World Asthma Day is celebrated every year on the first Tuesday of May to raise awareness about the chronic respiratory disease. Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, the concerns of asthmatic patients have increased as according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people who have moderate to severe asthma are at higher risk of contracting the virus.
Dr. Avi Kumar, Consultant, Pulmonologist, Fortis Escort Heart Institute, said that "asthmatic patients will be at a higher risk when it comes to the novel coronavirus."
An asthmatic patient has a highly inflamed and restricted airway as a result of which breathing becomes difficult. The presence of a virus in such a situation would only lead to more inflammation as a result of which breathing would become nearly impossible.
"What one needs to understand is that viral infections of any kind tend to trigger off asthma in patients. Coronavirus tends to affect the upper and lower respiratory tracts, including the nose, throat, and lungs. This can trigger an asthma attack or lead to pneumonia or other acute respiratory diseases," said Kumar.
The doctor also says that the chronic condition affects the lungs, air ways and causes inflammation, asthma results in spasms, wheezing, coughing and breathlessness.
"When you had a viral infection to that mix, it results in an over stimulation of the body’s immune response worsening inflammation. The difference between asthma and COVID-19 isn’t that the latter causes headaches, body aches and fever. It is that COVID-19 affects the tissues inside the lung, inflaming it rather than just the inflammation of the bronchial tissue," said the doctor.
In view of the effect of virus on asthma, it is important that asthmatics take utmost care in the current times. Here are some tips
Continue using their corticosteroid inhaler
Patients with asthma should never stop taking their corticosteroid inhaler unless asked to do so by a medical professional. If you stop using the inhaler, it will put you on higher risk of complications and can develop an asthma exacerbation.
Never share inhaler with others: Never share inhalers with others and wash the inhalation devices regularly to keep them hygienic and clean.
Always follow your asthma treatment plan: Follow that plan religiously and always take your medicines on time.
Avoid poorly ventilated spaces: Don’t go where there is no ventilation as it can lead to severe problems. According to CDC, it is important to get as much fresh air as possible.
Avoid travelling: If there is no emergency then you should avoid travelling