Colds can exacerbate asthma, so it's best to avoid exposing your child to other sick kids. That said, you don't want to stigmatize or isolate your asthmatic child by keeping her away from her pals. So rather than cancel it outright, reschedule the playdate for when the friend is on the mend. And follow these tips to prevent your kid from catching germs:
• Make sure she thoroughly washes her hands when she gets home from daycare, school, playdates, or any other outings.
• Discourage her from putting her hands in her mouth.
• Teach her not to share cups or put communal toys in her mouth.
• Be sure she receives an annual flu shot on time. One study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed the flu vaccine reduces asthma flare-ups in children 6 and younger by up to 41 percent -- and that vaccinating all children with asthma could prevent as many as three-quarters of asthma-related trips to emergency rooms and hospitalizations during flu season. --Marguerite Lamb
Originally published in American Baby magazine, April 2005. Updated 2009