Lower Respiratory Tract Infection Account for a Big Percentage of ER Visits

Lower respiratory tract infections which make up a large percentage of infectious diseases are ranked as among the main reasons people visit the emergency rooms(ER), latest study shows.

The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society recently made public a report about the prevalence of infectious diseases and the impact they had in the ER. According to the report, 13.5% of the people visiting the emergency room were affected by infectious diseases; however, what was the main concern is that lower respiratory tract infection was the leading ailments in this category.

Infections on the lower respiratory tract affect the bottom section of the respiratory system which constitutes of lung tissue and small airways. This section is where oxygen gets mixed up with blood and the waste air (carbon dioxide) gets expelled. At some point, bacteria or viruses can infiltrate the region leading to an infection or inflammation either because of overgrowth of helpful bacteria or entry of unwanted viruses, bacteria, or parasites.

Lower Respiratory Tract InfectionGoing by the report contained in the American Geriatrics Society journal ER visits due to such infections were much higher than those attributed to congestive heart failure or heart attack. The study further indicates that these infections are more easily passed from one person to another via shaking hands contrary to the common belief that they are mainly spread through coughing and sneezing.

During the study, researchers centered on about 134 million visits to the ER while targeting individuals aged 65 years and above since they were the most prone to the infections. Revelations from the experiment showed that lower respiratory tract infections accounted for 26% of the visits to the emergency room with pneumonia taking the lead at 17.5%. Older people were more susceptible to the infections and formed the largest percentage of patients especially those of 85 plus years.

The study was triggered by the rising cases of infectious diseases with main focusing being on the lower respiratory tract region and how often the patients visited the ER. By analysis the data, researchers hope to understand the impact of these infections in older people and also the cost associated with treating the diseases.

After the analysis the researchers concluded that infections affecting the lower respiratory tract were common as shown by the numerous visits to the ER as well as hospitalization. Though it affected any person, the most distressed were the older individuals who are aged more than 65 years. They also noted that the ER visits and hospitalization could be reduced if people took vaccination for instance pneumococcal vaccine or influenza vaccine seriously.