The Serious Virus Affecting Children – How Much Do You Know?

sick infant in pink stripes

A mother, whose life will never be the same, and a doctor that wants to help prevent this from happening to you…

We have heard about, seen, read about, and experienced this year’s flu season; but are you remembering to watch out for the other common, potentially serious virus that can affect our children too? RSV is on the rise in many states; and high-risk babies, preemies, and infants are in danger of catching this respiratory infection, or have already caught it!

If you are wondering how to keep your family healthy, EverydayFamily’s Director of Content Shiloh Johnson spoke with Dr. Sergio Golombek and Gigi Khonyongwa-Fernandez to find out. Gigi, a positive, hopeful, and strong preemie and special needs mom, had a son who was born at 24 weeks and he is now legally blind with moderate developmental delays.  And Sergio is a Professor of Pediatrics and Clinical Public Health at the New York Medical College, as well as an Attending Neonatologist at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center, in Valhalla, NY.

These two individuals have shared their wonderful advice with us, and we wanted to share it with you! This is what they had to say: 


Has RSV made its way into your home?  What are you currently doing to prevent your child from contracting RSV?  Comment below!

Sergio G. Golombek, MD, MPH, FAAP:

Sergio G. Golombek, MD, MPH, FAAP is a Professor of Pediatrics and Clinical Public Health at the New York Medical College and an Attending Neonatologist at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center, in Valhalla, NY. Dr. Golombek received his medical degree from the University of Buenos Aires School of Medicine in Argentina. After training in pediatrics and neonatology in Argentina, he moved to the U.S., where he completed a pediatric residency at the R. Blank Memorial Hospital for Children at Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines, IA, followed by a Fellowship in Neonatal-Perinatal medicine at The Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, MO. He is Board Certified in Pediatrics and Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine. He is an active member of the Argentine Society of Pediatrics, the Iberoamerican Society of Neonatology and the American Academy of Pediatrics. He is a member of the Society for Pediatric Research, and the Past-President of the New York Perinatal Society. He received in 2004 his MPH (International Health) from the School of Public Health at New York Medical College.

Dr. Golombek has served as principal investigator on several trials, including the NIH-sponsored trial, “Use of low dose inhaled nitric oxide for the prevention and treatment of chronic lung disease in preterm infants,” and a pilot study of thyroid hormone supplementation for transient hypothyroxinemia of prematurity.

He has received the Physician Recognition Award from the American Medical Association since 1993, was included in Who’s Who in Medicine and Healthcare, Millennium Edition (2000), and is listed in Guide to America’s Top Pediatricians and Who’s Who in American Education.

Dr. Golombek has published multiple articles on the treatment of transient hypothyroxinemia of prematurity, RSV prophylaxis, cardiac failure in newborns, and the effects of surfactant treatment on gas exchange and the clinical course in near-term newborns with RDS. Additionally, he has edited and contributed chapters to Augusto Sola’s textbook Special Care of the Fetus and Newborn: Physiopathology and Therapeutics and to the 6th Edition of Neonatology: Pathophysiology and Management of the Newborn, including “Principles of respiratory care and strategies for management.” He has been an invited Professor, lecturing around the U.S. and in most of the countries in Latin America over the past several years.

Gigi R. Khonyongwa-Fernandez, BSc, MSc, Certified Professional Coach (Distinction), Founder, Families Blossoming LLC: 

Gigi is a preemie and special needs mom – her precious son Alejandro was born at 24 weeks and is now legally blind with moderate developmental delays. She is also a Professional Life Coach and Founder of Families Blossoming LLC, which is a unique business specializing in providing coaching-based emotional support and other related services, post-NICU or post-diagnosis, to parents of children born prematurely, parents of children who are sick/medically vulnerable and parents of children with special needs. It also supports organizations and agencies who serve these children and their families via a range of joint-partnership work.

Gigi very quickly realized how easy it was to lose yourself and feel stuck when caring for a child post-NICU. She experienced first-hand the gap in the provision of ongoing emotional support during the long-term transitional post-NICU phase that was available for parents and felt a sink or swim reality once she arrived home. This was further impacted by the challenges of raising a child with special needs. Inspired by her son, Gigi sought to change this pattern of feeling lost and stuck for all parents and created Families Blossoming LLC.

She received her BSc (honors) in Occupational Therapy, specializing in neurological conditions; she worked in this field for several years in the US and UK (London, England), holding both clinical and management roles. Later, she successfully led several project management initiatives within the UK’s healthcare sector. She obtained her MSc from The London School of Economics and Political Science and her Diploma in Personal Performance Coaching (Distinction) from The Coaching Academy (UK). She is a member of the International Coach Federation (ICF) and the New York Chapter of ICF (NYC-ICF) and is currently pursuing further coaching accreditation by the ICF.

Gigi is passionate about parents and wants them to reach a point of hope, clarity, direction and optimism for their lives. She provides her services from a unique vantage point and with a certain level of knowingness that comes directly from walking the very path of the parents receiving the services. Using proven coaching techniques, genuine compassion and an overdose of laughter, Gigi helps parents not only find themselves again, but also helps them transform their lives to align where they want to be as people and as parents.

What do you think?

The Serious Virus Affecting Children – How Much Do You Know?

Kimberly Shannon is a wife, a mother, an editor, a writer ... She is always working to find the perfect balance¹! After Kimberly received her bachelor’s degree in Journalism, she worked on two master’s degree programs (Creative Writing, and Marriage and Family Therapy). At various times in her life she has signed up to study Naturopathy, only to back out at the last minute, and humored the idea of returning full-time to the world of dance. Kimberly has also started 10 different children ... More

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  1. Profile photo of sayhola sayhola says:
    Helpful to have these links embedded. Thanks. 🙂

  2. Profile photo of Sara McTigue, CLCEditor Sara McTigue, CLC says:

    Even with full term babies, it can be such a scary illness. The twins got very, very sick around 8 months and it was awful. Even as a 2 year old, Annabella was affected for weeks. But I had NO idea what it was before they got sick, so it’s great to spread this information!


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