Suffering From Asthma? Doctor Shares Tips On How To Stay Safe From COVID-19

Suffering From Asthma? Doctor Shares Tips On How To Stay Safe From COVID-19
Suffering From Asthma? Doctor Shares Tips On How To Stay Safe From COVID-19

We spoke to B. Kalaikovan, Pulmonologist, to understand more about this condition and what ways patients who are diagnosed with Asthma can keep themselves safe from the deadly COVID-19 virus infection.

Written by Satata Karmakar |Updated : February 19, 2022 1:31 PM IST

Asthma is considered one of the major non-communicable diseases (NCDs) that affect both children and adults globally in large numbers. According to the WHO, almost 262 million people were diagnosed with asthma in 2019. After the onset of the pandemic, many people suffering from asthma and allergies often find it challenging to differentiate COVID-like symptoms due to the similarities that might occur. But a few differentiating factors might help you treat the same effectively. TheHealthSite.com spoke to B. Kalaikovan, Pulmonologist, Kovan's Chest, And Sleep Care Center to understand more about this condition and what ways patients who are diagnosed with Asthma can keep themselves safe from the deadly COVID-19 virus infection.

COVID-19 and Asthma

Most patients suffering from asthma experience coughing and wheezing with inflammation in the throat and lungs. Symptoms like shortness of breath, chest tightness/congestion, body fatigue, and the need for constant breath while performing daily activities that involve minimal effort.

On the other hand, COVID-19 patients can contract symptoms like fever, nausea, vomiting, constant headaches and body fatigue, muscle aches across various parts of the body, a feeble appetite, a sudden loss of taste and smell, and rashes on the hands and feet. These are some of the signs which could help one differentiate between COVID-19 and asthma. If one is unsure, it is best to isolate yourself and opt for a RAT (Rapid-Antigen Test) which can be brought over the counter, or get yourself checked through an RT-PCR Test at any health center for confirming the same.

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The lungs are the most affected organ by COVID-19 and the virus has a risk of triggering asthma exacerbation. The patient recovering from COVID-19 has low immunity complains of symptoms like asthma i.e., being lethargic, a feeling of breathlessness, less effort tolerance, and getting out of breath on minimal activities. The reasons for these manifestations are, during any viral illness, there is a recovery phase because viruses affect the lungs and whole body, and the body takes time to recuperate. Secondly, while suffering from any virus we get out of our routine, with no exercise. Doctors advise following a healthy regime, regular medications, exercise, and staying away from allergies that may trigger asthma.

Asthma and Allergies

During springtime, people generally tend to suffer from common allergies caused by allergens such as pollen, dust, pet hair, etc. Allergic symptoms often include itchy eyes and nose, constant sneezing, nasal discharge, and more. Your asthma can also be triggered by various allergens that may cause severe reactions; flare-ups can lead to intense wheezing and coughing, chest tightness, and difficulty in breathing.

If you are unaware of the complications allergies might induce to your pre-existing asthma, it is best to consult a doctor who will prescribe you medications for relieving both allergies and asthma in the long run.

How Inhalers Provide Relief to Asthmatic Patients During COVID-19?

Asthmatic patients are at an increased risk of getting complications from COVID-19 as it can affect your respiratory tract, which usually consists of your nose, lungs, and throat. It can also lead to sudden asthma attacks, pneumonia, and other acute respiratory diseases. Therefore reasonable asthma control is crucial in these times.

Inhaled medications such as inhalers can act as a lifeline for all patients diagnosed with asthma. They provide instant relief by passing corticosteroids through your airways; it helps in reducing inflammation and expands the airways for increased oxygen intake. This can prevent any severe asthmatic attacks from taking place and treat the condition simultaneously. It is essential to take medical counsel from your doctor to help treat your asthma and COVID-19.

Measures To Be Taken By Asthma Patients To Keep Themselves Safe From COVID-19

According to a study, asthmatics with controlled illnesses have shown less severe outcomes to COVID-19 than those who have uncontrolled asthma.

  1. Be in continuous touch with your healthcare provider- Asthma is a long-term breathing disorder that requires attention daily. It is essential to track your symptoms and communicate with your health expert, which helps in ensuring the best treatment leading to controlled asthma and less risk to severe COVID-19 outcomes.
  2. Don't miss your medications- It is crucial for active asthma patients to regularly take their medicines as prescribed by their doctor. The asthma medications help in reducing the odds for worsened COVID-19 outcomes.
  3. Use your quick-relief inhaler- Use your inhaler as prescribed by your health expert. The inhalers help prevent the symptoms of uncontrolled asthma. Your doctor may prescribe you to use twice or thrice or as when required, depending upon your condition. It is always advised to always keep your inhaler with you.
  4. Wear Masks- People with asthma need to follow COVID-19 guidelines. They should wear their masks, which protects from virus and against pollen/pollutants that trigger asthma. As suggested by your expert, the mask could be a surgical mask, cloth mask, or N95. If you have trouble breathing while wearing masks, consult your healthcare provider to review asthma control and emergency care.
  5. Avoid going to public places- People with active asthma should stay home as much as possible. Some patients find it challenging to breathe wearing a mask. However, one should not go outside without masks. They should be mindful of keeping their distance from sick people.