COVID-19: health measures have protected Montreal children with asthma

COVID-19: Health measures have protected Montreal children with ;asthma


The health measures adopted in 2020 and 2021 to protect the population from COVID-19 had the side effect of halving emergency room visits for children with asthma, found Montreal researchers.  

To arrive at this finding, the researchers compiled all admissions of children for cases of asthma at Sainte-Justine Hospital and at the Children's General Hospital between January 1, 2017 and June 30, 2021. They have accumulated 22,746 visits, including only 3,338 from April 1, 2020, at the start of the pandemic.

These data allowed them to determine that the number of admissions for asthma cases fell by 47% in these two hospitals during the first year and a quarter of the pandemic.

In the eyes of scientists, several factors can explain this change, the first of which is social distancing.

“Public health measures have likely reduced the transmission of other respiratory viruses, which are triggers common asthma attacks”, is it noted in the study published by the “Journal of the Canadian Medical Association”.

“Additionally, a decrease in exposure to air pollution, a trigger for asthma attacks, may also have contributed to the decrease in the number of asthma attacks,” the authors continued, noting that the In particular, the level of pollution had decreased by 10% in Montreal between March and April 2020, when the lives of many citizens were put on hold by the government and telework became widespread.

Researchers also believe that families have better respected the medication protocols for their children with asthma, in order to avoid any risk of ending up in the emergency room in the midst of a pandemic.

Society would do well to take lessons from the measures implemented to better protect children with asthma, believe the researchers.

“Although some measures have been exceptional (such as school closures), others can be easily implemented and are socially acceptable , such as wearing a mask in spaces public when someone is symptomatic to limit the transmission of respiratory viruses. This could lead to a decrease in the number of asthma attacks,” the research authors concluded.