The bronchiolitis epidemic is back, how to recognize the warning signs

Four French regions are already affected by the return of bronchiolitis, a viral respiratory infection that affects the youngest every year.

BRONCHIOLITIS – Bronchiolitis is back, and earlier than a few years. The epidemic is already underway in four French regions and should soon appear in ten others, according to the weekly report of the French public health agency published on Wednesday, October 12.

The latter found one “continued increase in surveillance indicators for bronchiolitis in children under 2 years of age”. Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, Brittany, Centre-Val de Loire, Grand-Est, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Martinique, Pays de la Loire and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur are being considered in an initial phase.

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Public Health France

Bronchiolitis is a viral respiratory infection that affects the small bronchi. It is characterized by difficulty breathing, the signs of which are coughing and wheezing and rapid breathing according to the definitions of the bronchiolitis network Île-de-France and the Health Insurance. It is generally mild but still affects 30% of children aged 1 month to 2 years each year.

Breathing faster than normal

Given the number of emergency room visits on the rise, how can you recognize the warning signs of this disease? How to distinguish it from a cold, nasopharyngitis or a simple cough?

“Little by little, a dry cough appears. Then comes respiratory distress, resulting in rapid, wheezing breathing. At this stage of the disease, the child may have difficulty eating.we can read on Social Security’s website.

The French Association of Ambulatory Pediatrics (AFPA) lists on its website mpedia the following characters:

“Monitoring your baby is very important,” AFPA notes. However, it should be noted that this year “the pediatric emergencies are already saturated”, warns Christèle Gras Le Guen, president of the French Society of Pediatrics, contacted by 20 minutes. “Given the saturation of emergency situations, families are only allowed to come when medically indicated or for babies under 3 months old”she continues.

And if you have to stop working to care for your sick child, you can benefit from dedicated days off.

Early epidemic

The number of hospitalizations is thus higher than what is usually observed at the beginning of October, confirming the scenario of a previous epidemic for the second year in a row.

Usually, the bronchiolitis epidemic follows the same seasonal pattern from one year to the next: it starts between the end of October and the middle of November, reaching a peak in December, ending at the end of January or even the end of February.

But this temporality has been affected since Covid in many countries.

The 2020–2021 epidemic was much later, starting in mid-February 2021, and had a smaller impact than usual.

Conversely, the 2021-2022 epidemic was earlier, in a context with the end of the confinements linked to the start of Covid: it started at the beginning of October and had a greater impact on the whole season than usual.

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