Local family warns parents about RSV, as number of infant cases increases

Local News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A health alert for parents with young children, the Center for Disease Control wants to remind people how easily illnesses can spread to babies.

The focus now is on the Respiratory Syncytial Virus and as the holiday break comes to an end, the number of cases is on the rise.  

The respiratory virus causes a runny nose, sneezing and coughing in adults and usually isn’t any worse than the common cold.

Meanwhile, for children, it can be deadly. One local family who went through it the week before Christmas said Children’s hospital was full of babies with the virus.  

What seemed like a simple cold, quickly changed for the Riffle twins.  

“Well the boys actually had a really terrible cough and congestion for a couple of weeks,” mother Sarah Riffle said.  

Riffle knew something was wrong when one of her twins had labored breathing.  

“We went ahead and called the pediatrician and they told us to take them directly to the emergency room,” Riffle said.  

Her son Bennett was put in the Intensive Care Unit at Children’s hospital. The following day his brother showed the same symptoms.  

“It’s so hard to see them so miserable and suffering… and as a parent be powerless.” 

Riffle was told her 7-month-old twins had Respiratory Syncytial Virus, better known as RSV. She soon found out her sons weren’t the only ones.  

“The pediatric intensive care unit was completely full,” Riffle said.  

Riffle said she wasn’t surprised because she heard about an increasing number of cases in Little Rock and across the state.  

“We had also heard, through the daycare that RSV was on the rise and that it had been going around,” Riffle said.  

The family was hoping the boys would fight through the virus and be home for the holidays and they did. Riffle has a message for any other parents who have young children.  

“I would say trusting your instincts… to see if potentially something might be wrong, always call your doctor and ask those questions,” Riffle said.

She also noted that she wasn’t sure at first seeing the boy’s symptoms but she’s glad she made a phone call about it.  

Riffle said she’s excited that her boys are home and healthy. According to the CDC people infected with RSV are usually contagious for 3 to 8 days.  

RSV symptoms:  

-Runny nose 

-Decrease in appetite 

-Coughing, Sneezing, Wheezing 


The steps to prevent the spread of RSV: 

-Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your upper shirt sleeve, and not your hands 

-Wash your hands often with soap and water 

-Avoid close contact with others  

The CDC said most people can manage the fever and pain with over-the-counter fever reducers and pain relievers like ibuprofen. People should also drink enough fluids to prevent dehydration.

For more information check out, here or contact your local health care provider. 

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