According to the Australian Government Department of Health, the risk to children and babies and the role children play in transmitting COVID-19, is not yet clear. The rate of confirmed Coronavirus cases among children compared to the broader population has so far been low, indicating that children rarely have severe symptoms when infected and may even be a bit less likely to get the disease in the first place.
You know your child best. Good asthma control is key.
- IMPORTANTLY – If viral illness is a trigger for your child’s asthma, take the same precautions you would take at the start of the colds and flu season.
- Make an asthma review appointment with your child’s doctor:
- Discuss your child’s trigger of viral illnesses and their current asthma control
- Discuss the possibility of starting preventer asthma medication, if your child is not on one – their doctor will ask how often and how severe your child’s asthma symptoms are to determine if preventer medication is warranted.
- Ask for a detailed written Asthma Action Plan to be developed and make sure you know how to use it. Ensure everyone who cares for your child is also familiar with the plan and has a copy.
- Have your or your child’s inhaler technique checked by your health professional to ensure they are receiving the right dose of medication to their lungs
- If your child is using a puffer device, ensure you have a spacer to maximise the benefits of the asthma medications and reduce potential side effects. Learn more
- Discuss obtaining the flu vaccination for your whole family this year.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), if your child isn’t displaying any symptoms such as a fever or cough it’s best to keep them in school – unless a public health advisory, other relevant warning or official advice has been issued affecting your child’s school. If they are displaying cold, flu or viral symptoms, follow the relevant self-isolation guides or seek advice from your health professional.
There is a range of telehealth services available including:
- 1800 ASTHMA (1800 278 462) a free service from Asthma Australia for people with asthma and their carers where you can speak to an Asthma Educator about your asthma questions and concerns.
- Coronavirus Health Information Line (1800 020 080) – call this line if you are seeking information on Coronavirus (COVID-19). The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- Health Direct 24 hours a day 7 days a week 1800 022 222 for free health advice.
- Your local GP/New telehealth offering – The Australian Government have invested additional funding to allow doctors, nurses, midwives, and mental health professionals to deliver services via telehealth to allow people to access essential health services in their home while they undergo self-isolation or quarantine, and reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for vulnerable people in the community. This includes people with chronic health conditions or who are immunocompromised; and – parents with new babies and people who are pregnant. View more details
Instead of keeping children out of school, teach them good hand and respiratory hygiene practices for school and elsewhere, like frequent handwashing, covering a cough or sneeze with a flexed elbow or tissue, then throwing away the tissue into a closed bin, and not touching their eyes, mouths or noses if they haven’t properly washed their hands.
We encourage you to make your decision based on your knowledge and judgement of your child’s health and brush up on your Asthma First Aid. Good asthma control is going to be key in these current times.
Additionally, ensure you have a 30-day supply of medication, noting the current purchasing limitations.
Other resources you may find helpful:
- Symptoms of asthma in children
- Diagnosing asthma in children
- Treating asthma in children
- Asthma flare-ups/attacks in children
- How to use a spacer with a facemask
- How to use a metered device inhaler (MDI) and spacer
- Inhaler devices techniques
- Health Direct Australia
- Australian Government Department of Health resources