HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WIAT) — Cases of RSV are surging around the country, and a North Alabama mother wants to warn parents about the rapid rise in hospitals across the state after her daughter came down with the virus.
Clarissa Wing’s one-year-old Amelia caught RSV in October, and at first Clarissa and her husband thought her cough and runny nose just signaled a cold. They never expected that in less than a week she would be a patient in the ER and then airlifted to Birmingham.
“We just noticed that she was coughing so hard. In between her coughs, it was like she was trying to catch her breath. So we called the doctor right away, and he said to go ahead and head to the ER,” Wing said.
For teenagers and adults, RSV can be easy to shake off, but that’s not the case for younger kids. For them, it can mean a trip to the hospital, like in Amelia’s case, or even worse.
At the ER, doctors diagnosed Amelia with RSV, which had already progressed into double pneumonia. However, Wing said they couldn’t treat her in Huntsville because their pediatric ICU was full. They were forced to airlift Amelia to Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham.
“[I was] in tears — this is my tiny baby, and I’m just having to watch her fly away in a helicopter, and then just drive down as quickly as I can,” Wing said.
Amelia was given oxygen and antibiotics, and after a day, she was discharged and was able to go home. That was a big relief for Wing, who was especially concerned about complications since Amelia was born 12 weeks premature, along with her two identical sisters.
“We stood by our triplets for almost 90 days in the NICU [after they were born] … I can’t imagine standing by her that long, seeing her overcome everything being born so early, and now being put through this,” Wing said.
Amelia’s two sisters also caught the virus but only had minor symptoms. Now, they’re all healthy and back to normal although Amelia still has to use an inhaler for a lingering cough.
As winter approaches, Wing emphasized how important it is to be careful with germs around kids.
“Everybody loves little kids and babies, and sometimes they want to come up and say hi and get really close. Just be mindful and courteous of that, that it might not be the best time right now with RSV, flu and all sorts of things going around,” Wing said.