We rely so heavily on drugs to cure sickness these days that it’s easy to forget that prevention is better than cure. Parents everywhere will implore each other to wrap their little ones up warm in the winter, and that’s great advice, but it’s not the only way to keep children safe from germs.
A Memphis father had the shock of his life when his baby girl fell unexpectedly ill; the root cause of her illness left him reeling, and he decided to share his story so that other parents might avoid reliving it.
The petrified father could only watch on in horror as his baby girl fell perilously sick with meningitis. She was hospitalized, and her condition degenerated so quickly that at one point she flatlined. “They revived her and put her on a ventilator immediately,” the baby’s father recalled, but her struggle had only just begun.
Her diagnosis was manifold. The baby had pneumonia, type H flu, bronchitis, and a partially collapsed right lung. But as if that wasn’t enough, doctors then threw the terrified dad a curve ball; his baby also had RSV, or “respiratory syncytial virus.”
If her condition deteriorated further, the medical team admitted, there was probably nothing more they could do for her. All of a sudden, “RSV” became the only thing that mattered. The stricken dad decided to find out exactly what it was and how to help his daughter pull through.
Today, the informed father shares what he knows, and Little Things, in turn, shared his story.
What’s the most important thing to remember in the prevention of RSV? Luckily, it’s simple, achievable, and we already do it countless times a day: wash your hands. RSV, unlike the common cold, has little to do with temperature; it is caught from direct contact with germ-ridden surfaces (like hands), or coughing and sneezing.
“RSV is not only spread through droplets,” explained Dr. Ari Brown, author of Baby 411, “but through contact on surfaces like the grocery cart that your baby touches that another ill child was coughing on an hour earlier.”
“Could somebody die if you don’t wash hands?” Dr. Brown continued. “Technically, yes.”
Dr. Octavio Ramilo of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital added a shocking fact: “RSV alone is the single most common cause of hospitalization among children less than one year of age in the U.S.,” he told CBS New York. Most children recover on their own without needing to go to hospital, he assured, but some develop severe symptoms that can threaten the child’s life.
Of course we cannot guard against every germ, but washing hands is easy, simple, and really could save lives. After nearly losing his baby girl to RSV, a condition that could possibly have been prevented, this dad decided it was imperative to spread the word. And we’re glad he did.
Three weeks after his baby girl miraculously came back from the brink of death, the father snapped a beautiful photo of his little one’s tiny face, smiling once again. In that moment, he realized something he would cherish forever; she was a born fighter.
In honor of this tiny life, he had one piece of solid advice for parents everywhere: “Please make sure to wash your hands before handling little ones.”