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Pocatello mom warns of RSV dangers after losing 16-month-old

POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI) - One-year-old Oddie was a normal, healthy kid.

He loved cars, cats, and hanging out with his older brother.

"Balloons were his favorite," said Jenna Chacon, Oddie's mom. "We had a balloon in this house every month."

But things changed this past December.

Oddie got sick — it seemed like just a cold.

"He had a fever for a couple of days," Jenna said. "He mainly just wanted to sleep and not eat so much."

Jenna took him to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with Respiratory Syncytial Virus, or RSV.

RSV cases have spiked this winter due to the decrease in COVID-19 protective measures, like masking and social distancing, according to Dr. Joseph Moore of Idaho Falls Pediatrics. "There's been a significant number of cases this year; it's been moving through the community fairly quickly."

Oddie was in and out of the hospital for weeks. The family even spent the Christmas holiday there.

But then on January 5 — a parent's worst fear.

"They let us out of the room and just let us know, 'that's all we can do for him,'" Jenna recalled.

The virus took little Oddie's life.

"I still kind of wake up like I think my baby's still at the hospital hoping that I get a call that he's going to be better," Jenna said. "And I forget that he's not going to come back."

Jenna is sharing Oddie's story to caution other parents, and encourage them to stay vigilant. Meanwhile, doctors are echoing the same message.

Dr. Moore emphasized the importance of taking preventative measures like washing hands.

"If you have a young baby, be very selective about where you go and avoid big groups of people so that you're not exposed to it any more than you have to," he added. "If you have a family member or somebody who's sick and potentially coming to visit or things like that, ask them to wait until they're well before they come in."

These are all things Jenna hopes will help prevent another tragedy, as she remembers her balloon-loving boy.

The family held a funeral for Oddie last week. If you would like to donate to the family's GoFundMe, click here.

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Emma Benson

Emma is a morning news anchor and multimedia journalist at Local News 8.

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