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As COVID cases rise, parents and doctors are concerned about kids with asthma returning to school

Safely Back to School
Posted at 4:43 PM, Aug 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-20 10:35:23-04

INDIANAPOLIS — With kids back in school, families who suffer from asthma are concerned about keeping their children and themselves safe, especially as coronavirus cases are rising and the pandemic continues.

“The majority of our families are worried,” said Dr. Kirsten Kloepfer, IU Health Allergy and Asthma Specialist. “They’re worried about [how] children are going back and they’re not requiring masks and their child will get the delta variant.”

There’s a lot of anxiety from families surrounding kids going back to school, especially if they have health conditions.

MORE | Mask & vaccine requirements for central Indiana for 2021-22 school year

“It’s just a lot,” Sherrell Harvison said. “It’s very scary.”

Harvison has severe asthma. Her children are also at risk and being monitored in an asthma study.

“Concerned if they get it, I pray every day that they don’t,” she said. “Because they’re around a lot of children every day. And the numbers are steady going up as far as with the children so yeah it’s pretty scary. It’s a pretty scary situation.”

“We are seeing an increase in asthma exacerbations right now,” Kloepfer said.

Kloepfer said they’re seeing a lot of children coming in with respiratory illnesses, which isn’t normal this time of year. Cold viruses, Kloepfer says, are triggers for people with asthma.

“I think what happened is we masked through the fall and winter and some of the spring, and then everybody took their masks off and started getting together in groups and all the viruses spread,” Kloepfer explained. “We really highly recommend masking because we saw a decrease in viruses all last year so clearly masking helps. Especially right now with the delta variant, we don’t know if it’s going to cause our asthmatics to be worse.”