Asthma and Coronavirus
Asthma and Coronavirus are 2 diseases that affect the respiratory system, questions are raising about whether patients with asthma are more susceptible to contract the virus, and if those patients are more subject to a more severe form of coronavirus.
Asthma is a chronic lung condition that affects the airways. In normal people, the airways are free, allowing air to come in and out of the lungs, and helping them to breathe easily. But, in people with asthma, those airways are swallow, become narrow and full of mucus, making it difficult to breathe.
The symptoms in asthma are usually difficulty breathing, cough, wheezing, and sometimes chest tightness or pain. Those symptoms can be exacerbated by allergies, cold, exercise, air pollutants, cold air, and certain medications and occupations. Asthma can also be genetic, affect a lot of children, but can also be seen in adults. There is no treatment for asthma, but there are medications available to help people manage their symptoms and live a normal life.
The Coronavirus or COVID-19 is a communicable disease that also affects the respiratory system, it is more frequent in adults, more severe in older adults ( 65 and up), and people with severe underlying medical conditions (diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer). The symptoms are cough, fever, shortness of breath. Some patients have muscle pain, sore throat, chills, loss of taste or smell, and even digestives symptoms. There is no treatment available and no vaccine to prevent the disease. The best way for people to protect themselves is to avoid contact with the virus.
Since Coronavirus is a new disease there is still a lot to learn about how it affects people. There was one study in Wuhan, China which showed that asthma does not raise the chances of getting infected with the virus. But, according to the CDC (2020), people with moderate to severe asthma may be at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. Although there is a lack of data, people with asthma have a higher risk of severe illness and death with respiratory infections in general, therefore if they contract the coronavirus, they may be more susceptible to a severe form of the coronavirus disease.
If you have asthma, what should you do?
- Be even more cautious
- Wash your hands frequently
- Avoid contact with people who are sick
- Practice social distancing or stay home as much as possible
- Clean and disinfect your home and most-touched surfaces regularly
- Try to avoid asthma triggers
- Make sure your inhaler is always filled and used it as prescribed by your doctor.
- If you feel sick and worried about having the coronavirus, contact your health care provider immediately
By Dr. Sabine Silien Charles, MD, DrPH
Cite de la Sante, Inc
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). People with asthma. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/asthma.html
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). What is asthma? Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/asthma/faqs.htm