‘The best Facebook Live I’ve ever listened to!’

4 mins read

Tuesday 7 December 2021

Tags: health, RSV, toddler and baby

That’s what just one of the 90 parents who tuned into our Facebook Live broadcast with respiratory expert Dr Martin Samuels said earlier today. 

If you missed today’s excellent session, you can watch it again here  

Dr Samuels, a consultant respiratory paediatrician at Great Ormond Street Hospital and Staffordshire Children’s Hospital spent 50 minutes providing detailed answers to more than 30 great questions from parents of young disabled children.

Parents gave the session a big thumbs up with one parent describing it as ‘the best Facebook Live I have ever listened to.’

Parents asked about a range of concerns including whether there were preventative vaccines to protect young children prone to chest infections and whether it was good idea for children with health problems to carry on shielding. 

The focus of Dr Samuels broadcast was RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) the commonest cause of breathing infections like bronchiolitis in children under 2. Most cases of bronchiolitis are mild, and children recover without treatment within two to three weeks.  But some children are more vulnerable to getting very ill with the virus, so it is important to look out for more serious problems. 

RSV is particularly risky and can cause severe illness in babies and infants born prematurely or who have heart and lung problems, impaired immunity, or certain neuromuscular conditions. 

Questions and answers included: 

Q: Is it safe for a child to be given the flu vaccine while recovering from bronchiolitis?  

A: Yes, once over the acute symptoms of bronchiolitis, and they are feeding and breathing room air it is safe.  

Q: Some children with Down syndrome are prescribed antibiotics all winter. Is that something you would recommend for all children with Down syndrome or only to children with Down syndrome prone to chest infections? 

A: I wouldn’t recommend giving preventative antibiotics to every child with Down syndrome because some children with Downs get through their winters fine without additional medicines or treatment. And if we can avoid medicines, that’s the better path. But for children with Down syndrome, and other syndromes, prone to chest infections and repeated respiratory illness, we do consider preventative antibiotics – usually Azithromycin – which lasts a long time in the system and is only taken once a day three times a week. The antibiotics won’t stop them getting the viruses, but it works well in preventing secondary bacterial infections that can come on top of the viral infection. 

Q: We keep being told “they’ll grow out it”. What is it about growing means they grow out of it. Is it a case of bigger lungs can deal with it better?  

A: Yes. As you grow, your lungs get bigger and so do the air passages. As they get bigger, they are more able to tolerate small amounts of inflammation. If your child has an underlying medical condition that affects their air passages or muscle strength that improves with age, their ability to cope with respiratory viruses will improve with age. If they have a condition that worsens with age, they may be prone to more severe chest problems as they get bigger and need to see a respiratory paediatrician. 

Watch our Facebook Live on winter viruses Facebook Live on winter viruses  and read more about RSV and bronchiolitis on our Frequently Asked Questions page.  

If you have a child under three, join our Baby and Toddler Group join our Baby and Toddler Group to keep up to date with ways to keep your child healthy during the colder months.