Asthma is a health condition that causes blockage in the airways that function to transport air into thr lungs. And, this disease can make it tough to breathe but may often lead to wheezing, chest tightness, breathlessness and even coughing. Due to the widespread of Coronavirus across the country, the situation for asthma patients has worsened even more as COVID-19 puts them at a higher risk of contracting the virus and severe Covid symptoms.
Respiratory viruses can trigger and worsen asthma symptoms and if a person is having an uncontrollable asthma attack, they may experience severe Covid symptoms. Uncontrolled asthma means that there will already be lung inflammation and airways will be blocked. Therefore, in a lot patients, COVID-19 can even result in pneumonia, fibrosis (thick and stiff lung walls) or other serious respiratory diseases.
How to tackle asthma with COVID-19?
Onlymyhealth editorial team spoke to Dr. Sandeep Nayar, Senior Director & HOD, Chest & Respiratory Diseases, BLK-MAX Super Speciality Hospital, on how to tackle an attack especially if the patient is not sure if it is due to asthma or Covid. Dr. Sandeep said, “People feeling breathless may sometimes confuse between Covid symptoms and an asthma attack. The major symptoms seen nowadays in Covid positive patients are breathlessness instead of fever or any other common Covid symptoms such as sore throat, headache, cough etc. In such a situation it is best to use the inhaler so the asthma attack can be managed. In case of asthma patients having contracted Covid, inhalers and bronchodilators as well as other medications should be continued as per schedule. Nebulisers are again very useful in handling Covid induced bronchospasms. Asthma patients can easily use nebulization, with or without steroids, to help alleviate chest congestions and pressure.”
Talking about the need of vaccination, Dr. Nayar said, “All asthma patients above 18 years of age must get vaccinated to prevent the deadly implications of the virus even if they get infected. Vaccination will not just help in protecting from the virus but will also help reduce the severity of the symptoms. However, those having had an immediate or severe allergic reaction to the vaccine or any of its ingredients, must consult their physician.”
Precautionary measures for asthma patients
As per Dr Nayar, some precautionary measures that asthmatic patients should follow for their own safety are:
- If you have recently recovered from an acute Covid infection, then you should postpone getting the vaccine until you have recovered completely and are done with self-isolation and quarantine steps for safety
- If you contracted the virus after receiving the first dose of vaccine, then wait for atleast a month after recovering before getting the second dose of Covid vaccination
- If along with asthma, you also have other health problems that can cause immune deficiency like HIV or cancers, talk to your doctor before getting the vaccine
- Do not go out of the house. If an emergency, wear a double mask while going out
- Restrict cigarette smoking as it can be very dangerous for patients with asthma or other respiratory diseases
- Avoid doing outdoor exercises and try to focus on breathing exercises and doing yogasans at home
- Take prescribed medicines, inhalers and Keep important medicines stocked up
- Consume a healthy and nutritious diet, which is rich in nutrients and proteins. Avoid eating outside food that has too much oil
- Take steam twice everyday to prevent chest congestion
- Keep anxiety and stress levels controlled, as much as possible
So, these were some Precautionary measures that asthma patients can follow to prevent the high risk of COVID-19 infection. Asthma might not be considered a serious condition by many people, but asthma along with other respiratory infections can put you at a greater risk. A very important aspect for all patients is to know the triggers so one can stay away from them and be protected from further asthma attacks.
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