Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, is far from the common cold. It can lead to hospitalization, lifelong health complications or even death for infants and young children. In fact, it is the leading cause of hospitalization in children younger than one.
Yet a national poll of parents and specialty health care providers reveals a startling divide in attitudes toward the virus. While both groups acknowledge RSV as a significant concern, the two populations vary widely in their reported ability to meet RSV’s threat head-on. Health care providers vigilantly monitor for the virus, which they report seeing regularly in their practices. Parents, however, feel unequipped to protect their young children.
Meanwhile, specialty health care providers overwhelmingly report that health plan rules and insurance denials block vulnerable infants’ access to preventive RSV treatment. Such barriers can put unprepared parents at a double disadvantage. The survey does suggest, however, that education can embolden parents to seek more information about RSV and take steps to protect their children.