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How Those With Asthma Should Prepare For Flu Season Amidst A Pandemic

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NIAID (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Respiratory illnesses are always especially concerning for those with asthma.

While there is a lot experts are still learning about the specific effects of COVID-19 on asthmatics, pediatric pulmonary medicine expert Dr. Kavita Patel of Texas Children’s Specialty Care said, anecdotally, experiences have varied widely.

“Some children are actually faring quite well in spite of having asthma and others have had a more dramatic course,” Dr. Patel said. “Some children have needed to be hospitalized for a short period of time. And I think that is largely based on the severity, potentially, of their symptoms and the quality of their asthma control at the time of infection.”

That’s why Patel’s advice is to get asthma as under control as possible right now. That means following an asthma action plan from your doctor and adhering to a schedule if you’ve been prescribed long-term medication.

“It can be difficult for busy families to do that, but really trying to come up with ways to remind yourself when a dose is due,” Patel said.

She said it’s also important to make sure you’re using the correct technique to take inhaled medications.

“Because poor technique could result in less medication throughout the lower airways, which is where it's needed the most,” Patel said.

Patel said many pediatricians and pulmonologists are “a little nervous this year” because they are anticipating seeing patients with symptoms that could be either the seasonal flu or the coronavirus.

“While there's a lot of media focus on vaccine development for COVID-19. We should remember is that there is already a safe vaccine available for the influenza virus. And getting a flu shot is the best tool that we have right now to protect our children and ourselves from getting the flu,” Patel said.

Patel said the inactivated flu virus that is part of a shot will not inflame respiratory symptoms for those with asthma.

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