Chelmer Mum’s Wake-Up Call: Son’s Experience with Respiratory Syncytial Virus Sparks Awareness Campaign

Respiratory Syncytial Virus
Chelmer mum-of-two Caitlin Archard-Farry with son Luca who recently had RSV, and daughter Mila (Photo Credit: Peter Wallis)

Caitlin Archard-Farry, a mother of two from Chelmer, will never forget the time she watched her son Luca struggling to breathe, as he was hospitalised due to Respiratory Syncytial Virus.

Read: Milpera State High School: Preparing Children From Over 41 Different Countries for Life in Australia

Luca, just one year old at the time, required oxygen support during his two-day hospital stay. Reflecting on the experience, Mrs Archard-Farry couldn’t believe how things progressively went from bad to worse.

number works n' words Ad

She described her son Luca’s illness as days of lethargy, breathing issues, and wheezing. She became deeply concerned when she struggled to wake him up and could hardly do so. That’s when she realised that something was seriously wrong.

Mrs Archard-Farry with her children (Photo Credit: Peter Wallis)

“I didn’t realise how serious the virus can be,” Mrs Archard-Farry said.

The Respiratory Syncytial Virus is a respiratory virus that can lead to severe lung infections, particularly among premature babies with chronic neonatal lung disease. It remains one of the leading causes of hospitalisation in infants under the age of one, as national health figures indicate a staggering 43,221 recorded cases of RSV in the last six months alone.

Tower Ad
Picture for illustration purposes only (photo credit: Exergen Corporation/Pexels)

RSV Vaccine Trial

To address the urgent need for effective prevention measures against RSV, a team of researchers at Mater Mothers’ Hospital Brisbane has initiated trials for a new RSV vaccine.

The vaccine aims to provide single-dose protection and reduce the rates of hospitalisation among premature babies after they are discharged.

Dr Pita Birch, Director of Neonatology at Mater, explained the heightened vulnerability of preterm babies with underlying lung conditions to serious RSV complications.

Photo credit: David Inderias/Google Maps

“Those that develop RSV can be affected by bronchiolitis which causes difficulty in breathing. This can become so severe that babies require respiratory support, including intubation and mechanical ventilation,” he said.

Dr Birch added that preterm babies who go home on oxygen are much more likely to require admission to a paediatric intensive care unit for breathing support and are more likely to die of RSV infection than healthy term babies without underlying lung problems.

If the trial proves successful, the new vaccine will provide enhanced protection against RSV infection compared to the current vaccine. Furthermore, it has the potential to significantly reduce hospitalisations, admissions to intensive care units, and fatalities.

Read: Green Endeavour HQ: The Future of Fruit and Veg Distribution and Education

Her son’s bout with RSV served as a profound “wake-up call” for Mrs Archard-Farry, shedding light on the gravity of RSV and prompting her to share her story to raise awareness about the virus and ongoing efforts to develop a vaccine so that other families would not have to suffer like her son did.

Published 11-July-2023