As the global pandemic puts us all into lockdown, there are some of us having to worry about pre-existing conditions like asthma and coronavirus risks. COVID19 attacks the respiratory system in the patients, starting from the nose and proceeding to cause substantial damage to the lungs.
While it causes mild symptoms in healthy people, those who have asthma are considered at high risk of getting fatally affected. They may experience severe conditions like an asthma attack, pneumonia, and other severe health complications related to the lungs.
Studies have revealed that asthma does not increase a person’s chance of getting infected by coronavirus as compared to healthy individuals. But if an asthmatic person gets infected, their symptoms could worsen because of the underlying health complication.
In India, asthma is one of the most common respiratory diseases. 2% of the adult population has asthma, while 6% of children live with this health problem. For a country with a population of 1.3 billion, these percentages result in a vast number of people who need extra protection and care.
Since there is no medicine or treatment for coronavirus yet, not much can be done to shield against this disease. Governments across the globe are stressing on social distancing and frequent hand washing to stop the spread of this novel virus. But is that enough to address asthma and coronavirus risks?
No. Here is a list of few things to keep in mind if you or someone in your family has asthma.
Do Not Ignore the Symptoms
For most people, COVID-19 causes only mild to moderate symptoms. These symptoms are very similar to issues caused by other types of flu and seasonal allergies. Some common symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- Dry cough
- Loss of appetite
- Body ache
- Shortness of breath
In healthy people, these symptoms will get better on their own in two weeks. In fact, it has been internationally reported that individuals with mild symptoms do not even realise they are infected, but the same cannot be said for asthmatic people.
Therefore, if you notice any of these symptoms or signs of asthma, do not take them lightly. Immediately get in touch with your family/primary doctor. It is advised that even the family members of asthma patients should be vigilant about these symptoms because coronavirus is highly contagious.
Keep Your Medication and Aids Ready
Asthmatic people have to be always ready with their asthma medications. By far, the most important thing that patients should do is keep their asthma inhalers and nebulizers handy. Stock your medicines so that you are always prepared even in case of a lockdown. If you do not know how to use an inhaler, it’s time to learn it now. Furthermore, clean and prepare your nebulizer for use. Your inhaler should always be available on the go and, if possible, teach someone in your family to use it.
Practice Social Distancing and Hand Washing
Social distancing and frequent hand washing apply to everyone. If you have asthma, you have to be extra cautious about washing your hands every few hours and maintaining a safe distance from others. It will help if you can avoid stepping out of your premises because both hand washing and social distancing do not provide foolproof protection against coronavirus. With asthma and other respiratory diseases, you cannot take even the minutest risk of being exposed to it.
You can avoid stepping out by asking friends and family to help with shopping for essentials. If you want to exercise, look for ways to work out indoors. When someone drops in to meet you, ask them to wash their hands, and sit away while you talk. All this may sound like too much to do, but with coronavirus, it is better to plan and stay safe.
Some Quick Points to Remember
- Wear a mask when you step outside. It will protect you against coronavirus and will also ensure that you stay away from common asthma causes like allergens, pollution, and smoke.
- Avoid stepping out of the house unless it is a medical emergency.
- Avoid close contact with people. Maintain a safe distance from people who are visiting you. It will be ideal if you can avoid visitors altogether.
- Do not go to crowded places. Step back if you see a huge gathering at places like a supermarket or your local vegetable market.
- Do not plan a gathering or party. Do not share meals with anyone, including your family members. The same applies to personal belongings like towels and utensils.
- Last but not least, if you live with your family or have flatmates, ask them to take precautions for your safety.
Coronavirus can cause severe complications to people with asthma. Therefore, you should consider yourself high-risk and be extremely careful with how you carry on with your life under lockdown and even after that. Be sure to follow all the points to deal with asthma and coronavirus risks.
If you are feeling anxious, talk to your doctor and ask them to provide you with more detailed guidelines on asthma management. Consider using a digital, medical platform like Phable. It offers automated healthcare to people with asthma problems. Phable will let you stay in touch with your doctor while letting you send constant alerts about your condition. You can also upload your prescription on this platform and create personalised reminders.
Life with coronavirus may be our new normal, but we cannot put our lives on hold, can we?
Phable is an innovative lifestyle disease management app simplifying life for patients & doctors through health monitoring and doctor intervention.