Published: 20th October 2021
Amid COVID-19 third wave anticipation, Bengaluru hospitals see rise in cases of Bronchiolitis among children
Bronchiolitis is a common lung infection in young children and infants, which causes inflammation and congestion in the small airways (bronchioles) of the lung, and is caused by a virus
While the third wave of COVID-19 is anticipated, doctors in Bengaluru have observed a surge in cases of Bronchiolitis among children, with paediatric intensive care units (ICUs) becoming full. Infants and toddlers aged two months to two years develop chest infection caused by viruses, breathe fast, experience a kind of viral pneumonia, for which there is no specific medication, but may require ventilator or ICU admission.
Bronchiolitis is a common lung infection in young children and infants, which causes inflammation and congestion in the small airways (bronchioles) of the lung, and is caused by a virus that attacks mostly in the winter season.
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"This may be happening as kids of this age may not be wearing masks effectively, which not only help prevent COVID-19 but also other diseases. Our ICUs are flooded with children requiring non-invasive ventilation or high-flow nasal cannula (HFNC). Parents must look out for warning signs that distinguish Bronchiolitis from regular cold and cough," said Dr Supraja Chandrasekar, Paediatric Intensivist at Columbia Asia Referral Hospitals, Yeshwantpur.
For children aged one or less, if breathing is more than 60 times per minute, for children less than age 5, if breathing is more than 40 times per minute, and in children more than age 5, if it is more than 30 times per minute, then it is time to get a physical appointment with the doctor. If fever runs over three days, the baby is not drinking fluids or vomits more than twice a day, these are also warning signs. She also advised against home nebulization.
"There is a significant increase in the number of ICU and ward admission of infants suffering from Bronchiolitis. The cause of this is viral infection, the most common being Respiratory Syncytial Virus and Influenza. It is usually seasonal and increases in winter," said Dr Srikanta J T, Consultant, Paediatric Interventional Pulmonology and Sleep Medicine, Aster CMI Hospital
At Narayana Health, ICUs are full with little patients coming in even in the middle of the night due to severe Bronchiolitis.
"This year, cases are far more than previous years. Families are coming in late requiring oxygen, HFNC and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) support — in which constant pressure, that is higher than atmospheric pressure, is applied to the upper respiratory tract of the patient. Children who are more at risk for Bronchiolitis and severe disease are those born prematurely, those who needed ventilator during the neonatal period, have chronic lung disease, heart disease or underlying rare disease such as immunodeficiency," said Dr Anil Kumar Sapare - Consultant, Paediatric Pulmonology, Narayana Health.