July 13, 2024

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Study Shows Low Risk of Severe COVID-19 in Children with Asthma

Study Shows Low Risk of Severe COVID-19 in Children with Asthma



Study Shows Low Risk of Severe COVID-19 in Children with Asthma

Given that children with asthma are prone to respiratory illnesses like the flu, there has been a concern that they might be more susceptible to severe cases of COVID-19.

However, a recent study from Australia suggests that the risk of children with asthma developing severe COVID-19 is not significantly higher compared to children without asthma.

Many chronic conditions such as cancer, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and heart disease are considered risk factors for contracting and potentially complicating the recovery from COVID-19.

Study Shows Low Risk of Severe COVID-19 in Children with Asthma

 

 

Since respiratory infections like the flu often exacerbate asthma symptoms, it was initially presumed that children with asthma might be at higher risk of severe COVID-19. But a large-scale study conducted by researchers at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, challenges this assumption.

The study’s corresponding author, Nusrat Homaira, explained, “Children with asthma are typically more susceptible to respiratory infections like the flu, so it was initially thought that they might be more prone to severe infections from the COVID-19 virus.”

The first author of the study, Meibu Chen, added, “However, our research, based on a large sample of children during multiple waves of the pandemic, suggests that children with asthma do not have a significantly higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 compared to those without asthma.”

Researchers analyzed de-identified data from medical records of 18,932 children under the age of 17 who had tested positive for COVID-19 and had visited the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network between January 2020 and May 2022. Among them, 1,025 children (5.4%) had been diagnosed with asthma.

They compared children with a previous asthma diagnosis to those without asthma in terms of the risk of contracting COVID-19 and the severity of the disease (measured by hospitalization duration, ICU admission, need for mechanical ventilation, and mortality).

Among the 72 children requiring intensive care due to COVID-19, children with asthma had a similar risk of ICU admission during any of the “Alpha,” “Delta,” and “Omicron” pandemic waves. Reportedly, 19 COVID-19 pediatric patients received mechanical ventilation, with only two of them having asthma. During the study period, 11 children died, with only one confirmed COVID-19-related death, and none of the deceased children had asthma.

Homaira said, “We examined various indicators of disease severity, and while children with asthma generally needed longer hospital stays, they did not have a greater risk of COVID-19 severity in terms of ICU admission, mechanical ventilation, or mortality at any stage of the outbreak compared to children without asthma.”

Researchers did find that the length of hospital stay for children with asthma increased by 1.17 days when Omicron became the dominant strain.

In the early stages of the pandemic, the likelihood of children with asthma contracting COVID-19 was lower. However, with the emergence of the Omicron variant, medical professionals observed a higher risk of children with asthma contracting COVID-19 compared to those without asthma.

Researchers emphasize the importance of remaining vigilant, especially when new variants emerge.

Homaira stated, “We need to continue monitoring new variants of COVID-19 and encourage vaccination of children, particularly those with underlying chronic conditions, as we know that vaccination helps reduce the risk of severe respiratory infections.”

This study was published in the “Journal of Asthma and Allergy.”

Study Shows Low Risk of Severe COVID-19 in Children with Asthma

(source:internet, reference only)


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