Cases of respiratory diseases on the rise, especially among children | National Journal

The fall in temperature had a clear side effect on the healthcare system: the soaring record of respiratory diseases, especially among children.

It was just time to change for Miguel to start coughing and get a stuffy nose. The mother thought it best to take her son to the hospital right away.

“Coughing a lot, and it only got worse, right? Because of the cold, those things. He is having many respiratory symptoms”, says Luiza Ortega.

And this has been the routine for many parents. Sara de Jesus Souza said that, last year, her daughter almost didn’t leave the house and she didn’t get sick. This year, Melissa, who was born during the pandemic, started attending daycare. Then the respiratory problems started to appear.

“She has a cough and is vomiting. She can’t swallow, I think her throat must be sore. And at the daycare, she has a lot of kids with the flu too”, she highlights.

Infectologist Renato Kfouri, president of the immunization sector of the Brazilian Society of Pediatrics, explains that in the fall it is common to increase cases of respiratory diseases in children. What a, this year, other factors contributed to the escalation of cases.

“The removal, the use of a mask, the non-attendance to schools, caused a damming of the circulation of these viruses. And those children born from 2019 onwards – never exposed to viruses, in contact with low contamination rates – now, with the return to activities, with the return to school, are becoming infected very often. Rarely have we seen an autumn with as many respiratory illnesses as this time,” she explains.

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In Minas Gerais, at the João Paulo II Children’s Hospital, which is a reference in pediatrics in the state, this year alone – between January and April – the number of visits to children with symptoms of respiratory diseases increased by almost 145% compared to the same period in 2021.

“Our health system is already very overloaded, the emergency room with a long line. So, we avoid bringing light frames. The vast majority of children will have a flu-like syndrome. Then, cough, runny nose, sneeze, low-grade fever, is not a reason to come to the emergency room. If we have some warning signs, then face-to-face evaluation is recommended. They are: persistent fever for more than five days, respiratory effort, prostration or excessive sleepiness, refusal of liquids and oral they are signs that we pay more attention”, says Daniela Otoni, pediatric infectious disease specialist at the hospital.

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Crowded hospitals are repeated throughout Brazil. In the first four months of the year, according to data from the Ministry of Health, there was a 30% increase in hospitalizations of children up to 5 years old for severe acute respiratory syndrome compared to the same period last year.

Mariana Fortunato Malta thought it was just the flu, but her four-month-old daughter has been hospitalized for two weeks with bronchiolitis.

“People who are mothers want their children together. And then, knowing that she is hospitalized, we are worried, but we also know that she needs care, there is no way. So, for her, it is much better to be hospitalized here and to be taken care of than to stay at home,” she says.

Adults have also suffered from respiratory diseases.

In the emergency room, where cases of chest pain and heart disease are usually the main complaints of patients, the profile of those seeking care here has changed in the last week. Now, respiratory illnesses have crowded the waiting room.

Doctors at a private hospital in São Paulo began to notice a increase in the number of cases of flu syndromes in March, when, on average, they saw 13 patients with these symptoms. In April, there were 24 and, in May, 45.

The medical superintendent of Hcor Gabriel Dalla Costa explains that, among these patients, the number of confirmed cases of Covid also increased.

“The easing of the use of masks is perhaps the main reason for the increase in these cases, and we can also make inferences to subvariants and variants of the omicron, for example, as well as the seasonal issue – because seasonality, the cold, makes the people live more closely together in closed environments – they can also be elements that lead to an increase in the number of cases”, he says.

City hall figures show that in other public and private hospitals in São Paulo, flu cases also increased. in total, went from 16 thousand in March to 23 thousand now in May.

Doctors explain that it is to be expected that more people will have respiratory diseases at this time of year and warn that the best way to protect yourself is to get vaccinated against flu and Covid. And the vaccination schedule needs to be complete. As of Thursday (19), just over half of the adult population had taken the first booster dose against Covid. Roraima and Amapá are the states with the lowest percentages.

The numbers are also low for the flu vaccine. According to the Ministry of Health, less than 40% of the public has been vaccinated.

Doctor Rosemeri Maurici, from the Brazilian Society of Pulmonology, says that Covid taught everyone to protect themselves from respiratory diseases.

“The fact that you were vaccinated the year before does not make you immune to the flu the year after. So, the vaccine should be done annually. This will definitely reduce the incidence of respiratory infections. However, the use of the vaccine is very important. So, we can’t forget about the influenza vaccine and also the Covid vaccine booster for those who haven’t done it yet”, he points out.

About Jenni Smith

She's our PC girl, so anything is up to her. She is also responsible for the videos of Play Crazy Game, as well as giving a leg in the news.

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