Karl and Jasmine Stefanovic have opened up about their three-year-old daughter Harper's health battle after they rushed her to hospital last year when she struggled to breathe.
Harper was treated for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), with Jasmine and Karl teaming up with the Immunisation Foundation of Australia to spread awareness of the virus.
"RSV – the first time Jas and I heard these three letters was in the hospital with our daughter Harper struggling to breathe," Karl said in a video for the Immunisation Foundation of Australia. "Little did we know that so many other families were living the same frightening experience with this common yet unpredictable respiratory virus."
"It was last winter, and Harper had the sniffles and a cough. Karl and I assumed she just had a bit of a cold. But within hours, she became very sick," Jasmine wrote on the foundation's website. "It was alarming to see how hard she was working to breathe, with her little ribs sucking in and tummy pulling up into her chest."
Jasmine revealed that she knew Harper needed medical help, but wasn't sure if she was overreacting, however, her "gut instinct" took over and they went to see the GP.
"Right there in the doctor’s office, Harper’s condition worsened," she added. "Her temperature skyrocketed and her heart rate was close to 200 beats per minute. Our doctor administered oxygen and called an ambulance. Within minutes, we were on our way to hospital.
"It was a long night as we sat in the hospital ward with Harper, trying to comfort her as a medical team worked to help her breathe. We were so relieved the next day when Harper responded well and was able to breathe unassisted."
Jasmine adds that despite it being a year since Harper's hospital visit, she still has a "lingering wheeze".
"Doctors have explained that RSV can have a range of long-term health effects. We’ll be keeping a close eye on her this winter," she concluded, adding she hopes that by sharing their story other parents will understand when to seek medical help.
RSV is a major cause of lung infections in children and can lead to pneumonia and bronchiolitis, which is very dangerous in young children.
Jasmine and Karl's followers shared messages of thanks to the couple for spreading awareness of RSV, with one user writing, "Thank you for using your platform to raise awareness for this! So glad Harper has recovered well. My littlest one got it at 11 weeks old and it’s so hard seeing them struggle to breathe."
"So scary when they can’t breathe. My son got RSV, terrifying," another added.
"Thank you so much for your involvement in the #RSVandMe campaign. I hope Harper is doing much better now," a third said.
"Thank you for sharing, this will start a conversation and raise awareness," someone else added.
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