COVID-19 advice for asthmatics on World Asthma Day

Tuesday, 05 May, 2020

COVID-19 advice for asthmatics on World Asthma Day

Doctors are giving advice to the 2.7 million Australians with asthma about how the novel coronavirus affects them.

House Call Doctor Clinical Director Doctor Ryan Harvey said the good news is that it doesn’t appear that those with asthma are any more likely to contract COVID-19, but they must assess their symptoms and ensure they have medical supplies.

“Unfortunately, there still remains very little evidence of research into COVID-19 and the effect on people with asthma,” Dr Harvey said.

“This is due to the fact that COVID-19 has only been around a few short months, but early indicators suggest those with asthma are not experiencing any more severe illness then those of the general population.”

Dr Harvey said while shortness of breath is a symptom of both asthma and COVID-19, most asthma sufferers should be familiar with their usual symptoms.

“Asthma is characterised by constriction of the airways of the lungs producing wheeze, shortness of breath and cough. It can be triggered by allergies, the change in weather, exercise or viral illness, while coronavirus is an acute viral infection which is most characterised by a fever, cough, shortness of breath and possibly body aches.

“If an asthma sufferer is concerned that their symptoms are different, not improving with their usual asthma medication or thinks they may have contracted a virus or coronavirus, they should consult their doctor as to what testing and treatment may be necessary.”

Dr Harvey said it was vital that asthmatics continue to follow their asthma plans and reassured sufferers there was no need to stockpile medication.

“There are currently restrictions in place at pharmacies to prevent people from stockpiling to ensure pharmacies do not run out of asthma medication. Pharmacies have plenty of stock of medication, such as Ventolin or salbutamol, for those who have asthma.”

Dr Harvey said it was important to note that advice for asthma sufferers may change as medical experts better understand COVID-19 and its impact.

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