Low temperature associated with low air humidity always has the same result: crowded health centers. This year, however, the emergency units in the capital of Minas Gerais increased the number of assistance by 72%, compared to last year. In 2022, between January and August, there were 424 thousand consultations against 246 thousand made in 2021, according to data released by the Municipal Health Department (SMSA).
And when it comes to pediatric care, the situation gets worse. In Belo Horizonte, there are not enough doctors to care for the little ones. Mothers and fathers have to deal with long lines and often a lack of medical care. That’s what happened to Gabriel’s mother, 7 months old, Ludmylla Cristina Mendes.
“I went with him to the health clinic in Cabana, and the girl told me that she didn’t have a pediatrician to see him. In that case, I would have to come to UPA (Emergency Care Unit) West. We arrived here at the UPA, but so far nothing. It’s hard,” he says after more than two hours of waiting.
According to the woman, for 25 days her son has been having a lot of difficulty breathing. “He has the flu, his nose is running, he hasn’t eaten, and now he’s started vomiting, spewing out the phlegm. People are worried, right? Since the age of five months, he has not been followed up due to the lack of a doctor, but how do I keep the boy feeling sick at home?”, she asks.
Cashier Jessica Dandara da Silva, 31, faces the same difficulty. She makes a real “via crucis” until she gets medical care for her one-year-old and seven-month-old daughter. Then I go to the UPA, which doesn’t have one either. So, it’s only at the João Paulo II Center, where she is treated. I’ve waited 2, 3, even 5 hours for an appointment,” she says.
However, when care does not take place, the woman manages as best she can. “I give her medicine that I have at home. I manage as I can. Today I’m going to try an appointment and an antibiotic for her, since the fever started on Monday. I think it must be an infection”, she supposes.
Since 2020, the number of visits to health centers in the capital has increased. In 2020, from January to August, there were 176 thousand consultations. In the following year, the total grew by 39% (246 thousand). For the director of Health Promotion and Epidemiological Surveillance at SMSA, Paulo Roberto Lopes Corrêa, part of this increase is due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We had an increase in the number of calls, mainly due to the transmission of the coronavirus. This year we had more transmission, but we also did more tests and had more positive results, which overestimated that number. But it is worth remembering that we have other viruses circulating throughout the year, such as influenza, adenovirus, respiratory syncytial virus. Also, given the seasonality of winter, there is even greater transmission,” he explains.
Sneezing, coughing, pain, fever… What to do?
The most common respiratory diseases recorded in medical care in the capital, according to the Municipal Health Department, were acute nasopharyngitis, acute laryngitis and tracheitis, acute upper airway infections, influenza, viral pneumonia, bacterial pneumonia, pneumonia due to other microorganisms, bronchitis and bronchiolitis. “Every disease in children, we consider the possibility of being more serious. Sometimes, in an adult, a cold manifests itself in a mild way, while in children the condition can get much worse, especially in those who already have some pre-existing diseases, such as asthma, bronchitis or heart disease”, she says.
From the weather forecast, dry weather and air humidity below 30% should continue in the capital, at least until next Monday (12), according to the Civil Defense of the Municipality. The recommendation of the body and the director of Health Promotion and Epidemiological Surveillance of SMSA, Paulo Roberto Lopes Corrêa, is to redouble attention.
“You have to keep hydrated, especially for children and the elderly, who also suffer a lot from the dryness of the weather. Avoid sun exposure and, above all, vaccinate against viruses that cause respiratory diseases”, he guides.
Vaccination coverage by SMSA
Vaccination is the best option to prevent the transmission and contamination of viruses. In the case of Influenza, an infectious disease that mainly affects the nose, throat, bronchi and, occasionally, the lungs, SMSA offers the vaccine annually during the campaign. As for vaccines to prevent pneumonia, the folder offers pneumococcal immunization 10 in the vaccination routine of the 152 Health Centers in Belo Horizonte. The pneumo 23 vaccine, also available against pneumonia, is administered at the Special Immunobiological Reference Center.
SMSA also offers the application of the 13-valent pneumo vaccine, which protects against 13 types of pneumococcus, which cause pneumonia and other infections, such as meningitis and otitis. The vaccine is recommended for patients living with HIV/AIDS, transplant recipients and cancer patients from 5 years of age.
Civil Defense Guidelines
– Hydrate during the day;
– Prefer light and fresh foods, such as salads, fruits, grilled meats;
– Avoid fried foods;
– Sleep in an airy place, moistened by humidifiers, or put a basin with water;
– Avoid physical activities outdoors and exposure to the sun between 10 am and 5 pm;
– Avoid baths with very hot water, so as not to potentiate the drying of the skin, if necessary use moisturizer;
– In case of respiratory problems, look for a specialist;
– In case of forest or forest fire, immediately notify the Fire Department (193), Civil Defense (199) or Military Police (190).
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