Asthma is known to be one of the factors that puts patients in a more severe and riskier situation when contracted with coronavirus. In fact, it is one of the underlying health conditions defined to be dangerous in fighting against the virus. Today, we will be sharing some factors that you need to be aware of with regards to asthma and its impact combined with coronavirus.
At times like this, it is ever more important to maximize and maintain your lung health, especially if you have asthma. Dr. Lakiea Wright describes breathing for patients with asthma as feeling as if you are breathing through a straw because the inflammation is restricting the airway and you could imagine what kind of impact an extra inflammation caused by coronavirus can have on breathing. Patients that are more likely to end up with ventilators are those with this health condition due to the heavy damage in the lungs caused by coronavirus.
Coronavirus shares similar symptoms with asthma as well as allergies. With regards to asthma, coughing, shortness of breath and chest tightness are the key signs that are common to those of coronavirus whereas sneezing, runny nose, red eyes and fatigue are the shared symptoms for allergies. Among the 25 million Americans with asthma, about two thirds are said to suffer from allergic triggers from the environmental allergens such as dust, insects, pets, mold and pollen. It is known that the case is worse for children as up to 90% of children with asthma can have allergic asthma, said Dr. Wright.
Due to the common symptoms found in asthma and coronavirus, many people are even more confused and they are advised to look for more clear and distinguishing symptoms of coronavirus such as fever and body aches because these symptoms are not found in asthma or allergies. For those with allergic asthma, try antihistamines and other allergy medications and treatments to see if they reduce the symptoms. If these treatments do reduce the symptoms, then that serves as a sign that it’s just allergies.
For asthma, those who are experiencing asthma attacks are likely to have a history of asthma and will be able to compare the symptoms experienced to the previous or typical asthma attacks. Even if you were to have contracted coronavirus and have an asthma attack at the save time, a rescue inhaler you normally use should improve asthma symptoms.
- Know your triggers: each person’s asthma triggers are different. Analyze your environment and minimize your exposure to dust, smells, or any other allergens that can trigger an asthma attack
- Keep a record: those with asthma are advised to use peak flow meters, devices that measure the strength of a breath to monitor how well their airways are staying open, Rizzo said. A daily record of that and other signs should be kept. It is also advised to assess how often you seek rescue medications and the frequency of wake-ups during the night with a cough or a wheeze. If possible, take temperature on a daily basis to detect any changes.
- Locate and check your medications: make sure to know where your rescue inhaler is, specifically albuterol or levalbuterol, the inhaler strictly used for an acute attack. In addition, ensure that your medications are not expired.
- Have an asthma action plan prepared: as each asthma trigger is different for each individual as well as the response of the lungs, work with your doctor to prepare your own action plan. It can help you decide whether you need to call your doctor and get any additional medication.
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