Influenza and COVID-19 outbreaks collapse hospital emergencies before they reach epidemic peaks

Acute respiratory infections, particularly influenza A, are making a comeback and are causing Emergency patients came like an avalanchean increase of 35% from a year ago, and this proportion is expected to continue to rise until the epidemic reaches its peak in the third week of January.

This emergency-filled photo is repeated across SpainPascual Piñera, first vice president of the Spanish Society of Emergency Medicine (SEMES), emphasized in an interview with EFE that 10% of these patients end up hospitalized, and insufficient beds have become the primary problem facing hospitals. Faced with the problem of “they have no place to house patients”.

“It’s not a problem with the template, it’s a problem with the bed.”

“It is not a problem of staff, although they must be renewed, but of beds,” said the professional, director of the emergency department at Murcia’s Reina Sofia University Hospital, detailing the situation Profile of these patients This ranges from “young people with flu pathology who go to the emergency room because health centers postponed appointments, to people over 80 who develop pneumonia from the flu and end up hospitalized, some of whom die.”

Not enough beds, even extra bedsThe situation was also reported by the Union of Red Workers at the University Hospital of La Paz in Madrid, which noted that this was not only due to influenza, a “completely known and predictable seasonal pattern” but also due to “the prevalence of influenza “. Madrid’s public health system deteriorates. ” According to the union, at this hospital, There are 105 patients waiting to be admitted, with beds located in corridors and double rows“If the patient’s condition deteriorates or a fire breaks out, evacuation is not possible”

Class resumption reaches another epidemic peak

Piñera explained:Now, the consequences of Christmas Eve social interactions are being feltYou will see the results after 7 days Lunar New Year’s eve The third week of January is the worst peak of the epidemic after the Three Kings holiday and the return of schools and universities. “

However, this situation repeats itself every year. Francisco Sanz, pulmonologist and secretary of the Executive Committee of the Spanish Society of Pneumology and Thoracic Surgery (Separ) in the field of infection, These epidemic peaks usually occur in late December and early January They last until mid-February. It’s only during the pandemic that this has been interrupted, with quarantines and masks acting as barriers.

Sands emphasized A ‘significant flu’ is one that causes decompensation of the underlying diseasethat is, affects the elderly and people with risk factors, which is why they insist on vaccination.

Reasons: Lack of vaccination, non-use of masks

The reasons for this sharp rebound must be looked at, among other things: vaccine. If our nation’s Covid-19 campaign is an example, when it comes to flu vaccinations, We are well below WHO recommendations, when the target is 75%, the proportion hovers around 50% of the at-risk population.and The rate is even lower for children under five.. Amós García Rojas of the Vaccinology Association recognizes that after several years without influenza, society has relaxed.

Francisco Sanz remembers Vaccination campaign not over yet (which started on October 15 and ended on January 31) also failed to achieve the necessary goal of making the flu milder.

According to the Ministry of Health, the target for seasonal influenza and covid-19 vaccination in 2023-2024 is vaccination coverage of 75% or more for the elderly, health and social care workers, and 60% or more for pregnant women Women and people with dangerous conditions.

exactly Flu vaccine not as effective as immunization against covid-19 This affects more people with the disease, even if it is mild.

Sanz issued a message in Separ in support of vaccination, as there is still time, and appealed to people over 60 and those with risk factors, as well as those recommended to use masks in closed or poorly ventilated settings.

Marciano Sánchez Bayle, spokesman for the Federation of Associations for the Defense of Public Health (FADSP), believes Increase in flu linked to decrease in mask use“It’s a good barrier system to avoid explosive contagion,” and people’s immunity declines over time.

Medical center jammed with late appointments

Acute respiratory infections not only put pressure on hospital emergency departments, There are also primary health centers.

The FADSP spokesperson recalled that primary care It was not reinforced, causing “significant traffic jams” In assistive devices, “The appointment is scheduled for a late date.”

Sánchez Bayle gave the example of the Autonomous Region of Madrid, where he knew appointments for January 20 were booked in December, “which ultimately led to a lack of traffic in emergency rooms and further clogged an already saturated system.”

he insisted Flu can be treated at health centers and regrets that the government has not fulfilled its commitment to strengthen first-level care. “They forget that it’s an irresponsible attitude,” he stressed.

Valencian Community Measures

The situation is more complicated than Galicia, Madrid or Catalonia. The Valencian community is also one of the worst affected. It has just approved a series of measures to deal with the backlash:

  • Reschedule surgical activities Free up nursing and staff space in the hospital.
  • Enhance home care to avoid new outbreaks.
  • design a framework public-private partnership In case it is necessary to avoid nursing stress.
  • he will strengthen template.

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