I felt like a helpless mum when I failed to recognise my two-day-old daughter had a deadly virus – don't make my mistake | The Sun

JUST two days after Mihila Mushtaq was born, in November 2019, her mum, Hafsa Mushtaq, noticed her breathing wasn’t right.

The 32-year-old mum-of-five, from Birmingham, says: “She was breathing really deep breaths and I could see her chest was going inwards.”

Still in hospital after her daughter’s birth, Hafsa notified a nurse.

She says: “They did tests and determined she had RSV so took her straight to the neonatal unit, where she stayed for seven days in an incubator.

“They gave her antibiotics, put her on oxygen and used an instrument to suck all the mucus that had built up.

“It was really depressing, not even being able to hold her hand.

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“I had to express milk and give it to the nurses, I couldn’t even feed her myself.”

RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) is a common respiratory virus, usually causing mild, cold-like symptoms that most people recover from in a week or two.

But it can be serious, especially for infants.

Hafsa, a housewife, had experienced RSV before when her now seven-year-old son, Hammad, caught the bug at the age of three.

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He was taken to hospital where he stayed for a few hours after his mum realised he was struggling to breathe and had blue lips.

But Hasfa, supporting the Together Against RSV campaign, says: “It had never happened to one of my babies.

“This was a whole different story. As a parent, I felt really helpless.

“The help I got at the hospital was instant but if I had been at home, I wouldn’t have had a clue it was RSV or picked it up straight away.”

Mahila recovered at home for a further two weeks and is now a healthy four-year-old.

But Hafsa is now very alert to RSV and tells parents: “If you think they are floppy or drowsy, or not their normal self, I think it’s best to contact your GP or hospital.”

Official data has revealed that the number of children in hospital with a serious RSV infection quadrupled in just over a month.

A new vaccine has just been approved for use in infants.

Symptoms of RSV

PEOPLE commonly show symptoms of the virus four to six days after being infected, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Signs of an RSV infection include:

  • Runny nose
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Fever
  • Wheezing

But the CDC said that symptoms can be much subtler in very young babies, including irritability, decreased activity and breathing difficulties.

Most children will have had an RSV infection by their second birthday.

RSV can cause a condition called bronchiolitis in babies and young children.

According to Asthma + Lung UK, symptoms of bronchiolitis in very very young infants include:

  1. Refusal to breastfeed or bottle-feed
  2. Breathing more quickly and noisily (wheezing)
  3. Seeming very tired, upset or inactive
  4. Signs of dehydration – lack of tears when crying, little or no urine in their nappy for six hours, and cool, dry skin

Source: CDC, Asthma + Lung UK

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