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COVID-19 and Asthma: What Parents Need to Know

Author: Children's Specialty Group, Dr. Cynthia Kelly
Published Date: Monday, April 27, 2020

By Dr. Cynthia Kelly, Allergy, Asthma and Immunology 

As if COVID-19 worries weren’t enough to deal with, spring also brings an annual rite of wheezing and sneezing for many children who have allergies and asthma.

Is that cough just the usual seasonal symptom or something more ominous?

Health experts have generally seen little to no evidence that asthma increases the risk of developing COVID-19. But viral infections like the flu and milder coronaviruses can trigger asthma episodes, so it’s important to manage these conditions and do all you can to protect your family from COVID-19.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • The most important thing you can do is make sure your child’s asthma is well controlled. None of the asthma medications, including inhaled corticosteroids and biologics, have been shown to increase the risk of getting COVID-19. And none of them have been shown to interfere with COVID-19 treatments.
  • If you think there’s a chance that your child has COVID-19, have your child take asthma medications with an inhaler instead of a nebulizer. Nebulization could increase the release of viral particles from an infected person into the air. If a nebulizer must be used, choose a location that minimizes exposure to members of your household who aren’t infected, like a porch or patio, or in a garage.
  • To date, most cases of COVID-19 in children are mild. Symptoms include fever, dry cough, and shortness of breath. Review this chart from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology if you have questions about the differences in symptoms of COVID-19, allergies, colds, and the flu. Coronavirus typically causes a fever; allergies do not. Allergies also bring itchiness, nasal congestion, and sneezing – symptoms that are less common in COVID-19.
  • Contact your child’s allergist if you have any questions, if your child is having trouble breathing, or their asthma symptoms are becoming more severe.

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About Children's Specialty Group

About Children's  Specialty Group Children's Specialty Group is the only pediatric multi-specialty practice serving southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. The physicians of Children's Specialty Group base their practices at Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters and serve as faculty in the Department of Pediatrics at Eastern Virginia Medical School. Learn more about our specialists here.