Real-time effects of COVID-19 pandemic lockdown on pediatric respiratory patients

Michal Cahal, Israel Amirav, Nir Diamant, Moria Be'er, Omri Besor, Moran Lavie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: A national lockdown was implemented in Israel to slow the viral spread of COVID-19. We assessed the real-time effects of the lockdown on disease expression and lifestyle modifications in pediatric patients with chronic respiratory disorders. Methods: An anonymous electronic questionnaire was distributed during lockdown (March–May 2020) to caregivers of patients with chronic respiratory disorders. The primary outcome was change in disease expression and the secondary outcomes were changes in lifestyle and caregivers’ emotional status. Results: The clinical status of one-third of the 445 participating patients (age 0–18 years) reportedly improved, including decreased respiratory symptoms (n = 133, 33%), exacerbation frequency (n = 147, 35%), and use of reliever medications (n = 101, 27.4%). The condition of ~10% of the patients worsened. Clinical improvement was noted mostly in young patients <5 years (p =.001), asthmatic patients (p =.033), and patients with multiple underlying respiratory disorders (p =.015). Patients whose condition significantly worsened were more likely to be >5 years (p <.001), had increased screen time, decreased physical activity, and shorter sleep duration compared to their younger counterparts (p =.008, <.001, and.001, respectively). Caregivers’ reports (n = 236 [58%]) of their own anxiety levels and perceptions of the patients’ elevated health risk were increased, regardless of the children's actual clinical status. Conclusion: COVID-19 lockdown was associated with clinical improvement/stability for most of the surveyed children; however, their caregivers' anxiety level was heightened. An increased sedentary lifestyle was reported mostly in older children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1401-1408
Number of pages8
JournalPediatric Pulmonology
Volume56
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2021

Keywords

  • anxiety
  • children
  • chronic respiratory disorders
  • COVID-19
  • lockdown
  • sedentary lifestyle

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