The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has provided guidance to pediatricians’ offices, urgent care centers, and hospitals dealing with the influx of pediatric patients.
Respiratory infections have increased among the pediatric population in the United States. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is one of these infectious diseases, and children are at high risk of complications after infection. The AAP published a set of guidelines on preventing RSV, along with managing the increase in infected pediatric patients.
The current surge has been compounded by an ongoing youth mental health crisis, prompting the AAP to offer guidance to help prevent disruptions in the ongoing physical and mental health care of children in inpatient settings. hospitalized and ambulatory.
Special attention was paid to children with special health care needs, including those with medical complexity, who often bear the brunt of surges. The current increase includes influenza, COVID-19, and RSV, along with growing mental health concerns.
To prevent RSV infections, the AAP recommends that infants in regions with high RSV circulation receive more than 5 doses of palivizumab if eligible. RSV’s 2022 to 2023 season started earlier than usual and will last longer than previous seasons. Palivizumab can be given to eligible infants during the RSV season to prevent serious lung infection.
RSV can also be prevented by avoiding large groups, infected people, and smoking, as well as frequent and thorough handwashing. There are currently two medications available to cure RSV.
According to Sean O’Leary, MD, MPH, FAAP, chair of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases, RSV and other respiratory illnesses can be safely managed at home, and most children recover without outside help. When children have difficulty breathing, O’Leary told parents to call their pediatrician immediately.
O’Leary also recommended that families get vaccinated against influenza and COVID-19, as this will prevent most cases of serious infection and hospitalization.
For additional guidance, the AAP stated that routine pediatric care, chronic disease management, and immunizations should not be delayed. Medical personnel treating adults may also be trained to treat younger patients.
The AAP also noted that during a surge, children should only be referred to hospitals for serious illnesses or associated medical conditions. This will prevent hospitals from becoming overloaded, making wait times manageable.
The American Academy of Pediatrics offers guidance on RSV prophylaxis and management of the surge in pediatric patients with respiratory infections. American Academy of Pediatrics. November 18, 2022. Accessed November 22, 2022. https://www.aap.org/en/news-room/news-releases/aap/2022/american-academy-of-pediatrics-offers-guidance- on-rsv -management-prophylaxis-over-waves-of-pediatric-patients-with-respiratory-infections/