The below is an alert from American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). Read more in The Washington Post and in The New York Times.
ACAAI Expert Alert:
What parents of kids with asthma need to know about enterovirus 68
Parents of children who suffer from asthma and allergies have every reason to be concerned about enterovirus 68, the virus that has hospitalized hundreds of kids across the county. Although symptoms start out like a common cold, they can move to severe respiratory symptoms such as wheezing and difficulty breathing. Since kids who suffer from asthma are already vulnerable to respiratory symptoms, parents need to be especially vigilant.
The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) advises parents of children with asthma or allergies to keep a close eye on their child’s symptoms.
“If your child seems to be struggling to breathe and their normal asthma medications aren’t working, get him or her to the emergency department as quickly as possible,” says allergist Bradley Chipps, MD, spokesperson for ACAAI. “The most important thing is for every child with asthma to have a personalized asthma action plan, created with his or her allergist. An asthma plan helps quickly identify when a child is suffering more than usual and needs immediate, emergency attention.”
Tips from ACAAI on managing asthma in children include:
• Teach your child age-appropriate self-care.
• Be sure you and your child are using the asthma medications exactly the way the allergist prescribed and are using the inhaler properly.
• If the allergist has suggested using a peak flow meter and diary to assess your child’s level of asthma, be sure they are being used properly.
• Make sure your child is following his or her asthma action plan. Most plans are created using a stoplight system – green means your medications are working and your asthma is under control. Yellow means you’re experiencing symptoms and need to follow the steps outlined, including the use of your quick-relief medicine to keep your asthma from getting worse. If you are in the red zone, you are experiencing severe asthma symptoms or an asthma flare-up and need to get immediate medical attention.
Adults are also at risk however, according to Dr Chipps, “…children under 6 tend to have more significant exacerbations.”