HONOLULU (KHON2) – As the respiratory disease known as RSV continues to spread across the country, including in Hawaii, infants are particularly susceptible to becoming seriously ill. In some cases, the disease can be fatal. But there are vital measures that can make a difference.
Dramatic video from a police body camera on the mainland shows officers reacting quickly, saving the life of a baby with RSV.
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“Let me see, open that mouth, come on, turn it to the side a bit. That’s it, here we go,” the officer said.
Paramedics here said RSV, influenza and COVID-19 can have similar symptoms and can present breathing problems for infants because they have small airways. Checking his skin color is a good way to see if he has any serious issues.
“If they are very pale, very tired or fatigued and have a blue color on their mouth or fingers, that means they are in severe respiratory distress,” said Kanani Adams, a paramedic. Honolulu paramedic.
If so, Adams said the first thing to do is call the doctor or 911. Afterwards, it’s a good idea to check the baby’s pulse by putting two fingers inside the biceps of the baby.
“And, what you’re going to want to do is put your head, your ear against their chest and close to their head to watch and listen and feel if they’re actually breathing, then see if they go up and down,” said said Adams.
If the baby isn’t breathing, he may be choking, so a few pats on the back can help clear the airway.
“Usually back pats are used when there’s an obstruction in their airway, if they’re choking on milk or something else we can’t see. Just kind of give them that bit of extra strength since kids and their lungs aren’t developed and they can’t cough,” Adams said.
As the mainland agents who rescued the baby demonstrated, you can then use CPR with two fingers to apply gentle compressions against the baby’s chest.
“Come on honey, come on, I hear it, come on,” the officer said.
“Just keep doing CPR, the dispatcher will be on the phone with you, keep doing CPR until paramedics arrive,” Adams said.
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When paramedics arrive, they have equipment that can provide oxygen and medicine to help the baby breathe better. Adams, who was a paramedic for 10 years, adds that it’s not easy but it’s important not to panic.