BOZEMAN — Danielle Morrison's 3-year-old son, Saige, started out with the flu but wasn't getting better.
“We took him to his pediatric clinic and, and really they just told us to watch his fever," says Morrison. "And then if he didn't stop fevering to come back in a couple of days, which he didn't stop.”
Morrison soon found out that her son had Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and he was taken to Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital where he remains in the ICU.
“We have to come in here and see him all hooked up on all these things. And I know it doesn't feel good for his siblings to see him like that,” says Morrison.
According to the Montana Department of Human Health and Public Services, each year 75,000 to 125,000 children under the age of five are hospitalized due to RSV complications. Dr. Kristen Day with Bozeman Health says the symptoms they usually see in older children are a cough and runny nose. Younger kids have a hard time breathing.
“Their lungs just are not as well developed as older children and then also they haven't had the chance to build up immunity to RSV,” says Dr. Day.
Day says cases of RSV this year have been more prevalent due to children's immunity.
“I think that the reason that this year is so difficult for kids is because of COVID," says Day. "We had a couple years without any RSV without any flu. So now it's not just the youngest kids who haven't built up any immunity to RSV. It's also those kids that are in their second year of life.”
Day has seen numerous cases of RSV in children just within the last week.
“Last week I was working as the hospitalist and I've I bet I had 10 to 12 each day,” says Day.
There are easy ways to prevent this virus from spreading.
“Keeping your kids out of daycare when they're sick, general hand hygiene measures just like we did when we when COVID first came around and wearing masks,” says Dr. Day.
Morrison warns parents to be aware of their child's symptoms even if they don't seem that serious at first.
“Keep advocating for your child because it can just come on so quickly and in progress,” says Morrison.