A young mother has made a public plea for everyone to stop kissing newborn babies after her son developed a terrifying illness as a result.
In December 2019, when he was just four months old, Koby Symes was diagnosed with Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). Although RSV is just like a cold to adults, it can be extremely deadly to young children.
Now aged three, Koby has been in and out of hospital three times this year because his lungs were badly damaged by the virus.
His mother Zoe McGlade is pleading with the public to stop kissing newborn babies, after she was told by doctors at Dublin’s Temple Street Hospital that baby Koby likely contracted RSV as a result of people kissing him.
"I still have to rush him to hospital every time he gets a cold because his little lungs were damaged so much by a kiss or a pat,” the 25-year-old mother said heartbreakingly, when speaking to the Irish Independent.
Zoe went on to describe the terrifying ordeal she went through the day she took Koby to the hospital, after visits to their GP saw no improvement.
"His chest and belly were contracting, they were so hard and it felt like his rib cage was going to burst open. He was dehydrated and became limp,” she detailed.
Zoe remembered the moment her son was put on oxygen in hospital. "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,” she admitted.
"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. We would have been told to prepare for the worst,” Zoe revealed.
Zoe concluded with a message to parents with young children. “Don't let anyone kiss your baby and make sure they wash their hands before even touching them,” she pleaded. “You're not being over-protective by doing this – you could be saving your child's life."
Almost 650 cases of RSV were recorded in Ireland last week alone – the highest ever statistic for the country.
The HSE urges any parents who notice symptoms to seek help immediately.