EAST MEADOW, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — An infant is fighting for her life against a viral lung infection.

You may have heard about respiratory syncytial virus from friends with sick children. Although this common virus spreads from fall to spring, right now is peak RSV season, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Thursday.

Kathleen and Michael Gordon of East Meadow have not left their infant Brianna’s bedside since she was admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit at Winthrop University Hospital seven days ago. What started as a common cold for the 4 week old, quickly progressed.

Brianna Gordon (Photo: Gordon family)

“But then towards the end of the night I started noticing her retracting really bad and her lips started turning blue. So I called an ambulance to get her as fast as possible,” Kathleen Gordon said.

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RSV cases seem to spiking, blocking tiny airways with infection and inflammation. It’s especially dangerous for infants because it can lead to pneumonia.

“I haven’t seen it this bad since I was in training in the early 1990s, where we had this type of … it’s an episodic disease. It’s there every year, but it flares every so many years. You get a peak. This year seems to be one of the peak years,” East Meadow pediatrician Dr. John Zaso said.

“It’s a rapid progression. Children under 4 months of age are prone to apnea, where they hold their breath as a result of the infection, and that’s why it’s so dangerous,” Zaso added.

Needless to say, there’s high anxiety on many fronts.

“It’s hard. We’re basically almost living at the hospital, with a whole bunch of families that are going through the same exact thing as we are,” Michael Gordon said.

RSV is highly contagious. It spreads when an infected person coughs and sneezes, launching virus-filled droplets into the air. Those droplets also land on surfaces. Touching contaminated surfaces and then your nose eyes or mouth spreads the virus, McLogan reported.

“They say usually about like the fifth or sixth day is usually when the virus hits its peak and after that it’s supposed to start clearing up and getting a little bit better,” Michael Gordon said. “We are at that almost seven-day and it’s still at the same stages as it was before. So we’re just trying to look hopeful.”

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The Gordons are getting support from on their Facebook page. Total strangers have been offering comfort and advice. Kathleen and Michael said doctors at NYU Winthrop have been spectacular, helping with oxygen and fluids.

“Thank you. Every little thing that they say and do means more than we can express at this time,” Kathleen Gordon said.

No medicines can cure RSV. Hospitals offer what they call supportive care, keeping children comfortable, hydrated and on oxygen while their bodies fight the virus.

Doctors said washing your hands thoroughly can help stop the virus from spreading.


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