SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- As some kids head back to the classroom, some parents might be worried about their children who have asthma.

“Springfield is an area with a lot of kids with asthma and when COVID starting coming around, we were very worried,” said Dr. John O'Reilly, chief of general pediatrics at Baystate.

O'Reilly told Western Mass News that they are still learning about the virus and how it impacts people with certain conditions, like asthma.

“What we’ve found, in the information from China and New York, is that asthma is not as much of a risk factor for COVID-19…In fact, when they looked at the population in New York, people with asthma were less likely than people with hypertension or obesity to have COVID-19,” O'Reilly explained.

Kafi Drexel Brown with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America added, “There are peak seasons, especially when kids return to school.

Drexel Brown said there is a peak time for asthma when kids return to school.

“September is also known as the September asthma epidemic. That’s because when children and teachers and school staff return to school, they are being re-introduced to triggers with in the school environment that they might not have been around throughout the summer months,” Drexel Brown said.

Drexel Brown said even with data showing a lower risk for kids with asthma, it's still important to stay healthy.

“What we do know is that there is an increase in hospitalizations related to asthma as kids return to school. We do know that these other complications exist and we just want to make sure that people are returning as healthy as possible and that you are not dealing with having an asthma emergency,” Drexel Brown explained.

It’s something O'Reilly agreed with.

“I think kids who have asthma and take controller medicine should take their controller medicines…The better they control their asthma, the better chance they won’t end up in an emergency room where they might get exposed to higher levels of COVID,” O'Reilly noted.

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America has created a COVID and asthma tool kit for schools. It offers student, parent, and teacher checklists and resources in terms of planning healthier returns to school.

Western Mass News is Your School Authority. You have questions or concerns as schools prepare to open back up and we're getting you answers.

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