Health authorities include those with asthma among the list of groups most vulnerable to developing severe illness. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), asthma is a chronic inflammatory condition characterized by recurrent attacks of dyspnea and wheezing, which may vary in severity and frequency from person to person. The bronchioles narrow due to inflammation and more mucus is secreted, leading to shortness of breath. Around 339 million people are living with asthma globally. There is currently treatment that can help control the symptoms.

Am I a risk person?

People with asthma are more likely to experience complications due to respiratory infections, especially viral infections. These types of infections generate more inflammation in the bronchi of asthmatic people. This can lead to severe respiratory distress, risking an asthma attack. For this reason, WHO, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and CDC have included people with asthma among vulnerable or “high-risk” groups to COVID-19. The reason for being included in this group is due to the risk of suffering more serious symptomatology due to the base inflammation in the lungs, one of the main targets of this virus.

Scientific and clinical societies, however, report that people with controlled asthma are no more at risk of transmission than people without asthma. The risk is mainly due to having poorly controlled asthma as this can increase the severity of symptoms. However, the utmost caution is recommended.

Should I follow special measures?

The protection measures issued by the authorities must be followed by asthmatic patients very rigorously. It is important to note that poorly controlled asthma can increase the susceptibility to suffering worse from a viral disease, especially from COVID-19.

The recommendation of the authorities is that, in case of destabilization of asthma, consult your allergist to detail a therapeutic action plan.

Should I change treatment?

Experts emphasize that it is important to continue with the prescribed treatment. Health authorities specify the need for people with chronic diseases to have a sufficient supply of their medications.

Reducing stress and anxiety are also factors that stand out because strong emotions can destabilize the disease, which can cause an asthmatic crisis.

What about asthmatic children?

Children with a chronic disease such as asthma are also part of the COVID-19 risk group. Given this situation we are experiencing, it is advisable to follow the recommendations of the Spanish Society of Clinical Immunology, Allergy and Pediatric Asthma (SEICAP),  or relevant health authority in your country. 

Sandra del Pozo
Sandra del Pozo

Sandra del Pozo is a Spaniard, Madrid-based with a background in biomedical sciences and international health. She currently works in immunology in a biotech company as a scientific advisor and she is also Projects Coordinator at the GHNGN. Her passion lies on innovation through cooperation between different areas of health and science. She believes that change must take place from understanding and building efficient global health partnership.

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