It is normal to have lots of questions about COVID-19 and about how to keep your child with asthma healthy during this pandemic. Learn tips to keep your child as healthy possible throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you have questions or concerns, call your child’s health care team at any time.

If My Child Has Asthma, Are They More Likely to Develop a Severe Case of COVID-19?

Children, whether they have asthma or not, are less likely than adults to develop a severe case of COVID-19. Only 2-5 out of every 100 patients admitted to hospitals have been children. COVID-19 may not trigger asthma symptoms as severely as other respiratory diseases, like the flu or the common cold.

Should I Change My Child's Asthma Medications?

Whether you should change your child’s asthma medications depends on many factors. If you are not sure, contact your child’s health care team to find out whether your child’s asthma medications need to be adjusted. Unless the health care team says otherwise, your child should continue to take their asthma medications as prescribed to keep their asthma from flaring.

  • If your child is having symptoms of asthma, your doctor may recommend a change in your child’s medication to get their asthma under control.
  • If your child has been symptom-free but takes high doses of some medications (such as inhaled steroids), your doctor may suggest lowering the daily dose.

My Child Uses a Nebulizer. Should They Continue to Use It?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, ask your child’s health care team if your child should temporarily use an inhaler with a spacer instead of a nebulizer. If someone has a viral illness (like COVID-19), the mist from nebulizers may increase the spread of virus to others nearby.

If your child has COVID-19 and must use a nebulizer, others should stay out of the room or wear protective equipment (PPE), including a mask. Ask your child’s health care team how to protect others in your household while your child uses their nebulizer.

Two children demonstrating how to use an inhaler with a spacer and a mask.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, your child's care team may recommend using an inhaler with a spacer instead of a nebulizer. Spacers come both with and without masks, as shown in these photos. Your care team can help you determine which type of spacer is better for your child.

 

How Do I Know If My Child Needs to See a Doctor?

If your child is sick, your doctor’s office can tell you if they should be seen by a doctor. They can also tell you whether a telemedicine (virtual) visit by phone or video would be best.

Your child should see a doctor right away if they have trouble breathing. Signs of trouble breathing include:

  • Retractions (sinking in of the skin between the ribs and in the neck)
  • Flaring of the nostrils
  • Blue color around the lips

How Else Can I Help Protect My Child?

  • Avoid crowds when possible.
  • When going to the grocery store or other public places, wear a mask and stay at least 6 feet away from others outside your home.
  • Clean hands frequently, especially after touching surfaces outside your home.
  • Help your child get enough sleep. This can help your child’s immune system (system in the body that fights germs and infections) work at its best.
  • Ask the care team if your child should take a vitamin D supplement. Vitamin D can also help your child’s immune system work well, but always check with your child’s health care team before giving your child any supplements.
  • If you have other questions about COVID-19 and asthma, please do not hesitate to call the MGHfC Division of Pediatric Pulmonary, Sleep and Cystic Fibrosis at 617-726-8707. We are here to help!

    Rev. 5/2020. Images courtesy of MGHfC Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine. MassGeneral Hospital for Children and Massachusetts General Hospital do not endorse any of the brands listed on this handout. This handout is intended to provide health information so that you can be better informed. It is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to treatment of any medical conditions.