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October 22, 2013

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Kids’ illnesses soar as temperatures fall

A DROP in temperatures last week coincided with a 25 percent rise in the number of children seen by city hospitals, officials said yesterday.

Respiratory tract infections, diarrhea and allergies are among the commonest conditions being reported, said local children’s hospitals.

Temperatures plunged from 28 degrees Celsius on October 13 to just 20 degrees on the following days.

Many people believe sudden changes in temperature increase susceptibility to bugs, especially among more vulnerable groups such as children.

“We’ve had a daily average of 4,200 to 4,300 children for outpatient and emergency treatment recently — about 25 to 27 percent up from the usual figure,” said Xia Lin, an official at Shanghai Children’s Medical Center.

Some parents have complained that although the hospitals are busy, they are only prescribing intravenous drips in single-day doses.

Parents returning the next day must once more queue for registration, again see a doctor and once more buy medication. Only then can they get the new drip attached by hospital staff.

But hospital officials said local children’s hospitals have followed this practice for several years for the sake of children’s health.

It is also in line with the international practice, they add.

Dr Bao Yixiao from Xinhua Hospital said the hospital introduced the one-day supply rule in 2010.

Experts say that as children usually have an acute outbreak of a disease and their condition changes more quickly than it would in an adult, an in-time change of prescription is better.

Special storage

Also, intravenous injections need special storage, such as refrigeration, to ensure safety.

“Some parents may fail to store the medicine properly, resulting in a possible risk to a child’s health,” said Xia.

“Under current practice, parents don’t have contact with the intravenous injection medicine,” she said.

“The prescribed medicine is directly distributed by the drugstore in the hospital to injection center,” Xia told Shanghai Daily.

Shanghai Children’s Medical Center recently prescribed about 1,000 doses of intravenous injections in a day, of which  at least 70 percent were antibiotics.



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