SARASOTA- RSV, or Respiratory syncytial virus is almost as common as a cold, and almost every child will catch it before their 2nd birthday. But for high risk babies, the virus can be serious.

Vanessa Lachey first found out about RSV, when he son was hospitalized with it at less than a year old. Her son Pheonix was born at just 30 weeks, and what started as a cold kept getting worse.

“He is a premie and he’s high risk,” Lachey said. “So when he got RSV he wasn’t able to fight it off like a full term baby would and he ended up in the hospital for 6 days on a breathing machine.”

 “Most kids just simply have symptoms of the common cold,” Dr. Michael Forbes said. “But in high risk infants, for example pre-term infants, infants born under 36 weeks gestational age, it can be a much more serious infection it can result in hospitalization or even work.”

Lachey says RSV can be easily missed, and wants moms to educate themselves and trust their gut when they start seeing symptoms.

“I actually had my kids tested, and they said it’s not the flu,” Lachey said. “It ended up getting worse and it was RSV, you’re going to see coughing, wheezing, a bluish color around the lips and fingernails potentially when their oxygen saturation starts getting low. There is a struggle to cough and breathe and you can see the uncomfortableness.”

If you have a high-risk baby, Dr. Michael Forbes says there are simple things to do to help prevent RSV.

“Controlling the environment so to speak,” Dr. Forbes said. “Handwashing, keeping the toys and linen clean, making sure they’re not exposed to other sick kids, minimizing tobacco smoke, and I think asking your PCP your provider if you have a high-risk child, if you have a high-risk child you need to know.”