying sequence of events.
Fortunately he was able to report later on that, "...now I can gladly say that she is doing much better. She is off of everything but her oxygen. And she's only on that for comfort. She has beaten so many odds this past week and made me even more proud to call her my daughter.
RSV is no joke. I didn't know much about it until a week ago when it almost took my daughter from me."
And he ended with a stark plea to other parents: "Please make sure to wash your hands before handling little ones."
We all know that we're supposed to wash our hands after using the toilet, touching raw chicken, and other potential contaminants. But do you always remember?
Let this dad's story serve as a useful reminder that it's no joke getting sick from stray germs that would have been scrubbed away, had that one person bothered to wash their hands.
And just one more note: there's more and more evidence that antibacterial soap — which sounds so good — is actually more harmful in the long run, not just to your hygiene but to our broader ability to fight bacteria. Scary. So use good old regular soap and, on behalf of the smallest and most vulnerable among us, get washing!