RSV: Stories from Parents

“We thought it was a cold” – stories from parents of babies hospitalised with RSV

Hannah shares her emotional story, contributing to the invaluable experience of when her son, John, caught an RSV infection. John was hospitalized with RSV infection when he was only seven months old. There was something wrong with the child, but he couldn’t tell his mother what it was. The only thing he did was cry.  

“I was extremely emotional. He was seven or eight months old at the time and could not express himself verbally. He could not say, “Oh my belly hurts” or “Oh my throat hurts”, recalled Hannah. 

She said John was hooked up to 100 machines and receiving oxygen through his nose. During that time in the hospital, a nurse informed the mother that her son could be on a ventilator. 

“It makes you feel like you have nothing to do but pray”, said Hannah. 

When it is not just a cold

Alexia shared with A Life in a Day they initially thought their child had only a small cold when their child ended up in the hospital with RSV. It was clear to her that she had not considered RSV.  

“We thought he was suffering from a small cold. We didn’t think much about it. Children get colds all the time. We were worried, but not that much, that we would go to the hospital. 

If they hadn’t gone to the hospital, Alexia said she couldn’t even imagine what might have happened. 

“I think everybody should know. If you have a baby, you should know about it. If you don’t know it, you could risk something more dangerous. So simple as that.” 

A Day in a Life experience: RSV

Our A Life in a Day experiences are built from conversations with many patients to deliver a deeper understanding of their experiences in addition to driving empathy and practical change. One of the therapy areas is RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus. 

It is a common virus that causes serious illness. Infants and young children are most at risk for RSV. The virus can cause coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing. The best way to reduce the risk of RSV is to vaccinate. 

Breathing Difficulties

” The nurse had a look at him and suddenly she looked at me and said, ‘are you aware that your son has nearly no more capacity to breathe?’ And then I get everyone taking him out of my arms,” said Erin, mother of a child hospitalized with RSV. 

In her opinion, if she had known more about RSV before the infection, she would have acted more quickly to get the right help. 

“Once we got over the shock of him needing a hospital, we obviously asked ourselves if we had done enough? The one thing we kept coming back to was, if we had known more about RSV before the infection, maybe we could have done things a bit differently. But you can’t keep beating yourself over what you don’t know.” 

Participants share their thoughts on RSV experience

Global Head of Communications, Christine, stated that after participating in A Life in a Day, she plans to seek out and share more parent stories. She recommended that everyone participate in this experience to understand how deeply it impacts families.

“It is a really great experience for someone who does not understand RSV. But I also feel that you certainly hit understanding the stress and the conflicts of having to manage this and that and the baby. The stress of the situation made me think, “my gosh, that’s what every parent has to face”. 

 “From the perspective of someone who has not been through any of that as I have never had an infant, I thought it made the whole thing very, very real. Honestly, the use of the teddy bear was impactful because I had a little moment where you are wrapping the dressing around the bear’s arm. It was like the size of an infant, and that made it powerful. And then having those interactions with my spouse and him being mad at me because I needed to move a meeting and it felt very real. So, it was powerful,” said Kelly, Associate Brand Manager.

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