COVID-19 and Asthma: Can we breathe easy?

Parent and child wearing masks outdoors

A question we have been getting frequently is how concerned parents should be about children with asthma when it comes to COVID-19 risk. I have these questions myself, as a patient with asthma and a parent of three children who also have it.

Traditionally when it comes to respiratory illnesses, we consider having asthma a risk factor for worse disease and more complications. This is especially true for influenza; children with asthma who get influenza are more likely to develop pneumonia or be hospitalized. Even without data, it makes intuitive sense!

As we have seen time and time again, COVID-19 doesn’t always make sense. That is particularly true for people with asthma. Initial studies do not show asthma as a risk factor for COVID-19. Currently, the OHA does not even list asthma as an underlying health condition with increased risk. More research is needed, and the more we learn, it can change what we thought we knew. So stay tuned for more research, but for now those of us with asthma in our family members can breathe a little easier.

This good news does not apply to all lung conditions, however. COPD is associated with worse COVID-19 outcomes, as is smoking and vaping. Moderate to severe asthma continues to be listed as a possible risk factor on CDC website.

What should you be doing if you or your child has asthma? First of all, take a deep breath and relax! Enjoy the good news; we can certainly use it! Next, make sure you continue to manage asthma well. Follow these steps:

  • Continue daily preventive medications for asthma.
  • Be sure you have up to date rescue inhalers on hand, including one for school if your child is going back.
  • Your child needs to have a spacer at home and at school.
  • Follow your Asthma Action Plan. Don’t have one? Call us!