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Former WLEX Anchor Shares Child's Health Scare With Today - LEX18.com | Continuous News and StormTracker Weather

Former WLEX Anchor Shares Child's Health Scare With Today

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (Today) - For many years, Shanisty Ireland was welcomed into your homes as our Sunrise Weekend anchor.  Recently, she was back on television, but not for work.

Shanisty was on Today talking about the dangers of RSV, how it affected her family and what parents should keep an eye out for.

Last winter, Shanisty Ireland’s oldest children Luke and Eden kept passing illnesses back and forth. The constant coughing, sneezing and slight fevers were exhausting. At first, she thought her 5-week old son, Adam, was protected from the infections because he was breastfeeding. But suddenly, he became very ill.

“He wasn’t opening his eyes and he was really starting to have that labored breathing. His head was bobbing; you could see his rib cage when he sucked in," Ireland told Today.

A nose swab revealed Adam had respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV. For most children, that simply means mild cold-like symptoms for about a week. That's what Ireland thought it was when the doctor sent them home.

Adam was whisked to the Emergency Room. Everyone around him was in full protective gear. 

“It was terrifying,” Ireland said.

Almost all children catch RSV before they turn 2, but for most, it's a mild respiratory illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

What's more, the body doesn’t develop antibodies against RSV, which means people can have it multiple times in their lives. In older children and adults, RSV leads to sneezing, coughing, runny noses, much like a common cold. Most people feel better in about a week. But in some infants, RSV can be deadly.

Parents should seek help if their child:

  • Develops a fever
  • Is under 3 months old
  • Wheezes
  • Struggles to breathe or belly breathes

Adam recovered after four days in Nationwide Children’s Hospital. A year later, he doesn’t have any lingering problems. Ireland shared his story to help others learn more about RSV.

“I didn’t recognize how serious it was until it was almost too late,” Ireland said. “RSV can hit any child and any person at any given time. I would really love for people to understand that and know what the signs are.”

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