Cold and asthma can be dangerous for a child

October 13, 2011 3:11:18 PM PDT
With cold and flu season right around the corner, doctors say now is the best time to take steps to protect your children, especially if your child has asthma.

Many people may not realize it, but even a simple cold combined with asthma can be dangerous, if not deadly for a child. It can be worse with the flu. Last year, flu led to the deaths of 115 children in the U.S, among those, kids with asthma.

Kyle Walsh has asthma, and like millions of others, he quickly learned that exertion during sports isn't the only risk with this condition. Experts say this is the most dangerous time for kids with asthma. Fall means more time around other kids, and more threats from colds and the flu.

Doctor Beth Allen is an asthma specialist. She says kids with asthma already have an immune system that's dealing with one disease, so an assault from a second such as flu can be dangerous.

"30% of the kids who end up in the hospital with flu have asthma. So, they're clearly at increased risk, if they get flu, to get quite ill, not only with their asthma, but also pneumonia," Dr. Allen said.

To help protect kids with asthma this time of year, doctors suggest three steps.

First, get them a flu shot; this will prevent infection if kids are exposed to the flu virus. Take your child for a fall check up to get a good reading on their present condition, and work with your doctor to come up with a written action plan.

There are more than 7-million children in the U.S who have asthma. If your child is one of them, doctors suggest keeping a close eye on them for signs of trouble this fall. While many kids with asthma wheeze during an attack, some only develop a cough. In those cases, the severity of their asthma can easily be overlooked.