Bronchiolitis: faced with the wave of hospitalizations, physiotherapists ready to lend a hand

Yasmina Kattou, edited by Laura Laplaud

The lack of staff is lacking in hospitals in the face of the bronchiolitis epidemic which continues to spread over the territory. Faced with this wave of hospitalizations, physiotherapists remind us that they can lend a hand. But few parents cross their door in case of bronchiolitis. Why ?

The situation in the emergency, hospitalization and intensive care units of pediatric hospitals has reached a critical level. In an extremely worrying context of an epidemic outbreak of bronchiolitis, physiotherapists recall that they can lend a hand and support congested emergency services. But since an opinion from the High Authority for Health (HAS) in 2019, not recommending respiratory physiotherapy in children, few parents consult for bronchiolitis.

In the absence of data, health authorities no longer recommend respiratory physiotherapy for children

The benefit of respiratory physiotherapy to relieve the bronchial tubes of children suffering from bronchiolitis has not been proven. It is therefore in the absence of data to date that the health authorities no longer recommend the practice for children. But consulting a physiotherapist in case of bronchiolitis is possible for the follow-up of the child.

“We are quite capable of identifying signs of seriousness”

This would relieve congestion in emergencies, says Pascale Matthieu, president of the order of physiotherapists. “The physiotherapist examines the child, asks his parents to find out what is the state of his stools, has he vomited, and then, we assess his degree of congestion in the nose. We can blow our nose, teach parents to blow their nose. We are quite capable of identifying signs of seriousness which would then require going to an emergency service or consulting the general practitioner again”, she explains.

According to a study which analyzed previous bronchiolitis epidemics in New Aquitaine, respiratory physiotherapy would reduce visits to pediatric emergencies by 13% at the Bordeaux University Hospital.

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