Child infections at low levels during the first year of the Covid pandemic

Recent studies on hospital admissions for child infections have shown some interesting points. During the first year of the Covid pandemic, the number of children admitted to hospitals for other infections was at a record low compared to previous years. 

Child infections at low levels during the first year of the Covid pandemic

However, many experts attribute this to lockdown measures and social distancing prevalent during the early days of the pandemic. In normal circumstances, it is not possible to get such numbers. Many researchers believe that this is worth looking at as it can give some insights into preventing child hospital admissions in the long run.

The interesting thing about the pandemic year is that many child immunization programs were affected due to Covid restrictions across the world. Even after such problems, not many hospitalizations were reported for children during this period. The researchers considered the health infection reports of children before and after the pandemic year for the study. Apart from that, the age and geographical location of the patients were also considered as it gives some insights into the entire situation.

The hospitalizations for the most common infections were reduced in the year 2020, irrespective of the age group and ethnicity of the patients. This trend was generally observed even in elderly patients worldwide, and experts are wondering about the exact cause for this trend. Even the mortality rate was reduced a lot during this period due to other infections. Most of the children who were admitted during this period suffered from pneumonia that can be related to Covid infections.

Health experts are of the opinion that social restrictions imposed across the country have got a significant role to play in this trend. As people stayed home for the most part of the year, the chances of catching an infection became less. Not only that, exposure to outside food was reduced to some extent during the pandemic year. Given these conditions, it is normal to expect reduced hospitalizations in children for generic infections.

However, many people express doubts over this trend as children could not be admitted into hospitals during the pandemic for common infections. As most hospitals were busy treating Covid patients, the admissions for common ailments came down by a huge margin. 

Apart from that, several parents preferred to use over-the-counter medication for common ailments rather than visiting a hospital during the pandemic. In this regard, several children were not admitted to hospitals, and it is impossible to get such data at this stage.

Even though the study points out some interesting data, it can only be considered observational findings, and it does not represent the entire picture. As schools across the country remained shut during the pandemic, children’s social behavior changed a lot, and this may be one of the contributing factors for a lower number of hospital admissions in this period. Apart from that, even parents chose to use non-drug interventions in case of common ailments as hospital admissions were risky due to the Covid situation.

There is nothing much the health system can learn from these studies as it cannot be replicated outside of the pandemic situation. However, experts insist that further studies in this regard may give some insights into handling common infections without getting admitted to hospitals. In this way, the load on the health system can be reduced to a large extent which will be beneficial in the long run.

Experts are also worried that the situation can worsen as soon as the pandemic ends as people will get more exposed to infections due to increased social contact. For this reason, it is important to open up the restrictions slowly and steadily.

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

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