Dr Mark Rosenthal


Consultant in Paediatric Respiratory Medicine

also specialist in Food Allergies & Disorders of Sleep

A | A | A

T: 0207 351 8754

E: s.harvey@rbht.nhs.uk

A:The Royal Brompton Hospital, London, SW3 6NP

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The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions have had a dramatic impact on all of us. By this time we’re all familiar with the guidance on washing hands, wearing masks and social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 but coping with lockdown can still be tough, especially if your child has a respiratory condition like asthma. However COVID-19 has not so far been a trigger for asthma in children.


Coping with Anxiety

Both parents and children have endured a lot of stress and anxiety over the last year. We’ve worried about catching COVID-19 and dealt with enormous changes in our daily lives, especially during lockdowns. Stress can sometimes trigger or worsen asthma symptoms so it is important to find ways to manage it. Explaining the situation to your child in an age-appropriate manner is vital as half-heard news stories and rumours from school could make things sound a lot worse. You should also set aside time to ask your child how they’re doing and listen to their questions or concerns. Planning some fun or relaxing activities together can also help you all to de-stress.

Exercise During Lockdown

Exercise can be a trigger for asthma in children, but it is still an essential part of keeping healthy. You should encourage your child to stay active during lockdown as long as their asthma is under control. Getting regular exercise can help to improve lung function as well as boosting your child’s mood and giving them something fun to do. Joining an online PE class is a great way to stay active at home, but other activities such as dancing, skipping, ball games, or building obstacle courses in the garden can all be enjoyed during lockdown. If you’re able to take your daily exercise outdoors then you could go for a walk or bike ride together. The best place to exercise will be a nearby green area. It’s best to avoid areas with lots of people where you can’t keep your distance. You should also try to exercise away from busy roads or traffic as air pollution can trigger asthma in children. If your child’s asthma is severe or symptoms are triggered by exercise then you should talk to your doctor about how to do it safely.

Get Help When You Need It

Sticking to your child’s asthma action plan and continuing to take any medication your doctor has prescribed can help keep the symptoms under control. However, if anything does change or the symptoms become severe, it is vital to seek help. You can arrange an online consultation with your respiratory specialist to discuss your child’s asthma. You can also access emergency services at A&E or by calling 999 if your child has an asthma attack. Although many parents feel reluctant about going to hospital during lockdown, asthma attacks can be very serious or even life-threatening. Don’t delay seeking help because you’re worried about COVID-19. All possible precautions are being taken by healthcare workers to prevent infections and the risks of delaying seeking help for an asthma attack are much greater.

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