The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on pediatric emergency admissions and tendency towards prescribing antibiotics
Aim: To determine the changes in the diagnoses of patients admitted to pediatric emergency department due to infection and the change in the tendency towards prescribing antibiotics during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Methods: Age, gender and the diagnoses of and the antibiotics prescribed for patients under the age of 18 who admitted to the pediatric emergency department on two separate days before and during the pandemic period were compared retrospectively.
Results: It was found that the admissions to the pediatric emergency department decreased by 83% during the pandemic period compared to the pre-pandemic period. Upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) was diagnosed in 61.6% of the patients during the pre-pandemic period compared to 32.6% of the patients during the pandemic periods, indicating a statistically significant difference between the groups (p<0.001). The percentage of patients diagnosed with paranasal infection in the pandemic period was also significantly lower than in the pre-pandemic period. On the other hand, the percentages of patients diagnosed with urinary infection and diagnoses other than infection in the pandemic period were significantly higher than in the pre-pandemic period. Additionally, the percentage of patients who were prescribed amoxicillin-clavulanic acid (CAM) was significantly higher, whereas the percentage of patients who were prescribed Clarithromycin was significantly lower in the pandemic period than in the pre-pandemic period. Furthermore, it was determined that Oseltamivir was not prescribed during the pandemic period.
Conclusions: Quarantines imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the use of masks have reduced the incidence of upper and lower respiratory tract infections. In parallel, it was determined that the percentage of patients presented to the pediatric emergency department with the diagnosis of non-infectious diagnoses has increased. This result has been attributed to the use of masks and the attention paid to the hygiene, which caused a decrease in the incidence of infectious diseases, influenza in particular.
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