Research published in Thorax and presented at the British Thoracic Society meeting has revealed that patients who suffered from asthma were at a double risk of severe attack after the Covid-19 restrictions were lifted. The study also noted that Covid-19 was not significantly more likely to trigger asthma attacks than other respiratory infections in the study participants.
About the Study
The study analysed data from 2,312 adults from the United Kingdom who were suffering from asthma. They were part of Queen Mary's COVIDENCE UK study held between November 2020 and April 2022. The study was conducted through monthly online questionnaires that collected data on the use of face masks or face coverings, social mixing, and symptoms of asthma.
The study is the first to assess how COVID-19 affects the likelihood of asthma exacerbations in comparison to other respiratory illnesses. It is also one of the few pieces of research that examine how easing national restrictions may affect asthma sufferers.
The main cause of disease and mortality in this condition is asthma attacks. More than 300 million individuals worldwide and more than five million people in the United Kingdom suffer from asthma. Breathlessness, chest tightness, wheezing, and coughing are all symptoms of this respiratory illness.
Findings of the Study
The study observed that after Covid-19 restrictions were lifted, fewer individuals used facial coverings, more people interacted socially, and there was a consequent increase in the risk of Covid-19 and other acute respiratory infections. Additionally, the study noted that Covid-19 did not substantially increase the risk of asthma episodes compared to other respiratory illnesses.
In April 2021, when rules regarding social mixing and face coverings began to relax, a severe asthma attack was experienced by 1.7% of participants in the previous month. This percentage nearly doubled in January 2022, with 3.7% of people experiencing a severe asthma attack.
The lead author of the research, Professor Adrian Martineau stated that the study showed that relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions was linked to an increased risk of severe asthma attacks. The study was observational and could not show the cause-and-effect relationship. However, it raised the possibility that public health measures such as wearing face coverings could help reduce respiratory illnesses from moving forward.
The study also reassured that Covid-19 was not significantly more likely to trigger asthma attacks than other respiratory infections in the participants of the study.