KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WNDU) --- As the flu is going around, so is respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, an illness that is especially harmful for young children.
"It's scary because you don't know how anything is going to turn out," said Daniel Wences, of Vandalia.
Last Friday, Wences' 2-year-old son, Preston, was admitted to Bronson Children's Hospital in Kalamazoo. Preston's cold turned into a high fever and him struggling to eat, drink and breathe. Even the area around his mouth was turning blue.
Dr. Rob Riley, a physician at the South Bend Clinic, said RSV typically starts as a common cold and can turn into pneumonia or the swelling of kids' small airways, making it hard for them to breathe, often over a period of one or two days. A cough is also common. Death is rare.
"If it's the middle of the night and the child is obviously having difficulty with breathing, then an emergency department might be the best first stop," Riley said.
To prevent the circulation of RSV, Riley emphasized hand-washing and covering your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough.
"The time frame that [Preston] started with a cold to him ending up in the hospital wasn't that long," Wences described. "If you don't treat [RSV] before it gets too bad, it's not good."
If you would like to help, a Facebook fundraiser has been set up to help the Wences pay for Preston's hospital bills.