The prevalence of asthma in children in Europe is an average of 10.3%.
The role of asthma as a risk factor for COVID-19 in children is unknown.
Our aim was to study the prevalence of asthma in children with
SARS-CoV-2 infection and to compare them in hospitalized children and
those with mild ambulatory symptoms. We conducted an observational
retrospective study in 99 children (between 3- 17 years of age) with a
confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection between March and December 2020. The
existence of a history of asthma was investigated using the validated
ISAAC questionnaire and clinical data on COVID-19 were compiled. The
median age was 10 years (IQR=13-5), and 60/99 (60.6%) patients had mild
infections controlled as outpatient, while 39/99 (39.4%) required
admission. The prevalence of asthma ─affirmative response to question 6
of the ISAAC questionnaire─ was 11.1% (11/99). The prevalence of asthma
in children who required admission increased to 17.9% and to 21.4% in
patients requiring PICU, while in outpatients children was 6.7%
(p=0.079). We found a significant association between the use of
salbutamol during the last year and the need for admission (23.1% in
hospitalized patients vs 3.3% in outpatients; OR= 8.7, 95%CI
1.7-42.8). Likewise, budesonide treatment in the last year (17.9% vs
1.7%, OR= 12.9, 95%CI 1.5-109.5) was also a risk factor for admission.
Therefore, a history of asthma was not a risk factor for SARS-CoV-2
infection in our series, but active asthma could be a risk factor for
severity and need for hospitalization for COVID-19 in children