Help Children Breathe Easier this Winter | MedStar Health

Help Children Breathe Easier This Winter

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Three children dressed in hats and coats stand in the snow.

How does winter weather affect children with asthma?

Winter is a time, undoubtedly, when children tend to get sick.  The weather is cold and being indoors in close quarters tends to allow viruses to spread.  Ultimately, it is viruses that lead to upper and lower airway inflammation and asthma exacerbations.  Children with asthma should take particular care heading out into the cold, making sure to bundle with thick coats, gloves, hats and scarves.

Should children with breathing issues be vaccinated against the flu?

It is prudent that any child older than 6 months of age with an underlying respiratory related disorder, such as asthma, and all household members living with that child, be vaccinated against the flu.  As it does take time for the body to develop immunity against the flu, you should receive the flu vaccine as early as possible.

When should parents consider taking their children to a physician (or specialist)?

Parents should take their child to a specialist when their child has respiratory symptoms that are not well-controlled on the current regimen or are out of proportion to other children their age.  It is important to investigate these respiratory symptoms earlier to avoid delay in treatments and adverse outcomes.

Are there any extra precautions parents should have their children take during the winter months?

Precautions that we can all take during these winter months relate to measures to decrease the spread of viruses and bacteria.  This includes correct cough and sneeze maneuvers - coughing or sneezing into your arm or elbow, proper hand washing for at least 20 seconds, and sanitizing services and objects where viruses and bacteria can lay dormant.

Learn more about our pediatric specialists at MedStar Health Pediatrics.