“Protect your children. It is with a serious air that the director of the Avignon hospital launches this call for caution among parents of young children of the Vaucluse. The bronchiolitis epidemic is spreading at high speed in the department. It started three weeks or even a month earlier than in other years and it is more virulent. The current contamination rate is already higher than last year’s peak of contamination and this year it should not be reached for another eight or ten days.
Be aware that at the moment the epidemic is everywhere – Pierre Pinzelli, the director of the Avignon Hospital Center
Up to 150 pediatric emergency visits per 24 hours
“The activity of pediatric emergencies is currently extremely high. We are recording up to 150 passages in 24 hours. That’s a lot. About 70% of these children come for bronchiolitis. And of these 70%, half are hospitalized We are almost at the maximum of our capacity. We have already opened 12 more beds and we are opening six more today. These are the last beds available to us in terms of space but also in terms of the capacity to arm these beds with hospital staffexplains the director of the Avignon Hospital Center. Pierre Pinzelli also calls retired pediatricians who would lend a hand to report to the hospital.
Apply barrier gestures
But above all, his call is for the parents of young children. Bronchiolitis is a respiratory illness of viral origin that affects mainly children under two years old. The most serious forms often even affect children under three months of age. “Be aware that at the moment the epidemic is everywhere, that many adults are carriers of the virus, the same for brothers and sisters. So you have to be careful”explains Pierre Pinzelli, supported by Dr. Lamoureux, head of the hospital’s pediatrics department. “The first barrier gesture is not to put a child with sick people or even with adults. So we avoid as much as possible contact with the uncle, the aunt, the grandmother etc… But also the stores, or restaurants”, she explains. In order to avoid the transmission of the virus, it is recommended that families wash their hands for thirty seconds with soap and water before and after a change, bottles, hugs etc… and to ensure that that the room temperature does not exceed 19 degrees.
If the child falls ill, it is advisable to first seek a general practitioner, a liberal pediatrician or nursing homes so as not to overcrowd the emergency room. In 95% of cases, bronchiolitis does not require hospitalization. The right things to do if the child is sick are as follows: : follow the care and treatment prescribed by the doctor, clean his nose at least six times a day with physiological saline, hydrate him, split meals (give him food more often but in smaller quantities), ventilate well the rooms of the accommodation (in particular the bedroom), do not cover him too much, continue to sleep him on his back flat, and never smoke near him.
You must call 15 in the following cases (especially if the child is less than six weeks old, if he was born prematurely and is less than three months old, and if he is in fragile health)
– If the child drinks less than half of his bottles at three consecutive meals or if he is unable to breastfeed
– If he vomits systematically
– If he sleeps all the time, lacks energy or, on the contrary, if he cries in an unusual way, if he is restless and cannot fall asleep
– If he has more and more trouble breathing.
And in any case, if a parent takes care of their child in the emergency room, the hospital management also calls for patience and calm. “We must have an attitude aware of what we are currently experiencing in the hospital, remain courteous with the hospital staff who do not count their time and energy to manage this epidemic. We are doing our best”finished Pierre Pinzelli.