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World Asthma Day: Simple Measures Asthmatics Can Take If They Get Infected By COVID-19

Asthma patients are at a higher risk of severe infection if they get infected with the coronavirus. Here are some expert-approved tips to help them manage the symptoms.

COVID-19, caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2, is a respiratory disorder that can potentially harm your lungs, throat, and nose. Studies have shown that the infection could be severe in case a patient suffers from an underlying disease. Infection with the virus could cause an asthma attack, pneumonia, or other serious lung diseases in those who have asthma. According to a small study, asthma does not increase the chances of contracting coronavirus but if you suffer from asthma, the symptoms of coronavirus could be more severe in people with respiratory problems than others.

Understanding The Link Between COVID And Asthma

Dr Ravi Shekhar Jha, Additional Director & Unit Head, Pulmonology, Fortis Escorts Hospital, Faridabad says, "Asthma is a disease where airways are hypersensitive, and they react to many triggers. They react by going into constriction (narrowing). When someone's windpipe is narrow, they have this tendency to cough, feeling chest stiffness, cough, and breathlessness, especially in the morning and in the night."

Dr Ravi Shekhar Jha further explains, "Besides other common triggers like dust, smoke and pollution, one more important trigger is a viral infection. COVID infection is one such viral infection of the airway which can cause our airway to go into narrowing, commonly referred to as an asthma attack. COVID vaccination can help in reducing the severity of this attack.

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Symptoms To Know

Since coronavirus is a respiratory illness, it can be confusing for some patients to differentiate between coronavirus and asthma. So, here are the signs of both diseases to help you out:

Symptoms of COVID

  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of smell
  • Loss of taste
  • Dry cough
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea
  • Body ache

Symptoms of asthma

  • Chest tightness
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing sound when you breathe out

Preventions Tips To Avoid Asthma Attack If You Get Infected By COVID

Here are some ways to help asthma patients avoid an attack as suggested by Dr Ravi Shekhar Jha:

  • COVID-19 vaccination should and must be the first step to avoid any complications, especially for people with asthma.
  • Another important thing that asthma patients should be doing is that they must not reduce or omit the dose of their inhaler during covid infection. Inhalers may contain inhaled bronchodilators and/or inhaled steroids. Both are important during asthma attacks, be it for any reason.
  • Certain non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) which are commonly prescribed in COVID are not safe for some asthma patients. So, they must inform their doctor that they have asthma or allergy history. Similarly, some blood thinners like aspirin are also unsafe for a special subset of asthmatics.
  • Exposure to cold should be avoided. Avoid direct exposure to dry cold air to your airways. Avoid eating high carbohydrate food, and maintain adequate hydration so that your lung secretions should not dry up inside.

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