Introduction: The coronavirus 2019 disease (Covid-19) pandemic led to a number of measures being introduced in many countries worldwide. Lockdowns were imposed on individuals aged <18 years, education was delivered online, and mask-wearing was made compulsory in public places, resulting in an unprecedented period for children. Real-life data showing how children with asthma are affected by major changes are limited. This study investigated how asthmatic children are affected by pandemic conditions based on real-life data.
Methods: Patients with asthma aged 6-18 years followed up from March to May 2019-before the Covid-19 pandemic-were included in the study. Data from March to May 2020 and 2019 were then compared to reveal the effects of pandemic-related lifestyle changes on symptoms, frequency of exacerbations, and drug use in asthmatic children.
Results: Eighty-six children with asthma aged 6-18 years were included in this study. Time spent inside the home was significantly higher in 2020 than in 2019. Rescue medication requirements and emergency department visits were significantly lower in 2020 compared to 2019 (p < 0.001). The number of well-controlled patients with asthma was higher in 2020 than in 2019 (p < 0.0001). The number of patients using prophylactic drugs within the previous 3 months was lower in 2020 compared to 2019 (p = 0.007).
Conclusion: The present study yielded valuable insights, based on real-life data, into the condition of children over the age of 6 years during the Covid-19 pandemic. Numbers of asthmatic exacerbations, rescue drug use, and asthma control were positively affected in school-aged children with asthma during the pandemic.
Keywords: asthma; exacerbation; medication; pandemic.
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