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Lorna's Story

Lorna, mother of 1-year-old Caolan shares what she did when she noticed her son falling ill.

I had never heard of RSV before prior to my son Caolan's diagnosis at 8 months old. When Caolan started showing symptoms of being unwell, I initially thought that he had a virus and would just have to unfortunately ride it out.

On the second day of being unwell, I noticed he was struggling to breathe so I took him to the doctors, where he was diagnosed with a chest infection. He went downhill quickly that evening and was chesty, had a high temperature, laboured breathing and would not feed, which was very out of character for him.

I found myself Googling his symptoms to try and understand what was going on. As these symptoms progressed I decided to phone 111 and due to Caolan's age and high temperature, an ambulance was called, and he was taken to hospital, making this instantly more serious than the diagnosis he was originally given.

“Seeing him so lethargic and not himself was terrifying. It happened so quickly, and as a first time parent, it is scary seeing how kids can be okay and then all of a sudden not be.”

After his overnight stay, Caolan's oxygen levels had improved by the following day and he was discharged to recover at home. Unfortunately, two days later, he relapsed and was taken back into the hospital due to worries of a secondary bacterial infection. He was placed on oxygen the day before he was discharged again, where it then took him approximately three weeks to fully recover. I was surprised to learn that it is common for children to have 1-2 good days before relapsing.

I would advise other parents or caregivers to make sure they are educated on RSV to avoid becoming stressed when faced with an unwell child, as in my case I didn't know what laboured breathing was and I was struggling to find any information.

“You are able to prepare if you know what could happen. I feel it is very important for parents to have access to information on RSV, to really learn what triggers requiring a doctor visit and calling 111.”

Find more advice on how to manage RSV and its signs and symptoms on our Know the Facts page.