What Covid-19 means for asthmatics

People with asthma are urged to take extra precautions, as respiratory infections can set off a host of asthma symptoms.

Are you at further risk of contracting the Covid-19 virus if you are an asthmatic patient?

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), yes.

Asthmatic patients, as well as people with diabetes and heart disease, have an increased risk of “becoming severely ill with the virus”, reports Highway Mail.

However, there is little definitive evidence to say whether asthma increases the likelihood of a person catching the virus.

“The data that we have so far from China and South Korea does not identify people with asthma as being at risk of getting the virus or having a more severe illness with the virus,” said Sebastian Johnston, a professor of respiratory medicine and allergy at the U.K. National Heart and Lung Institute.

The National Asthma Education Programme has urged people with asthma to take extra precautions, as respiratory infections can set off a host of asthma symptoms.

Here is what you can do to reduce your risk: 

  • Take your preventer medications daily as prescribed. This will help reduce your risk of an asthma attack being triggered by any respiratory virus, including the coronavirus.
  • Carry your reliever with you at all times, in case you feel your asthma symptoms flaring up.
  • Download the NAEP Action Plan to help you recognise and manage asthma symptoms when they come on.
  • If you come down with a cold or flu, or any other respiratory infection, see your doctor and take precautions.
  • If you smoke, now is a good time to quit. Smoking will increase your risk from Covid-19.
  • Don’t panic or stress as this can also influence your asthma. Understand your symptoms and seek medical attention if you feel you need it.

If you have asthma, and no symptoms of Covid-19:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water.
  • Use tissues to wipe your nose or catch a sneeze, then discard them immediately.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
  • Avoid unnecessary interactions with other people: large gatherings, shaking hands or hugging, unnecessary travel etc.
  • Carry on with your usual asthma mediation.

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