West River ENT & Allergy

Are People with Asthma at Risk of Severe Illness from COVID-19?

Now that we have all been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic for over a year (nearly two years now, if you can believe it), we have learned more and more about the virus and how it works. As doctors and scientists have gathered more information, they have learned about the factors that put you at greater risk of severe illness from COVID-19. So, are people with asthma at risk of severe illness from COVID-19?

The short answer is no. Several studies have shown that having asthma does not put you at greater risk of getting COVID-19 or of having severe COVID-19. However, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) list moderate-to-severe asthma as a chronic lung disease that can put you at greater risk for severe illness from COVID-19. A recent study published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice found that people with well-controlled asthma have less severe COVID-19 outcomes than people with uncontrolled asthma.

These studies indicate that simply having asthma does not put you at greater risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Rather, having uncontrolled asthma increases your risk of more severe COVID-19 outcomes. Regardless of the coronavirus pandemic, having uncontrolled asthma puts you at greater risk of having an asthma episode or attack, going to the emergency room, staying in the hospital, and even death. If you feel that your asthma is not well-controlled, it is important that you speak with your doctor as soon as possible.

To protect your health, especially during the ongoing pandemic, it is essential to keep your asthma under control. Be sure to continue taking any asthma medications you regularly take; using asthma medications does not increase your risk for COVID-19. Not using your medications means your asthma will not be as well controlled, which puts you at greater risk for an asthma attack. Your doctor will help you create an asthma action plan, so be sure to take your medications as recommended in your plan. The following asthma medications should continue to be taken as prescribed:

  • Quick-relief medicine (such as albuterol)
  • Inhaled corticosteroids (controller medicines)
  • Oral corticosteroids (like prednisone)
  • Nasal allergy sprays
  • Antihistamines (allergy medicine)
  • Biologics
  • Proton pump inhibitors for acid reflux
  • Allergy shots

Again, the most important thing you can do is keep your asthma under control. If you feel your asthma is not well controlled, speak with your doctor immediately. You can also take the following steps to reduce your risk of getting COVID-19:

  1. Get vaccinated.
  2. Wear a mask.
  3. Maintain a physical distance from people outside of your household.
  4. Wash your hands properly and often.
  5. Ensure that your indoor spaces are well ventilated and have good indoor air quality.
  6. Take care of your general health, as well as your asthma.

To learn more about asthma and COVID-19, and for more information about how to control asthma, we encourage you to contact us today at West River ENT & Allergy.

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