Spanish emergencies have been on the brink of saturation for weeks due to a wave of hospitalizations of babies and children due to this lung infection.
Spanish emergencies have been on the verge of saturation for weeks due to a wave of hospitalizations of babies and children due to bronchiolitis, a lung infection that, especially among the smallest, causes great difficulties in breathing and It can be caused by various kinds of viruses.
Last week, the Spanish Society of Pediatric Emergencies (SEUP) expressed in a statement its “concern and uncertainty about the unexpected increase” in attendance at pediatric emergencies, 40% higher to the “pre-pandemic era”.
This increase is mainly due to the early arrival of the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), the main cause of bronchiolitis.
“This year, the first cases of RSV began to be treated in the month of July, when in the days before covid-19, the bronchiolitis epidemic began at the end of October,” SEUP warned.
He also explained that the main concern is that, for the moment, it is not known when peak will be reached nor if the severity of the cases will be greater than in other seasons, or for how many months the epidemic will converge with the infection of other epidemic viruses, such as influenza, and already endemic, such as covid-19.
“Inflammation of the bronchioles”
But what is this ailment that worries mothers and fathers, specialists and health authorities so much?
It is an inflammation of the bronchioles, small pulmonary tubes, which manifests at first with runny nose, fever and cough for two or three days.
It causes inflammation and congestion in these small airways due to the accumulated mucus secreted by the disease itself, which in the most serious cases can lead to respiratory distress and requires hospitalization.
After the first symptoms, “it is likely that the child stops, not getting worse, or that he begins to cough more, breathe faster and with difficulty (the ribs are marked and the abdomen rises and falls exaggeratedly, and the nostrils widen)”, the Community of Madrid explains in a statement.
Usually, those most affected are children under two years of ageand especially, infants between two and six months.
increase in cases
According to the SEUP, there are several reasons that explain the increase in cases: the lack of circulation of RSV and other viruses in the last two years, the lack of immunity in younger children, the withdrawal of anticovid protection measures – masks, alcohol and social distance–, and “the lack of human resources in primary care that makes it difficult to respond at this level of care.”
It is also attributed to “the culture of immediacy that leads parents to go to the emergency room with pictures that are still incipient.”
#Dear ParentsIf you have a child under 6 months, minimize visits as much as possible. This is more important the younger the baby is. Allow yourself to be as belligerent as you want with this. There will be time later for hugs, kisses and whatever it takes. Cheer up 🤟🏻
— Alberto Garcia-Salido (@Nopanaden) November 21, 2022
“It is difficult to explain with words what we are experiencing in Pediatric Emergency Departments, hospitalization floors and ICUs these days due to the explosion of cases of bronchiolitis and other respiratory infections due to the advance and intensity of the RSV epidemic”, explained David Andina, SEUP pediatrician.
The expert warned that pediatric emergencies are beating the historical records of children treated with increases of 40 and 50%, while waiting times are multiplying even for seriously ill patients.
As preventive measures, professionals ask parents to avoid their children being close to people with respiratory symptoms. In addition, they recommend hand hygiene and surface cleaning, wearing a mask if caregivers have a cold and, if possible, avoiding daycare centers.
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