The coronavirus pandemic has had many unexpected consequences in our society. Even now, 6 months after its appearance, we continue to find particular effects and changes originating as a reaction to the virus crisis.

In this case, the information comes to us from a publication by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) in the journal JACI in Practice. The study of this hospital emphasizes childhood asthma and how its incidence has varied during the COVID-19 era.

Currently, at least 235 million people are affected by it. Likewise, it is usually the most common chronic disease in children, so a good percentage of these are affected.

During the pandemic, researchers expected to see increases in their average of 6,000 patients a year who visited the emergency room for this condition. However, the results did not go as planned.

An unexpected result

Contrary to popular belief, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic marked a decrease in the number of childhood visitors to the emergency room for asthmatic conditions. This implied that emergency services were less required in recent months.

A detail that is more impressive is that, in the United States, the beginning of spring indicates high amounts of pollen in the environment that usually aggravate asthmatic symptoms. This time, amid measures of social distancing and quarantine, the usual increase in cases has not occurred.

A 76% reduction

According to their records, the reduction in the use of emergency services reached 76%. In order to reach this conclusion, the scientists compared the records from 2015 to 2019 and also those from the first months of 2020 (when there were still no restrictions) with the last 4 months (in which they have been active).

On average, in the last 4 years and the first 2 months of 2020, visits for childhood asthma symptoms were at least 24 individuals per day. Once the social distancing measures were put in place, this number dropped to 6 cases a day.

Likewise, the internal cases of hospitalizations decreased, leaving these to represent 31% of the visitors to rank as the situation of 22% of these. This information has helped CHOP researchers notice that the decrease in cases is not only because people prefer not to go quarantined or not to be in a hospital, but, in general, the number and severity of cases of childhood asthma decreased.

Knowledge for the future

With this information, the researchers lay the groundwork for future studies. His research has shown that current conditions in the pandemic, with measures of social distancing, somehow positively influence the decrease in asthma symptoms in children.

Therefore, further study of these influencing elements in order to identify them could be the best way to develop new tools and treatments to help patients manage asthma in the future, when the pandemic restrictions are lifted.

Reference:

Initial Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Pediatric Asthma Emergency Department Utilization: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaip.2020.05.045