‘Today’ Show Host Dylan Dreyer Is Warning Parents About RSV After Her Sons’ Health Scare

Dylan Dreyer is opening up about her family’s serious health scare, sharing intimate details as a way to educate others.

The Today show co-host recently shared that her two youngest children — 2-year-old Oliver and 1-year-old Rusty — were both rushed to the emergency room after contracting respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a frightening experience that she said made her feel “helpless.”

“It’s just scary because there’s nothing you can do,” Dylan said, per Today. “Oliver would cough so hard, it took his breath away… Rusty was breathing really fast, and just had this whistle to his breathing.”

Currently, healthcare officials in the U.S. are reporting a surge in RSV cases among children, as emergency rooms are being inundated with patients — a trend that CNN reports is “unprecedented” in American healthcare, all while cases of COVID-19 and flu infections are on the rise. According to materials published by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), RSV is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms; while most people will recover in a week or two, the virus can present severe and dangerous symptoms for some, namely infants and young children.

For Dylan and her husband Brian Fichera, who have three young children, RSV posed a unique threat in their household. The 41-year-old mom recounted to People that 2-year-old Oliver contracted the virus first, on the Thursday before Halloween, when he inhaled a lot of water at swimming lessons.

That night, Dylan noticed Oliver “had this weird cough and he was breathing weird” — that was before things took a turn for the worse the following night, when the toddler kept coughing and maintained a fever of 103°F.

“We took him to the emergency room because it was midnight and he was not breathing well; like really fast breathing, his heart was racing,” the morning show host shared. “They tested him for everything and it turned out he had RSV. It was just a weird coincidence with his incident in the pool.”

With the virus being highly contagious, Dylan and her husband suspected that 13-month-old Rusty would get ill next, which was especially concerning as he has sensitive lungs due to being born premature. It wasn’t long before Rusty exhibited similar symptoms, and the couple was able to confirm another RSV infection in the hospital.

“With him, he seemed like he was struggling to breathe. He was wheezing, like every exhale he had like this whistle in his chest and the poor thing ended up with a 102°F fever,” Dylan told People.

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Both children soon developed an ear infection, with Rusty also needing an inhaler “to kind of open up his lungs a little bit.”

To help her sons recover, Dylan said that she followed their doctor’s advice to put them in a steam bath, use an effective humidifier, give them ibuprofen to keep their fevers down and help them drink lots of water to stay appropriately hydrated. Thankfully, both boys were able to get better — with Oliver now being back at school after taking nearly seven full days to recover, Dylan revealed, and Rusty just starting to feel better earlier this week.

Despite their recovery, Dylan shared that getting through the illness was a tough time for the family. She detailed how she and her husband sometimes stayed up all night to listen to the boys breathe.

“Because it’s a virus, there’s not much you can do about it. You just have to go through the motions for a few days, and it’s so sad,” she said. “You just feel so bad for [them] and it just feels so helpless.”

For other parents concerned about the uptick in RSV, Dylan recounted some of the signs that the doctors told her to look out for. “Watch for their lips turning blue. Make sure their ribs aren’t pulling. Make sure they’re not struggling to breathe,” she warned. Symptoms of RSV, according to the CDC, usually include coughing, wheezing, a runny nose, fever, sneezing and a decrease in appetite.

Most of all, though, Dylan encouraged parents to have faith in the fact that they know their child “better than anyone” — and urged them to seek medical attention if something doesn’t instinctively feel right.

“Go to the ER if you think your child is breathing weird. What’s the worst the doctor is going to say? ‘Oh, he’s breathing fine,’” she argued. “As long as you have peace of mind, it just takes some of the fear out of it, as parents, because we don’t know what we’re doing.”

Dylan also stressed the importance of parents knowing “we’re all in this together” during this time of year when viruses like RSV are going around.

“[RSV] sucks, it just really sucks, and it’s hard to watch your kid go through it, but they go through it and it just takes a few days and a few nights of lost sleep, but you’ll get through it,” she said. “Hopefully they don’t have a bad case… but for the most part, I think most kids can handle it. It’s just hard to watch.”

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