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Kenosha mother shares horror after daughters contract RSV

"Her lips were starting to turn blue, she couldn't catch her breath."
Posted at 5:30 PM, Nov 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-04 18:30:37-04

Emily Herbert never imagined she would be spending the last two weeks moving from nebulizers to emergency rooms with her two young daughters.

After a Halloween event at the Milwaukee Zoo, Herbert's 4-year-old daughter Caroline started to show symptoms of RSV, respiratory syncytial virus.

"At about two in the morning, I could hear her coughing and I went over to see how she was doing and she was in respiratory distress," said Herbert.

Herbert works as a nurse practitioner and knew that the cough coming from her daughter was not the typical common cold.

"Her lips were starting to turn blue, she couldn't catch her breath."

Herbert took her daughter to a local ER where doctors diagnosed her with Croup, an upper airway infection that blocks breathing and causes a distinctive barking cough, but things started to grow worse.

"She did come back RSV positive and from there we were back in the emergency department a few hours later at Children's Wisconsin."

Experts at Children's Wisconsin say RSV has increased by about 900% over the past 5 weeks.

"Every chair was full. They had some of the sickest kids I have ever seen. I've worked in different emergency departments and I have never seen so many sick kids. Everybody had respiratory-type symptoms, they were coughing, they were hacking, vomiting, they were just really struggling."

Days later, her second daughter, only two years old, contracted RSV and Pneumonia. Luckily she did not require hospitalization.

"It's something that I would describe as apocalyptic. Truly I have never seen so many sick kids. We have to take it seriously. As adults, we're pretty lucky, most of the time we don't get sick from it but we can be carriers. We can pass it on to our kids. When your kids are sick keep them home."

Children's Wisconsin went from seeing an average of five patients back in September with the virus to now seeing an average of 45. Due to the outbreak, they are now putting surgeries on hold.

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