'Kisses and cuddles could kill', warns mum of lung virus baby
A young mum has urged well-meaning people to stop kissing babies after her four-month-old son contracted a virus that can be deadly in infants.
Little Koby Symes spent five days in isolation in Temple Street Hospital after developing Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV).
Medics told his mother, Zoe McGlade, he got it from close contact with other people.
Ms McGlade (22), from Swords, is now urging other parents to discourage people from holding and kissing their babies to protect them from the virus, which can also be dangerous to the elderly.
"Koby developed a bit of a cough two weeks ago, so I brought him to the GP, who said all was fine," she said.
"However, he got worse, so I returned to the doctor, who gave my baby antibiotics for a chest infection which had developed.
"He just wasn't getting any better and I was going to wait until the course of antibiotics was finished, but I decided to bring him to the emergency department at Temple Street.
"I watched as Koby was put on oxygen immediately. His oxygen levels had dipped to 71, and anything below 94 is dangerous. He was also severely dehydrated.
"He had developed the RSV, which had spread quickly to his lungs.
"He was put in isolation and hooked up to all these machines and monitors.
"It was very scary for me and Koby's dad, Luke."
Ms McGlade was told her baby had probably picked up the virus from an adult over the festive period.
"The doctor asked if we were around many people over Christmas and said the majority of babies who develop RSV get it from other people kissing them or holding them with unwashed hands.
"To adults, RSV is just like a common cold, so you might just have a bit of a cough or a runny nose, but to babies it's very serious.
"The doctor told me that if I had waited even a few more hours to bring Koby in, it could have been a very different situation."
Ms McGlade said there were six other babies in the same ward with RSV, but none as seriously affected as Koby, who is home now.
"We were always asking people to wash their hands before holding Koby or not to kiss him, but we were told we were being over-protective," she said.
"We went from having a healthy little boy to watching him in isolation with feeding tubes and oxygen to help him breathe.
"A little cough or runny nose that you might think is nothing can literally be deadly to a little baby."