New research suggests that more time spent at home during coronavirus lockdowns may be providing a reprieve from severe asthma symptoms in children.

Boston Children’s Hospital’s emergency department (ED) observed a steep decline in asthma-related emergency visits last spring. That coincided with a surge of coronavirus cases amid a lockdown ordered by Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker on March 24.

“Our most significant finding was the drastic, sudden drop in ED visits shortly after schools closed and the stay-at-home order went into effect,” said study author Dr. Tregony Simoneau, assistant professor of pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital. “How this drop was sustained over several months is quite notable.”

“Viral illnesses are likely the most significant trigger of asthma exacerbations,” noted Dr. David Fagan, vice chair of Pediatric Administration-Ambulatory General Pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y.

“Given the lockdown, with schools closing and families staying home, we witnessed a sudden steep decline in cases of [non-COVID] viral illnesses such as influenza,” Fagan said. “So with decreased transmission of viruses one might expect a decrease in exacerbations.”

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