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December 31, 2019

Respiratory tract infections, pneumonia severely hit kids


December 31, 2019

Islamabad: After the sharp fall in mercury, the incidences of both the upper and the lower respiratory tract infections among children and infants have been continuously on the rise and the number of patients being reported at the healthcare facilities in public and private sectors in this region of the country is showing trend like that of epidemics.

Data collected by ‘The News’ on Sunday has revealed that Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) along with other hospitals in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi are receiving heavy influx of child patients with RTIs.

On average, PIMS Children Hospital is receiving 350 to 450 patients daily with RTIs including cough, flue, sneezing, asthma and dyspnoea (difficulty in breathing) due to cold weather and the number of child patients with lower respiratory tract infections including pneumonia is also on the rise.

The paediatrics outpatient department is receiving a total of 700 to 900 child patients per day on average of which 400 to 500 patients report at medicine department. Of these, 50 to 70 per cent are with RTIs including five to 10 per cent with lower respiratory tract infections including pneumonia, said Deputy Director at PIMS Dr. Waseem Ahmed Khawaja while talking to ‘The News’.

He, however, added that not all of these patients require admission to the hospital and most of the cases reported are with mild to moderate illness. Daily more than 100 children are nebulised in the emergency department, he added.

He said well over 4200 child patients are seen in children emergency department in last one week showing significantly a heavy burden of patients with RTIs due to extreme cold. The PIMS children hospital received a total of 4002 child patients at its OPD in last one week of which over 1800 patients were with RTIs, he said.

However, well over 80 per cent of the total child patients reported with respiratory tract infections at the PIMS are with upper RTIs like colds, flu, sore throat and cough, he said. Lack of awareness among parents on how to avoid RTIs is one of the most important factors behind spread of RTIs. RTIs can be avoided in majority of cases by following proper preventive measures, he said.

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