Larry Gill is happy to have his daughter at home. “She had trouble sitting still. She wanted to lie down. She was moaning.” Five-year-old Feyona caught RSV. His complexion was gray and his fever high. She had respiratory problems. She was a very sick little girl last week.
“I had asthma as a kid, and so I noticed, like not breathing, but seeing her where she literally couldn’t breathe,” Gill said. “They must have put her on six liters of oxygen when she left the doctor’s appointment in the ambulance.”
This ambulance took her to Sky Ridge Medical Center. It had taken several phone calls to the doctor to determine which hospital could take him. Colorado Children’s Hospital at the time had a 24-hour wait, but she couldn’t.
“It’s one thing to hear and see things, you know, on the news, on TV, on the radio. But for it to hit home,” Gill said. “I know everyone says, ‘I never thought it would be here’, but seeing your child, close to death, is not something I wish on anyone.”
There has been a sharp increase in RSV cases in Colorado. On Wednesday evening, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment released a statement calling for a return to more respiratory protection for daycares. This includes a suggestion that everyone in childcare centers consider masks for everyone over the age of two. Feyona’s case was among those involving older children.
Typically, 95% of severe cases of RSV occur in children under the age of five. But this season, it also affects some older people. The virus can even strike adults, but cases requiring hospitalization for adults are very rare. But hospitals are filling up with RSV cases. Add that to the flu cases as the flu makes an appearance. And COVID cases have risen again in recent weeks in Colorado. Colorado moved to the CDC’s “medium community transmission level” last week as cases surged. All three together threaten the health system’s ability to cope and have led to the creation of a new term – “Tripledemic”.
“It’s a bit of a silly word, but I think it’s one of the best ways to describe a lot of what we’re seeing with respiratory disease in Colorado and much of the country right now. “Denver manager Tori Burket said. Public Health and Environmental Disease Epidemiology and Intervention Program.
Health experts speculate that the rise in RSV may be due to the pandemic, during which there has been little spread, and therefore little acquired immunity. “We have a lot of measures in place to protect people from COVID, so distancing, masking, hand washing, all of those things, so we have young children who haven’t been exposed to RSV over the past three years,” Burket said.
RSV always hits children under 6 months the hardest. This is also the group that is not considered eligible for COVID or flu vaccines. “Children under six months old are approved for a flu or COVID vaccine. But children over six months old are. So we’re really trying to push vaccination as a way to help reduce respiratory disease. overall, and also potentially reduce the risk of co-infections,” Burket said. “Because what we don’t want are kids battling blue and COVID or RSV. And the flu at the same time.”
Feyona is improving and hopes to return to kindergarten. “She’s doing pretty well right now. She’s still got breathing issues. The stairs are a little hard on her,” Larry Gill said. But he is very grateful for the treatment at Sky Ridge Medical Center that got him through. “Personality-wise, she’s a badass. She really stuck it out,” her dad said.