Covid-19 has spread in every corner of the globe. It has forced us to adopt new policies, learn new ways of living, and learn how to control the spread of the disease. For some months now, a number of health concerns have risen regarding the severity of the disease, its effects, and the risks involved. Different groups of people, such as the aged and those with chronic lung diseases, are listed among the most vulnerable.
While people with asthma and allergies are not at the highest risk of contracting Covid-19, it is still crucial to keep your asthma under control. In fact, our Princeton allergist recommends that you continue to take asthma medicines as prescribed. This is because you are at a greater risk of having an asthma attack if you stop taking the medicines.
As the world learns to welcome the new normal, different groups of people are learning new ways to minimize the effects of the disease. Frontline healthcare workers in all departments have also continued to offer guidance to both the aged and people with allergies and asthmatic conditions.
Here are some of the ways in which asthmatic and allergic individuals have been affected:
- Increased stress and anxiety
The Covid-19 pandemic has made people around the world more stressed, anxious, and fearful. News of deaths and infections has flooded our news channels. For people with asthma, strong emotions can be a trigger. This is because when a person is anxious, they often over-breathe or hyperventilate. This may cause a delicate imbalance in your body, thus making your condition severe. For this reason, asthma patients have to find a way of managing and controlling these emotions.
How to decrease your stress and anxiety during Covid-19
- Beware of your emotional state
- Practice meditation and mindful breathing
- Take nutritious food and exercise
- Connect with family and friends
- Adopt a healthy sleeping pattern to calm your body and mind
- Seek help from a medical professional
- Exposure to social stigma associated with Covid-19 prevention and control
According to a study by sensitive choice, a program by the national asthma council, 41% of people in Otago automatically assume that people coughing or sneezing near them suffer from Covid-19. The same assumption has also been reported in other parts of the world.
When the first few cases were discovered, the public had not yet understood the disease fully. The outbreak provoked untold social stigma against anyone perceived to be in contact with the virus. Asthmatic patients and people with allergic reactions were shunned since they were perceived to be a possible risk in spreading the disease. People who did not have the disease but share minimal characteristics with this group also suffered from the stigma.
According to the guide for preventing and addressing social stigma associated with the coronavirus, the World Health Organization insisted that no person or group of people are more likely to spread the disease than others.
- Similar symptoms different disease
The Coronavirus is still spreading despite the change in season. A cough today could signify more than just an allergy, asthma, normal flu, a cold, or even Covid-19. Since symptoms such as coughing and wheezing are similar in asthma and Covid-19, older patients manifesting such symptoms may be anxious and fearful since they may not have a clear way of differentiating the two. Learning the difference between the two, therefore, will go a long way towards helping such patients get the care they need.
Symptoms of asthma
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness
- Rapid breathing
At the first sign of asthma, it is necessary that a patient takes rescue medicine and follow his or her asthma action plan. In case of an emergency, for instance, the patient needs to call his or her doctor immediately.
- Loss of taste and smell
- Diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting
- Fever, chills, and cough
- Feeling tired and weak
- Shortness of breathing
Although the list may not include all symptoms, knowing these symptoms will help you avoid anxieties and panic. If you still have questions, be sure to reach out to the Princeton allergist for more information on allergies and Covid-19.
- The uncertainties related to Covid-19 vaccine and asthma/allergies medication
When it comes to the Covid-19 vaccine, people with underlying conditions have been skeptical about it. This is because the vaccine is new. For instance, the vaccine’s effectiveness in asthmatic patients who use corticosteroids, both oral and inhaled is not yet proven. Therefore, more research is needed to understand the effectiveness of the vaccine on this group of people.
According to the American college of allergy, asthma, and immunology, people with asthma can still get the Covid-19 vaccine. The only condition is that they should not have had severe allergic reaction to the vaccine or its components.
- Visiting overcrowded emergency rooms
The surge in Covid-19 cases has increased the number of patients in the emergency department. According to the Scandinavian journal of trauma, resuscitation, and emergency medicine, the emergency care systems are overcrowded. Visiting these emergency rooms may increase the risk of contracting Covid-19 for asthmatic patients. This is especially possible where Covid-19 rules, such as social distancing and sanitizing rules, are compromised.
Common Covid-19 Concerns for People with Asthma and Allergic Reactions
- Are people with asthma and allergies more affected by Covid-19
People with severe or uncontrolled asthma are more likely to be affected by Covid 19.this is not only due to their immune system but also because they risk visiting emergency hospital rooms. If you are suffering from asthma, always ensure that you keep your asthma under control.
Do not change your medication or go for the over the counter drugs before consulting your medical provider. In case you need to stay at home or work from home, ensure that you have enough medical suppliers and you know how to use your inhaler. Take the necessary steps to keep your mental health in check. As more cases are discovered, you may find yourself anxious or overwhelmed.
- How can I look after my asthma during the pandemic
Some elements of your plan may be different during the pandemic. If you experience an emergency, ensure that you follow the steps on your action plan in order to get the usual care. For those with moderate to severe conditions, follow these steps:
- Keep taking your prescription- this will help you reduce the risks of an asthmatic attack. Common triggers, such as respiratory viruses, may also be reduced
- Always carry your reliever inhaler – having the inhaler everywhere will be helpful in case the symptoms flare up
- If you have a peak flow meter, start a peak flow diary- this is a good way of tracking your asthma and differentiating it from similar Covid-19 symptoms.
Whether you have a severe condition or a mild allergy, an ENT doctor could review your condition and help you come up with the best action plan. Talk to an expert for any allergy-related advice, medication, or ENT issue pertaining to asthma and allergies.