This article is a little different than my normal articles and posts that you have read, but this one is very important nonetheless. Please share it as it may help to save a precious life, maybe even a member in your own family. This article is written in the sweet memory of Alexander Hinton Judson and his family.
What is RSV?
RSV is commonly known as Respiratory Synctyial Virus. This virus is not to be taken lightly or misconstrued as just a mild, common cold. Although RSV leads to mild cold like symptoms in adults and older, healthy children- it can have a devastating impact on an infant or toddler’s respiratory system. RSV is a germ that causes lung and airway infections in infants and young children. The majority of infants have had this infection by the time they have reached the age of 3. The sad part is that most parents only think that their baby has the common cold, nothing to worry about, right? WRONG! You need to have your child tested immediately. You have to actually ask for this test for your child, just to make sure and be on the safe side. You can ask your pediatrician for more information or you can visit the CDC website that I have posted below.
RSV is very contagious and can be contracted from any one at any age. If a person sneezes, coughs, or even touches you, you can be a carrier and not even know it. You can shake hands with someone who is infected with RSV and bring it home to your own children. RSV can also be contracted by touching doorknobs, grocery carts, door handles or any other place your hand may touch while you are out in public. If you just so happen to touch your eyes, mouth or nose, and have the virus germs on your hands, you are more likely to spread this virus to your own family members. This virus can spread very rapidly in public places such as schools and day care centers. Did you know that the RSV germ can live on your hands for 30 minutes or more? The virus can also live on counter tops for at least 5 hours! What increases the risk of contracting RSV? For one, attending daycare, also being around tobacco smoke, having school aged children in the household or living in crowded conditions.
I am not trying to scare anyone regarding this particular virus, but just want people to know that it does indeed exist and can cause death in infants if not treated immediately. Symptoms vary and differ with age and usually appears 4-6 days after coming into contact with the virus germs. Older children usually have mild, cold-like symptoms such as a cough, mild fever and a stuffy nose. Infants on the other hand, are a different story and have many more symptoms; these symptoms include:
- bluish skin color due to lack of oxygen (blue lips or skin) also known as hypoxemia
- difficulty in breathing (chest retracting)
- a croupy cough
- shortness of breath or rapid breathing
- stuffy nose
- cold symptoms that intensify
A Story Of The Judson Family
A very dear friend of mine gave me permission to write this article based on her own experience and life altering changes in her family due to RSV and the devastating impact it has on her family each and every day. This virus has changed her life, but I think God has a plan for her. Based on her story below, God is using Kari as a vessel of sorts, to help inform other parents of this deadly virus. God’s ultimate plan for her is in the making, as I type this article.
December 30, 2008 was the worst day of Kari’s life and that of her husband, Lyle. It was the day that one of her identical twin boys died from RSV. Alexander died after being diagnosed with RSV within a period of 24 hours! The Judson’s want to help other families avoid the heartbreak and devastation of losing a child as they did and also want to raise awareness of Respiratory Synctyial Virus. The twins, Alexander and Dominic were born on January 4, 2008, and were healthy, happy babies. So it not only affects those that are more sickly, but affects healthy infants and children also. A mere five days before the twins’ first birthday, Alexander (Xander Pander) died from complications caused by the virus. The doctor’s didn’t even know what was causing this; they were baffled. At the time of Alexander’s death, his twin brother Dominic, was also diagnosed with RSV. So you can imagine how scared Kari and Lyle must have felt. The fear. The loss of one child. They couldn’t lose Dominic too. After a short battle with RSV and Pneumonia, Alexander closed his eyes and became an angel of God.
Kari and Lyle, although overcome with unimaginable grief from the loss of their beloved angel, Alexander, came to the decision to donate Alexander’s organs to someone who may one day need them and in turn, save a life. A true testament of their love. A very hard decision to make when it comes down to it. But there was life after Alexander’s death, a young girl from Georgia received his kidneys. Her life was saved that day, thanks to an angel named Alexander.
When an illness such as RSV affects the lives of children by the time they reach the age of three, don’t you think that you, as a parent should be forewarned? It seems that only the parents of infants that are premature or sickly, are told of RSV. But since the twins weren’t in intensive care when they were born, Kari and Lyle were never told about RSV. You as a parent, need to know about RSV; it is your right to know. That’s why I decided to write this hub; I wanted to help Kari spread the word about RSV and its’ symptoms, and also symptoms that you as a parent need to look for. We need to keep our babies happy and healthy and free of RSV!
Remember that from death, comes life.
There is a video link below entitled, “Health Watch: RSV Risk”. Watch and listen to Kari Judson tell her story. It is very moving and my heart goes out to her and the Judson family.
RSV- The Judson Story