Posted 20 декабря 2022, 10:11

Published 20 декабря 2022, 10:11

Modified 24 декабря 2022, 22:38

Updated 24 декабря 2022, 22:38

Repaying debts for the coronavirus. Doctors explained why the flu hits children so hard

20 декабря 2022, 10:11
There is an influenza epidemic in Russia. Children suffer the most from it, and the number of hospitalized with severe complications is growing. Why this is happening and how to protect your children - in the material of Novye Izvestia.

Alexander Dybin

The number of people with influenza in Russia has increased by more than 10 times compared to last year. Such data is provided by Rospotrebnadzor. At the same time, children are most affected by the virus. In a number of regions, schools leave early for the winter holidays. For example, in St. Petersburg, 500 classes are closed for quarantine or 500 classes have gone to the distance, and the elementary school is going to rest. Last week, children's hospitals canceled planned hospitalizations, and the entire health care system of the northern capital returned to the mask regime. In the Leningrad region, holidays will begin ahead of schedule from December 23 for all students. In the Pskov, Tambov, Tyumen and Sverdlovsk regions, part of the classes were sent to distance learning.

Doctors note that the swine flu epidemic is complicated by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the seasonal rise in SARS.

“This is the expected rise in SARS and influenza epidemics, which we have not seen for the past two years due to the coronavirus pandemic,” says Elena Dondurei , chief freelance specialist in infectious diseases in children of the St. Petersburg Health Committee, “in general, the picture is similar to the pre-pandemic years. By age, young children are most often ill - up to 2 years. This is 40-50% of the sick, 30% are preschoolers, in third place is the junior school. During the pandemic, there was a completely different picture, then children of older school age were hospitalized more often. The etiology is unique every year. Now the influenza infection is in the first place, more than half of the hospitalized have it, the RS-virus infection is in the second place, and the rhinovirus is in the third place. In addition, adenovirus, bocavirus, and metapneumovirus infections circulate. That complicates the work of the outpatient link. It is very difficult to choose antiviral therapy. The load on primary care and hospitals has increased tenfold. And the medical staff does not reproduce by budding, we have more calls.”

Vladimir Timchenko , head of the Department of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the St. Petersburg State Pediatric Medical University, confirms that three processes influence the incidence and its severity.

“The child suffers a new coronavirus infection, has not come out of it and can become infected with the flu, against the background of reduced immunity, the disease is more severe,” the expert says, “this is what we see in departments. The peculiarity is that a significant part of children receive treatment from their mothers at home, they turn to doctors late. Children enter the hospital with complications, not only with lesions of the ENT organs, but also with severe pneumonia, with the development of pleurisy. It didn't happen before. We now have three children in the department with pleurisy, which are caused by streptococcus. This is a bacterial infection that is combined with a viral one, which leaves an imprint on the nature of the therapy.”

Why is the cold season hitting kids so hard? According to experts, this is a kind of debt that was formed during the two years of the coronavirus pandemic, which crowded out all other infections. And now, the flu has come back infecting children without immunity.

“This is due to the effect of the pandemic, when a layer of children has formed who are not immune to a large number of pathogens, both viral and bacterial infections,” says Elena Dondurei, “we repay this debt. Children who have not accumulated immunity during these two years of the pandemic are getting sick. The severity of the disease is also associated with this. Even in the summer, pneumonia developed in 10% of cases, which since November, pneumonia complicates the course of influenza in 30-40% of cases. Every fourth child suffers from pneumonia. There is no immunity not only to viral, but also to bacterial infections. In the first place is pneumococcus, in the second place is mycoplasma infection, in the third place is hemophilic infection.

Vladimir Timchenko from the Pediatric University notes that the fall in immunity was influenced by the restrictions that were introduced during the fight against coronavirus.

“The activities of the last two years have provided a sharp decrease in contact with pathogens. Over time, the human body has not encountered the influenza virus, based on this, there is no immunity in the body, having entered the circulation of a pandemic strain and caused an increase in the incidence against the background of the fact that immunity is reduced, including due to the coronavirus,” the expert noted.

Books and songs will help immunity

According to Elena Dondurei , it is now too late to get vaccinated against the flu; it remains to protect yourself with masks, nasal lavage and isolation.

“Now we don’t have specific methods of prevention left, now only non-specific measures are working, it makes sense to minimize visits to crowded places and leave children at home,” she says, “some children went on early holidays, this is a good measure, it will allow celebrate the New Year without illness. But if we don't change school to a mall. In addition, barrier agents work, we can rinse the nose with saline, sea water and remove pathogens.

Vladimir Timchenko , head of the Department of Children's Infectious Diseases at the St. Petersburg State Pediatric Medical University, notes that in addition to preventive drugs like interferon and vitamins, the emotional state helps to raise children's immunity.

“It is important to monitor nutrition, eat vegetables, fruits, juices, if there is no allergy, honey,” he says, “but the psychological climate in the family is also important. You need to talk with children, listen, cheer them up, support and encourage. It is important that children read books in the traditional form. And singing songs is not only an element of breathing exercises, if a child smiles, it has been proven that this affects the immune system.