COVID-19 affects people in different ways. There are those that after contracting the virus, will experience the symptoms and recover within one to two weeks. Others may experience more severe symptoms and for a more extended period. Usually, people at greater risk of suffering more severe COVID-19 outcomes are:
- older adults, especially 60 years and above
- people who are immunocompromised
- people who are obese (with a high body mass index)
- People with chronic medical issues, including high blood pressure, dementia, diabetes, stroke, liver disease, kidney disease, heart disease, and lung disease.
This article will address how COVID-19 affects people living with asthma.
COVID-19 is a disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It is primarily a respiratory disease, which means it affects the lungs, nose, and throat. This virus has provoked one of the biggest health crises globally. It can trigger a variety of breathing issues in the victim.
Asthma is a chronic ongoing medical condition that also affects the lungs. If an asthmatic contracts the COVID-19 virus, it is very likely that the symptoms will be worse than other people’s, especially all the symptoms that affect the respiratory system. That is why asthma patients are always encouraged to get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.
COVID-19 has several symptoms. The most common ones include fatigue, body aches, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, sore throat, dry coughs, diarrhoes, loss of taste and smell, headache, nausea, and runny nose, amongst others. The most common asthma symptoms are coughing, tightening of the chest, shortness of breath, and wheezing.
COVID-19 and asthma have a few similar symptoms. It might be challenging to identify the problem if the primary symptom that is experienced is shared between the two diseases- for instance, shortness of breath. That is why one should learn to identify and understand other symptoms of these diseases.
COVID-19 can worsen or induce asthma symptoms and cause pneumonia in people with severe asthma. Currently, there are varied opinions as to whether asthma, in particular, can cause some people to contract the COVID-19 virus faster than others. The CDC seems to think that severe asthmatics are at higher risk of getting infected by COVID-19. This is possible because this virus affects the lower and upper respiratory tracts, plus the throat, lungs, and nose.
What does one do when they have COVID-19 and asthma symptoms? First things first, a doctor is needed for advice. Once more severe symptoms—like chest pain, blue face or lips, difficulty in speaking, sudden confusion, and in all these, your asthma drugs do not help. Once symptoms like these are noticed, it is time to contact a doctor immediately.
There is no cure for COVID-19, and neither is there a cure for asthma. But there are ways to prevent them. For COVID-19, asthmatics should make sure they get vaccinated as soon as vaccines become available to them. Also, it is safe to get tested when symptoms similar to those of COVID-19 are noticed. There is the option of going to a hospital or a COVID-19 test centre to get tested, or you could get it done by using a home test kit. It could be a PCR or antigen home test kit.
Another way asthmatics stay safe is to always take their asthma medicine as prescribed. It is best to stay home as often as possible to avoid crowds and close contact with people. Reduced connection with many people helps to reduce the chances of contracting the virus. Another vital thing is that asthmatics must always have an inhaler with them—and a spare, if possible—and they should know how to use it well. Those that have nebulizers should do well to clean them often. Asthma triggers—like allergens, air pollution, and smoke—should be avoided as much as possible.
COVID-19 and asthma have similar persisting symptoms, so these measures must be taken to ensure the necessary healthcare access for asthmatics, including clinical investigation and evaluation.