“Severe respiratory viral infection like COVID-19 has the potential to trigger asthma symptoms“.
The deadly SARS-CoV-2 virus, behind the COVID-19 pandemic, primarily affects the functioning of the respiratory system. It infects the upper or lower part of the respiratory tract including the nose, throat, and lungs and irritates the respiratory lining causing inflammation.
Asthma patients are more likely to contract the SARS-CoV-2 infection and belong to a high-risk group along with Diabetes patients, High BP, Cancer, and Kidney patients and must take extra precautionary measures to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Coronavirus poses serious health risks for people with pre-existing comorbidity, cardiovascular disease, hypertension tops the list while chronic respiratory illness like allergies and asthma also fall into a high-risk group of the pre-existing illness susceptible to COVID-19. Active and Passive smokers can cause irreparable lung damage and push smokers to the high-risk category as well. One needs to be extra cautious with flu, and cold which may aggravate the risk of the deadly pandemic, increasing the probability of landing in the hospital. Thus, by keeping asthma under control, one can significantly reduce the chance of contacting the COVID-19 pandemic.
What is Asthma?
Asthma is caused by the characteristic presence of an inducer (an allergen) which triggers an attack. The month of March and April paves the way to the spring season, a precursor for pollen allergy which is a critical trigger for asthma attacks along with all the age groups especially senior citizens with pre-existing medical conditions.
Avoiding common allergens that trigger Asthma
- Tobacco smoke
- Pets, Dust mites, Mould, Pollen
- Air pollution
- Weather extremes
- Acid reflux
- Strong fragrances
- Alcohol or Food additives
Viral respiratory infections, like COVID-19 whose symptoms include fever, cough can typically trigger a sudden asthma attack.
Those who have a weak respiratory function with moderate to severe asthma may develop Coronavirus with severe symptoms. This makes Asthmatics fear an additional risk during the COVID-19 crisis.
Chronic Asthma and COVID-19
Those with moderate to severe asthma are at a higher risk cohort of falling seriously ill from the COVID-19 virus. This may lead to pneumonia and other acute respiratory diseases worsening respiratory inflammation-causing further damage.
Just as the gestation period of COVID-19 varies from 1-14 days, asthmatic airway inflammation can linger over time. Even during acute attacks, the inflammation can pose serious threats contributing to cold, wheezing and cough for some asthmatic patients.
Differentiating between Coronavirus and an Asthma attack
Here is how one can distinguish between an Asthma attack vs the Coronavirus infection-
- Coronavirus is a deadly infection whose symptoms differ from Asthma. Dry cough accompanied by shortness of breath or fever may be COVID-19.
- Shortness of breath and controlled wheezing is likely an asthma attack and not COVID-19.
- An increase in chest tightness, breathlessness with coughing in the night or the morning is an asthma attack and must not be confused with coronavirus.
To mitigate the acute respiratory risks, asthmatics must take their medications as per prescribed by their physicians. Stopping or missing a dose including the inhaler use may push Asthmatics to a risk of a poorly controlled Asthma, causing the symptoms to go worse. In extreme cases, hospital admission cannot be ignored.
Putting the preventive medication on hold will put Asthmatics at a greater risk of exacerbating the symptoms. This condition holds, especially as we welcome the spring allergy season. In the current pandemic, treatment of an exacerbation would mean an asthmatic may come in close contact with a COVID-19 patient.
Follow your Asthma action plan
Uncontrolled asthma is a critical health threat which must not be ignored. An actionable asthma action plan during this Coronavirus helps asthmatics prevent asthma triggers and control their asthma. This plan includes:
- Avoiding asthma triggers
- Continuing to take all the medications, including rescue inhalers, as directed by the physician.
- Disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, like table-tops, doorknobs, and handles.
- Having all the non-prescription medications and supplies on hand.
- Knowing how to use an inhaler.
- Reducing any anxiety or stress, which could potentially trigger asthma attacks.
- Reaching out to your pharmacist and medical provider to ensure you have an emergency supply of all your prescription medicines, including the inhaler.
Precautionary Measures – Asthmatics who develop COVID-19 symptoms
- Stay at home under quarantine until you are no longer contagious to others.
- Speak with your doctor if you get a cold and cannot differentiate between COVID-19 and Asthma symptoms.
- Follow an asthma action plan to manage your asthma.
- Be informed of what to do if your asthma symptoms get worse.
- Continuing all your asthma medicines prescribed by your physician.
- As per prescription, keep taking inhaler this will help cut your risk of an asthma attack, triggered by any respiratory virus like Coronavirus.
- Keep your reliever inhaler around you every day.
Vigilant asthma control ensures a minimal impact of coronavirus for an asthmatic patient. It is highly advised to seek medical advice through the Gigadocs app if your usual asthma medications are not working for you.
Consulting a Specialist on Gigadocs
Gigadocs is an intelligent practice management software solution for all your healthcare requirements. The Gigadocs app enables you to book a digital consultation with Doctors around you for asthma, Diabetes, High BP, and Kidney treatment considered as COVID-19 high-risk group comorbidity.
Gigadocs helps you to track your vitals like BP, heart rate to share them live with your doctor through a secure digital format.
To know more how Gigadocs can help you with a complete healthcare solution download Gigadocs app-
IOS App – apple.co/2W2iG4V
Andriod App – bit.ly/33AQoRC
To know more e-mail, at firstname.lastname@example.org
We have explained why Asthmatics fear how may COVID-19 affect them, the key to reducing this uncertainty and stress is following strict social distancing and maintaining consistent infection prevention habits.
Gigadocs wishes you all a good health today and always!