The horrifying moment when a cold turns out to be a deadly virus

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Although it’s relatively harmless to healthy, older kids, it could be life-threatening for infants, toddlers, and children with compromised immune systems.

Maggie May Ethridge is no stranger to illnesses. After having four children, she is already familiar with a lot of the most common afflictions in children. So when her fourth child Ever began showing symptoms of a cold, she wasn’t worried.

But when her daughter’s condition didn’t improve on the fourth night, her alertness turned to fear—Ever was only a moth old.

They decided then to go to the hospital and have her admitted.

“That night, my husband stayed up all night watching Ever sleep on my chest, her head bobbing up and down dramatically with each breath, each breath more of a struggle,” Maggie recalled.

READ: Unwashed hands have dire consequences, dad warns after his baby nearly dies

“By the next day, she was on oxygen and unable to nurse. Her tiny mouth would attempt to suck, and she would slip back into sleep. She slept for seven hours straight, her body exhausted from breathing.”

Ever was diagnosed with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), the most common cause of lower respiratory tract infections among young children.

Although it’s relatively harmless to healthy, older kids, it could be life-threatening for infants, toddlers, and children with compromised immune systems.

READ: A perfectly healthy five-year-old was killed by deadly flu

Mucus from RSV is viscous, soaking the lungs and an infant’s tiny tubes until no oxygen can move in and carbon dioxide cannot move out. Then levels of carbon dioxide in the blood soars.

“The baby begins the work of breathing—retractions of the abdomen underneath the rib cage and the soft pulsing spot in the throat.”

RSV

Severe cases of RSV require an IV, supplemental oxygen, suctioning of mucus from the airways or breathing tubes with mechanical ventilation. Children under six months who has RSV are usually hospitalized.

It took hours and four different nurses and doctors attempting to place the IV in Ever’s arms, legs, feet and hands, before a cardiologist arrived in and successfully do it.

“All I could think when I crawled into Ever’s crib, when I held her tiny body encased in tubes, was that if it weren’t for modern medicine, my baby would be dead,” Maggie said.

Eventually one of the nurses suggested that they try high-pressure air mixed with oxygen in addition to Albuterol. Every two hours it was inserted into the same machine and vaporized into the air stream.

It worked, and after a total of nine days in the hospital, they were able to take Ever home.

“Every winter, I look at the mothers with their infants out and about. When I see a small baby with mucus smeared on their nose, fussing in their mother’s arms, I want to ask, ‘Have you heard of RSV?’ ”

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