Jimmie Allen and his wife, Alexis, are spreading awareness about RSV after their now 1-year-old daughter, Zara, suffered a “nightmare” battle with the illness last winter.
The parents teamed up with French pharmaceutical company Sanofi and an organization named Knowing RSV to share their story and “help educate and empower other parents about this highly contagious virus.”
Using Instagram as their platform, the couple sat down and recounted the horrifying details in a video. Both admitted that they had no knowledge of RSV prior to Zara’s infection. And they wanted to save other mothers and fathers from the helplessness they felt.
Zara was only six weeks old when she caught the virus. Alexis noticed that she was coughing and “couldn’t catch her breath” and felt like something was “off” so she took her to the hospital. But a formal diagnosis took much longer than it should have.
After ER doctors examined the newborn, they determined she only had a common cold. They suggested that Alexis take her Home, let her rest, and give her plenty of “cuddles.” But the next night, the baby was worse, so she called 9-1-1. And again, the hospital did nothing.
“They turned me away and said that she looked fine and that it was probably just a cold,” she explained.
Jimmie Allen’s Daughter ‘Went Completely Blue’ on Thanksgiving Day
Alexis wasn’t convinced that her sickness was so simple, however. So she made an appointment with her pediatrician, and he determined that Zara had RSV.
The virus is incredibly common and usually mild for most people. However, it’s dangerous for babies, young toddlers, and older adults.
“They described to us that basically, with RSV, it gets worse before it gets better,” Alexis continued. “So, we were about day five, and usually about day seven or eight is when they start to turn the corner and seem a little better.”
Zara took a terrifying turn on Thanksgiving while Jimmie Allen was performing. Alexis and Zara were on a tour bus, and Zara “went completely blue and just completely out of it, limp.”
“I don’t want to say that she went unconscious, but she was not there,” she recalled. ” Her body just went out, and we had to wait for the ambulance to pick us up and take us to the hospital.”
The little girl completely recovered and is thriving today. But as Jimmie shared, the virus is the leading cause of hospitalizations for babies under 1. And he wants more people to recognize the symptoms.
“I didn’t know anything about RSV. Now, I know to look for signs,” he said. “I’ll never forget that time in the hospital with Zara. And with winter virus season here, and RSV cases recently on the rise, now more than ever it’s important to bring attention to RSV.”