I had no idea what RSV was. I am not a medical professional. I am an average mom with three kids.

Like most kids, mine get the sniffles and sneezes during cold and flu season. They are up to dateon their vaccinations, and interact with other children on a semi-regular basis at play dates,playgrounds, and the grocery store. I've never kept my children in a bubble.

We had our third child in November. Adam was healthy and weighed a whopping nine pounds, eightounces. Right before Thanksgiving, my older son started to show signs of a nasty cough. He neverran a fever, and after about a week, the virus had run its course. As in most families withmultiple children, the virus was passed down to my 2-year-old daughter.

It hit her much harder. She ran a high grade fever for four days and nights. The nasty cough causedher to vomit. She wasn't eating and felt extremely lethargic. Finally, the doctor prescribed anantibiotic for my daughter's ear infection, and she started to show signs of life again. These twoillnesses brought us to the pediatrician seven times in two weeks.

Nevertheless, I was extremely naive when it came to my newborn. I thought since I wasbreastfeeding, he would have extra immunities against the nasty virus my older kids were passingback and forth. I didn't think twice and I regret it.
On a visit to my parents' house one Saturday evening, my dad was holding Adam when he called meinto the living room. "Adam is really sick," he said. I kind of laughed it off, in a completesleep-deprived stupor. I didn't want to believe him because I didn't think I could handle one moresick child.That evening, Adam took a turn for the worse. He was coughing phlegm. The next few days were kindof a blur. I took him back to the pediatrician twice. The second time, they swabbed his nose, andhe tested positive forRSVandbronchiolitis."What is RSV?" I asked a tech. She couldn't tell me, and just said to watch him closely. I shouldhave pressed the pediatrician's office more, but I felt kind of dumb. This was my ninth visit intwo weeks. So I left.That Wednesday night, Adam started running a low grade fever. What I didn't know was that even alow grade fever is dangerous for a newborn. Naive, like I said. He vomited after every feeding. Thenext morning, he'd gone a full 12 hours without a wet diaper, so I called the pediatrician's officeagain. Instead of setting up a 10th appointment, they told me to take him toNationwide Children's Hospitalimmediately.Adam spent four days and three nights hooked up to oxygen, IVs, fluids, and antibiotics. He hadmultiple tests, chest X-rays, breathing treatments, nose aspirations. His care and treatment atNationwide Children's was first class. I can't rave enough about the hospital and staff. But Inever want to go back there again.

In the past few days, I've seen multiple articles about respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) pop up onmy news feed. I'm sharing our story because I want other parents to know what I didn't know.

1. Watch their breathing

Take your child's shirt off and see if you can see his rib cage as he tries to breathe.There's a tiny V shape under your child's neck. If that V is exposed when he inhales, he's workingtoo hard to breathe. Lastly, does his head bob when he breathes? Another sign he's working toohard.Adam was doing all three of these things for a few days, but I didn't know what to look for.

2. RSV peaks on days three through five

Unfortunately, the virus gets worse before it gets better. I didn't take Adam in to Children'suntil day five.

3. RSV is common

Like, super common. The average adult will get RSV multiple times in her lifetime. It's a commoncold with a cough, with varying degrees of intensity. For Luke, it was just a cough. For Eden, itwas a fever, a cough, and vomiting. For Adam, it was four days in the hospital.

4. An RSV cough lasts four to six weeks

My kids are FINALLY free of that nasty cough, but my husband and my mom are still coughing. Thisvirus affected our entire family before Thanksgiving. It's now mid-January.For medical professionals to consider it "RSV Season," 5% of patients must test positive for RSV.So far this winter, 49% of patients tested positive. I'm not sure if medical professionals or theCDC will call that an epidemic, but they should.

5. Hand washing is great, but isolation is best

If you have kids and plan to come in contact with a newborn…just stay away. Children arecarriers of the virus, and while it may be a slight cough for a 5-year-old, it could be much worstfor an infant.

6. Rain brings RSV

While there's no scientific evidence to support this, researchers at Nationwide Children's Hospitaltell me that when the weather warms up and rain sweeps through, RSV is on the rise.I've cancelled play dates and found a babysitter if anyone shows a sign of a sniffle. Our familycancelled two vacations because of this virus. People may think I'm going overboard, but bettersmart than sorry.Since our run with RSV, Adam is now part of a case study at Nationwide Children's Hospital. Medicalresearchers are working on a vaccine for the virus. One currently exists for preemies, but thisvaccine would be readily available toallnewborns. So on some level, Adam is helping to protect future babies from RSV. I hope our storysheds some light on a virus I previously knew nothing about.**Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. Just a mom who wanted to share her story.**