It’s hard to believe that summer is ending and cold & flu season is just around the corner. It’s not clear what that will look like this year in the middle of social distancing and mask-wearing. Whatever ends up happening, we want you to be prepared.
We wanted to give families with children who are asthmatics and use nebulizers for inhaled medications an important update before the “wheezing season” begins. Current data shows that nebulizers aerosolize (spread all over the room, enhancing disease transmission) coronavirus particles when used by someone who is infected with COVID 19. Remember that infected individuals do not always exhibit symptoms. As such, we are recommending that nebulizers not be used this Fall & Winter. In the event a nebulized medication is required during an emergency situation, it should be used in an isolated room with doors closed. Afterward, that room should be empty for at least one hour and then thoroughly cleaned. We recommend that until coronavirus is under control (too early to say when that will be), you substitute a metered-dose inhaler and spacer for inhaled medication delivery. Some families already have both devices and need to do nothing other than store the nebulizer away so no one uses it by mistake. If your child currently does not have an MDI/spacer, please call your doctor in the coming few weeks to learn about the specific options and recommendations for your family. Metered-dose inhalers require some brief teaching, so a short visit in person or by telehealth may be needed if you do not already have an appointment coming up.
Similarly, if you do need to come to our offices for a respiratory illness, Main Street Pediatrics will NOT be administering nebulized medication. We ask ALL ASTHMATICS to bring their albuterol inhalers and spacers with them to any respiratory sick visit. (In that way, we can use YOUR inhaler rather than any other for your child.)
And, as always, remember that getting an influenza vaccine (“The Flu Shot”) will also further protect the health of those who need inhaled medications. And, it is a public health bonus that it may prevent you and your child from needing to make a sick visit to a medical facility during the upcoming “respiratory virus season.”