What Parents Need to Know to Protect Young Children from RSV – Interview

What Parents Need to Know to Protect Young Children from RSV – Interview

Parents are probably familiar with ear infections, seasonal allergies and the common cold, which are among the most diagnosed illnesses at pediatric doctor visits1 – and now, are on high alert for the signs and symptoms of COVID-19.

How much do moms and dads of young children know about the symptoms of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)? Even though parents may not know what RSV is, they should. RSV is the leading cause of hospitalizations in children under one year of age in the US, with about 125,000 RSV hospitalizations annually in this age group. 2,3 RSV season typically lasts from fall through spring in most parts of the country. 4

About RSV:

  • RSV is a common, highly contagious seasonal virus that is contracted by nearly all infants by the age of 2 years. 5
  • Many parents may not be aware of the virus or its symptoms – especially because RSV symptoms are similar to those of the common cold or flu.6
  • The virus causes a mild respiratory infection in most babies, but for some high-risk babies, RSV can develop into a much more serious infection. 6
  • Hospitalization rates for RSV disease are about 16x higher than those for influenza in children <1 year of age.7

RSV Symptoms Include:

  • Coughing or wheezing that does not stop8
  • Fast or troubled breathing8
  • Flared nostrils and/or chest retractions when breathing8
  • Bluish color around the mouth or fingernails8
  • Fever8

There is currently no specific treatment for RSV disease once contracted – prevention is critical, especially for high-risk infants.

Preventive methods include:

  • Washing your hands and asking others to do the same9
  • Keeping your child’s toys, clothes, blankets and sheets clean – and your own9
  • Avoiding crowds including young children and others who may be sick during RSV season9
  • Avoiding tobacco smoke10
  • Asking your child’s health care provider if your child may be at high risk for severe RSV and ways you can help protect a high-risk baby9

Join me in a recent interview with Dr. Michael Forbes, Pediatric & Adolescent Intensive Care Specialist and the Director of PICU Clinical Research & Outcomes Analysis at Akron Children’s Hospital as he provides important details on what parents need to know about RSV, including which kids are at highest risk and how it can be prevented.

See the entire interview here:

For more information, go to  RSVprotection.com


Dr. Michael Forbes is a Pediatric & Adolescent Intensive Care Specialist (Intensivist) and has been the Director of PICU Clinical Research & Outcomes Analysis at Akron Children’s Hospital since 2006. He is an avid child advocate and scientist dedicated to continuous improvement in pediatric healthcare and public policy. Dr. Forbes is a Professor of Pediatrics at the Northeast Ohio Medical University and Associate Chair, Department of Pediatrics and Medical Director of the Hospital-Based Subspecialties at Akron Children’s Hospital. He has served as President of the Medical Staff since 2019.

He has authored many peer-reviewed articles, abstracts, presentations and in the areas of infectious diseases, sepsis, respiratory failure, pediatric care delivery models, child abuse and is a scientific reviewer for a number of journals including the Journal of Pediatrics, Critical Care Medicine, and Pediatric Critical Care Medicine.

After undergraduate education at the University of Pittsburgh, he completed his Pediatrics Residency and Pediatric Critical Care Medicine Fellowship at the Children’s Hospital of the UPMC (Pgh.). He was awarded a Fellowship in Biomedical Informatics from the National Institutes of Health in 2010 and was a member of the Pediatric Critical Care Scientist Development Program (NIH). He has served on the Allegheny County Child Death Review Team (Pgh.), and was Director of Pediatric Critical Care & Hospital Medicine at Allegheny General Hospital prior to his arrival in Akron, Ohio.

Over 3 decades ago he convinced Dr. Yolanda Moore-Forbes, a Pediatrician at Akron Children’s Hospital, to say “I do”. They have 2 adult children, Michael Antonio and Nia Imani.

Interview courtesy:  Sobi 

1 American Academy of Pediatrics Pediatric Coding Newsletter. Top 25 Pediatric Diagnoses Revisited. August 2013: 5.

2 Leader S, Kohlhase K. Respiratory syncytial virus-coded pediatric hospitalizations, 1997 to 1999. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2002;21:629-632.

3 Boyce TG, Mellen BG, Mitchel EF, et al. Rates of hospitalizations for respiratory syncytial virus infection among children in Medicaid. J Pediatr. 2000;137:865-870.

4 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. RSV Transmission. https://www.cdc.gov/rsv/about/transmission.html. Accessed July 9, 2019.

5Glezen WP, Taber LH, Frank AL, Kasel JA. Risk of Primary Infection and Reinfection with Respiratory Syncytial Virus. Am J Dis Child. 1986;140:543-546.

6 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms and Care. https://www.cdc.gov/rsv/about/symptoms.html. Accessed July 9, 2019.

7 Zhou H, Thompson WW, Viboud CG, et al. Hospitalizations associated with influenza and respiratory syncytial virus in the United States, 1993-2008. Clin Infect Dis. 2012;54(10):1427-1436

Medline Plus. Medical Encyclopedia: Bronchiolitis. US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000975.htm. Accessed July 9, 2019..

9 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. RSV Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/rsv/about/prevention.html. Accessed July 9, 2019.

10 DiFranza JR, Masaquel A, Barrett AM, et al. Systematic literature review assessing tobacco smoke exposure as a risk factor for serious respiratory syncytial virus disease among infants and young children. BMC Pediatrics. 2012;12:81.

Cynthia Tait

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