October 04, 2021 – 2:57 pm clock
The wave of respiratory infections actually came too soon
A runny nose here, a cough and a fever there: a striking number of children have been struggling with respiratory infections for a few weeks now, which can only be expected in the coming winter months. But why is that? In the past winter, relatively few small children were sick. Because: Closures and other protective measures have intervened not only in the fight against the coronavirus, but also against other pathogens. Now, however, children and adolescents are catching up with their infections. That means: bottlenecks in the children’s clinics.
In addition, many parents wonder: Can I send my child to daycare or school with a mild cough and runny nose? In the video you can see what pediatricians advise for the coming period.
Robert Koch Institute warns against the RS virus
Jakob Maske, spokesman for the Federal Association of Pediatricians and Adolescents, reveals to the German News Agency that children under the age of six are currently mainly affected. Due to the closure of childcare and other Corona measures last winter and spring they have not yet come into contact with certain pathogens, “The infections are now being caught up.”
There are also warnings about the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV): The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reports a sharp increase in hospital admissions for infections with the infectious disease, which mainly affects smaller children between the ages of one and four. This upper respiratory tract infection can be particularly dangerous for premature babies and previously ill children in the first year of life. According to the RKI, in the years before the pandemic in September, about 60 to 70 one to four year olds per week with severe respiratory infections were admitted to clinics, now there are twice that number. The RKI also expects a further increase.
Reading tip: RS virus in babies: why infection is so dangerous
The situation comes to a head: too few hospital beds and too few staff
Mask, who has a pediatric practice in Berlin, says: “Unfortunately, things are getting worse at the moment. We have slightly more sick children than usual at the time and fewer and fewer beds in children’s hospitals because there is a lack of staff.” The doctors take care of seriously ill children in the autumn and winter. According to Maske, it is already very difficult to place small patients in the hospital. Another reason is that too few pediatric nurses have been trained.
The Hanoverian pediatrician Thomas Buck, board member of the Lower Saxony Medical Association, believes that “the children’s clinics are closed very early”. His patients would have had to move to clinics about 40 kilometers away.
Infectious diseases: In addition to the RS virus and Corona, the flu wave is coming
Larger outbreaks of RSV among children were reported in Israel in May and in the United States, Australia and Japan during the summer months. The RKI therefore warned in the summer to prepare for a similar scenario. “As a rule, children encounter RSV every year and build up a certain level of immune protection,” explain the RKI experts. This help in fighting off the pathogens is now missing because there were almost no RSV diseases due to the corona measures last winter.
“We are also concerned that there is a flu epidemic,” said Buck. In the last half of the winter pandemic, with many hygiene measures and limited contacts, there was virtually no flu wave. Doctors hope that the willingness to get a flu vaccination for the coming season remains high.
Pediatricians advise: parents can do that
The pediatricians are calling for the daily life of children and young people to be as normal as possible after months of hardship. It is often a difficult decision for parents to whether you send your child to daycare or school with a nosebleed or sore throat. Since the start of the pandemic, everyone with cold symptoms has been viewed skewedly and there is always a suspicion of a corona infection in the room. “You have to make sensible risk assessments,” Buck said. “We want the children to finally go back to kindergarten and school and avoid unnecessary sick leave.” On the other hand, it is also about not overlooking a possible corona infection, if possible. (dpa / vdu)