A new wave of unbelievable respiratory illnesses has hit children in Ribeirão Preto. This is indicated by the numbers and records of Unimed 24 Horas located in the Hospital of São Paulo.
According to a survey conducted with a focus on the month of October, an increase of 658% of cases was registered compared to the same month in 2020. The study showed that in October of last year, 236 children with a similar diagnosis were registered. Seen in the same period of 2021, 1554 assists were carried out. The findings raised an alert to the medical team responsible for the care.
In order to ascertain the origin of the diagnoses, the team made a strategic decision to conduct targeted Covid-19 testing. The samples were taken from November 11-17, when Unimed 24 Horas counted 566 consultations in the pediatric respiratory specialty alone. Of that amount, 145 children underwent PCR tests for Covid, which represented 26% of consultations conducted in that period.
According to Doctor Moysés de Oliveira Lima Filho, Vice President of Unimed Ribeirão Preto, the 24-hour service center is focused on a large influx of people, and with the record of such an increase in demand, the decision to conduct Covid-19 tests was made to provide more safety and certainty in diagnosis, as well as care and treatment protocols. The doctor notes that “the number of children with respiratory problems has increased significantly, and since this is not common at this time of year, the question arises.”
The pioneering initiative aimed to screen children with respiratory complaints, even mild ones, as severe cases are normally tested. “Faced with a framework of mild symptoms, no one here nor in the world does this type of testing, but we have adopted the tests as a guide to check for coronavirus, and given these results, we decided whether we could make the service flow more fluid within 24 hours. hour, Moysés comments.
The result reassured the doctors: only one case of Covid infection in this age group, representing 0.6% of the volume of consultations, but it raises some questions for the population, such as: what causes respiratory diseases – especially in children. up to 10 years?
Dr. Fernanda Tomei, Pediatric Infectious Diseases, provides an answer that the team found before the study. According to her, social isolation, designed to contain the Corona virus pandemic, interferes with the circulation of other viruses, limiting this spread. “These are viruses that have already caused infection in children and had an effect on transmission during isolation,” he explains. The doctor adds that the transmission coincides with the gradual return of activities, and therefore seasonality (the distribution of periods of infection occurrence) has changed. In general, these cases occur more precisely in the fall and winter. “It is also possible that the isolation period, during which the children were not infected, resulted in more susceptible children returning to activities,” he adds.
The survey was coordinated by Dr. Moysés de Oliveira Lima Filho (cardiologist), with the support of doctors Maria Angela C. Pimenta (coordinator of Unimed 24 Horas), Karen Mirna Loro Morjon (infectious disease specialist) and Fernanda Tomei (pediatric infectious disease specialist).
The phenomenon observed in the city has been reported across the country, as was detected by Brazil’s Respiratory Infection Surveillance System, which was installed to diagnose and monitor influenza and other viruses.
Unimed Ribeirão Preto warns that it is possible to contain outbreaks of respiratory diseases in children through simple measures that can be applied in the daily habits of the population: strengthening recommendations for hygiene and care during the epidemic. Hand hygiene, use of alcohol gel, care when coughing and sneezing, stopping activities when children are sick, to avoid transmission to other children are essential, and it is essential to maintain these habits permanently.
“Caring to avoid transmission and vaccination are the main forms of prevention. We do not have vaccines for all of these viruses, but adequate adherence to the available vaccines allows us to control preventable infections and reduce the risk of complications such as ear infections and pneumonia, making infections less dangerous,” he warns. Pediatric infectious disease specialist Fernanda Thomas
In general, the treatment applied to these children includes care such as adequate hydration and nasal cleaning, control of fever and pain, with indication of medications for children with exacerbations of allergic conditions or pulmonary involvement, as well as antibiotics when secondary bacterial infection (otitis, otitis media) is present. sinusitis or pneumonia). Medical care is necessary to clarify the condition and provide appropriate support.
The Unimed 24 Hours team advises that in children with mild respiratory symptoms, in addition to influenza or a common cold, a telemedicine consultation service is recommended initially: the Digital Pronto Service, available at www.padigitalunimed.com. From 8 am to 8 pm. The responsible medical team will assess the patient’s need to be transferred to the hospital unit.
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