A celebrity mom is warning parents about a dangerous virus that presents itself like a cold, but can be much more serious.
Vanessa Lachey took to social media to caution other parents about a respiratory virus that is also prevalent at this time of year.
“When I gave birth to my youngest, Phoenix, at 30 weeks, I knew he would need extra care. But I wasn’t aware that he was at an increased risk for a common respiratory virus called #RSV due to his under-developed lungs and immature immune system,” she wrote.
The 37-year-old’s son was diagnosed with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) this past January and was hospitalized for six days. While the virus usually targets children under the age of two, Lachey’s premature son was at an increased risk due to his underdeveloped lungs.
“When he was hospitalized for six days for severe RSV disease, I was shocked and terrified. I wish I had known more about RSV before this traumatic experience,” she wrote.
In Canada, RSV is most rampant from the start of November until the end of April, according to Canada.com.
The symptoms present as a runny nose, cough, headache and sore throat — similar to a cold or flu. RSV can be spread through physical contact, sneezing and touching contaminated surfaces.
For a healthy person, RSV won’t amount to more than the cold-like symptoms. But the elderly, premature babies and people with heart or lung disease are at a increased health risk. The virus can develop into pneumonia or bronchiolitis and result in hospitalization.
In Lachey’s case, she suspected something more serious was present.
“I actually took Phoenix to the doctor multiple times, and they just brushed it off as a flu-like virus,” she told Health.
“I knew when his coughing continued, there was wheezing, his temperature was over 100 for a long period of time, and he had bluish nails and lips that something was wrong.”
According to the Canadian Respiratory Journal, RSV is considered a “major viral cause of hospital admissions in Canada.”
If you suspect you or a family member has RSV, it’s best to get plenty of rest and remain hydrated. If symptoms become more severe, see a doctor to gauge whether hospitalization is needed.
Lachey encourages everyone to learn more about RSV — and if they suspect it may be affecting a loved one, speak to a doctor.
“If you notice some of the symptoms, even just some of them, I encourage you to talk to your healthcare provider,” she said.