Yesterday, I came across a photo on Imgur that’s going viral, of a child who was recently hospitalized after catching a respiratory infection. The heartbreaking photo, depicting a seriously ill young girl hooked up to a breathing machine, was posted two days ago by her mom, who goes by the username LauraCorreadaSilv.
In the post, Laura shares that her 3-year-old daughter, Chloe, caught RSV, a serious upper respiratory infection, from her cousin who came over for Christmas dinner, ill with a respiratory virus. In the comments section on Imgur, Laura explains that her brother had brushed off his daughter’s illness by saying, “Oh she has a lung infection but she shouldn't be contagious.”
She explains that her daughter has asthma, and that viruses like RSV can be especially problematic for children who have pre-existing lung conditions. RSV is not something you can vaccinate against, unfortunately (and Laura shared that her daughter is fully vaccinated.) According to WebMD, its symptoms can mimic the common cold at first, so assuming that what your child has isn’t serious is just not the right way to think about these things.
All parents need to be aware that for some children, the consequences of being exposed to a virus can be downright terrifying, as was the case for this poor mom and her sweet daughter. In the post, Laura explains how the virus ended up landing Chloe in the hospital.
“Chloe caught her bug and it snowballed to this,” she says, “High flow oxygen, IV antibiotics, and we are heading up to the ICU.” In the picture, her daughter is not only hooked up to breathing machines, but is wearing a cast. Laura explains that the reason for the cast is so that the distraught little girls won’t pull out her IV.
Laura’s post is a plea for other parents to think twice before they expose other kids to their child’s virus. “Please,” writes Laura, “If your child has a cold, or a flu, or an upper respiratory infection, please keep them home and take care of them.”
To that I say: Amen, sister. Preach it.
Yep, I’m that mom—the one who sees your sneezing, snotty child, grabs my own kid’s hand, and runs the other way. I’m the one who buys hand sanitizer in bulk, and makes my kids wash their hands promptly upon entering our home, no matter where they’ve been. I’m that mom who will never, ever let my kids share a drink or a plate of food with someone other than a fellow family member.
The thing is, it’s not necessarily about keeping your child in a bubble, and never leaving the house. It’s about common courtesy.
And listen up: if you bring your sick kid over to my house for a playdate without telling me, I’m apt to kick you and your child right out.
Call me a b*tch, a freak, a germophobe, obsessive compulsive, whatever, but I don’t care.
Both of my sons, like Laura's daughter, have virus-induced asthma, which means that anytime they get something as mild as a common cold, they are apt to spiral into a full-fledged asthma attack. If you have never been around a kid who is struggling to inhale, you might not understand how terrifying this is, and how moms like me would pretty much do anything to prevent our kids from contracting a virus that might induce an attack.
Most of the other commenters echoed my sentiments, praising Laura for her honesty and for sharing her daughter’s story as a warning to others. But others were critical, saying that keeping your child holed up inside when they’re sick is virtually impossible, since most young children get sick extremely frequently.
The thing is, it’s not necessarily about keeping your child in a bubble, and never leaving the house. It’s about common courtesy. My most trusted friends will always tell me if their child is fighting off something, how long they’ve been sick, and what they’re symptoms are. That way, we can discuss what we think about making plans and come to a mutual, respectful decision about it.
For me, it might depend on how close the kids will be with one another (in a home, or a park?), what the virus is, and whether my own child has recently had a bad bout of asthma (this usually leaves my kid more vulnerable to the next virus.)
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Open communication is all that this mother seems to be asking for, and what she feels wasn’t offered to her by her brother, who didn’t warn her of his daughter’s illness before bringing her to dinner.
Every child reacts differently to viruses, and although you can’t know for sure how your child will react, you know your child’s history best, and it should be up to you whether or not your child is exposed to something.
To be honest, if you bring your snotty, feverish, or vomiting child to my house without telling me what’s going on, you’re the jerk. The fact that I’m pissed at you is not the problem at all.
As of now, little Chloe is on the mend, and what her mom wants most of all is prayers for her sweet girl. I hope she’s all better very soon, and that her story serves as a message to others to practice some good old-fashioned common sense and decency when it comes to exposing others to serious viruses.
Photograph by: Laura Correada-Silva