MARYLAND – RSV infections are on the rise across the country.
The CDC says hospitals are reporting kids coming into the emergency department are sicker than they have been in previous years, with more of them requiring oxygen.
RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, is a common cause of mild cold-like symptoms like runny nose, cough and fever. A bad case of RSV can lead to a lifetime of asthma.
The virus can be dangerous for infants and older people. The CDC estimates that RSV causes up to 300 deaths and nearly 80-thousand hospitalizations each year among kids aged 4 and under. In fact, it’s the number one cause of hospitalizations in the U.S. for infants.
There’s one problem though. The new RSV shot for newborns has been in short supply.
An eight month pregnant Silver Spring, Maryland mom shared her story recently about spending seven hours on the phone, with insurers and pharmacies, trying to get Pfizer’s Abrysvo shot. Without going through insurance, the shot would cost about $300.
Because of the back and forth with the insurance company, she eventually found the shot was available at Costco for just over $100 out of pocket.
A pediatric infectious diseases expert at the University of Maryland says that’s part of the problem. The shots are expensive and many doctors have been wary of ordering too many when insurance programs may not fully reimburse them.
On Thursday, the CDC announced that more than 77-thousand additional doses of the shots would be distributed to doctors and hospitals to help with the surge in cases.
Just this week, a DC area mom posted a blog about her son’s bout with RSV. She hopes by sharing her story other moms will listen to their gut and take their kids to the hospital when symptoms present themselves.
Caroline Quat says her 6-month-old woke up one Saturday grumpy. She says he had just had his well visit and scheduled shots, so she thought he was just getting over that. But that night, he started to cough and by Sunday the cough got much worse. Her instincts told her to take him to urgent care.
“They checked him out, ran some swabs, and told me he had RSV. His oxygen levels looked good and he didn’t have a fever, so it was a monitor situation. They told me what to look out for that would warrant both a trip to the pediatrician or a trip to the ER.”
By Wednesday they thought he was on the mend, but a few hours later, his breathing became labored so they took him to the ER where he was admitted and put on oxygen. It took about 48 hours but he was weaned off the oxygen and released from the hospital.
She says parents should always trust their gut, never hesitate, and while advocating for your child can be stressful at times, it’s necessary to do. She also urges moms and dads to give themselves grace.
You can learn more about RSV from the CDC here.
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