Indirect Effect Lockdown Had On Life Threatening Childhood Diseases

It’s almost been two years since the pandemic hit us. As lockdown and social distancing have been followed for a long time, a recent study conducted by the University of Oxford’s researchers stated that hospital admissions for contagious diseases like measles, sepsis meningitis have dropped. It is suspected that as a result of social distancing and proper hygiene maintenance, cases related to childhood infections have reduced.

Indirect Effect Lockdown Had On Life Threatening Childhood Diseases

It is said to have dropped by 94 percent in the first year of the pandemic. The study conducted, included all the hospital admissions for a wide range of infections, including the entire child population aged between 0-14 years, and found the result to be solid. Infections like pyelonephritis (kidney infection) didn’t show any reduction in hospital admissions as social restrictions don’t have any impact on them.

Indirect Effect Lockdown Had On Life Threatening Childhood Diseases

Researchers studied the medical admissions of children for common and severe childhood infections and found a substantial reduction rate, because of social distancing, school closures, travel restrictions, and proper maintenance of hygiene like regular cleaning, wearing face masks, and time to time hand washing may have contributed.

Among the reduction in infections, it is found that influenza, a common respiratory disease, is found to be reduced in large numbers. Medical admissions related to influenza have reduced from 5,379 to just 304, marking a 94 percent reduction in one year. Most of the measures that were taken in the first year of the covid to prevent the spread cant be followed after the pandemic. Such restrictions also affected the mental health of people. But, researchers believe that the huge drop in cases is because of these restrictions, which could be followed during the winters as most people are said to be admitted for respiratory or invasive diseases during that period of time.

Due to the pandemic, it can be seen that child immunization programs have been disrupted globally since these restrictions have put a barrier in administering the vaccines to children.

Admissions for diseases like osteomyelitis reduced by 26 percent and meningitis reduced by 50 percent. Bronchiolitis admissions have decreased from 51,655 to 9,423, marking an 80 percent reduction between 2020 – 21. Meningitis admissions have decreased from 3,917 to 1,964, which is a 50 percent drop. Tonsillitis admissions dropped by 66%, which is from 54,000 before the pandemic to just 18,000.  

These reductions were said to be similar across the world, for children with pre-existing conditions who are at high risk of illness and death from diseases.

Respiratory infections like asthma among children used to get worse before the pandemic. Now the life-threatening situation has been found to be reduced among children. As the entire country went into lockdown, triggering factors for such diseases have reduced. Tens of thousands fewer children were admitted for influenza, bronchiolitis, pneumonia, other severe and life-threatening conditions.

Data released by them also showed that when lockdown and major restrictions were removed around May, the admissions for common childhood infections have increased than usual. The study shows how the measure that was taken against covid can have an impact on the transmission of other respiratory and life-threatening diseases. It was found, ever since the covid protocols were made necessary, the hospital admissions for respiratory, severe invasive, and vaccine-preventable diseases have reduced on an unimaginable scale. Children with two or more diseases were also protected from severe hospitalization.

Even after the end of the pandemic, necessary action and implementation of proper strategies should be taken by the policymakers to reduce the burden of health systems and protect vulnerable children, especially during winters, where admissions for childhood admissions are reported high. These non-pharmacological evaluations can decrease the cases reported.  

United States trained Investigative Journalist, Clinical Pharmacist, PR Specialist, and Activist.

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