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COVID-19 worsens asthma in children

05/04 - Asthma in children may worsen after an infection with the coronavirus, doctors warn.

They studied nearly 62,000 U.S. children with asthma who had PCR tests for the virus in the first year of the pandemic, including more than 7,700 who tested positive. Infected children had significantly more asthma visits, hospitalizations, emergency inhaler use, and steroid treatments during the six months after their illness compared to children who tested negative and to their own prior history, researchers reported in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice.

Children who tested negative for the virus "had improved asthma control for the next six months, meaning fewer emergency department visits and hospitalizations for asthma, and less asthma treatment," said Dr. Christine Chou of Children's Health of Orange County, in California.

Results of earlier studies showing improvement in asthma control in the early part of the pandemic were likely due to public health measures like staying home and masking, which curbed exposure to asthma triggers, Chou said. Despite the overall impression that children with asthma did well during the first year of the pandemic, she added, the new study shows "longer lasting harm of COVID on children's asthma control."

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