Asthma is a condition that affects millions of Indians, causing constriction of airways carrying air within the lungs. This results in difficulty in breathing and can also lead to wheezing, chest tightness, and coughing. The Covid-19 pandemic has made Asthma patients more susceptible to contracting the virus and may have more severe symptoms. Respiratory viruses such as the Covid-19 virus can have an adverse effect on asthma patients, triggering and worsening symptoms. Those with uncontrolled asthma may develop or face severe Covid-19 symptoms.
This can, in turn, lead to inflammation of the lungs, compromising the airways. Pneumonia, Fibrosis (thick and stiff lung walls), or other intense respiratory diseases may also develop in an asthma patient suffering from Covid-19.
In such cases, patients should always keep inhalers, bronchodilators, and other medications close by. Nebulizers are particularly useful in managing Covid-19-induced acute attacks of bronchospasms. If a patient has chest congestion, then inhalers and nebulization, with or without steroids, can help alleviate his/her symptoms.
Dr Sandeep Nayar, Senior Director and HOD, Chest and Respiratory Diseases, BLK-MAX Super Speciality Hospital explains how asthmatic patients are at higher risk of Covid-19 infection.
World Asthma Day 2023: Is Covid-19 Vaccination Mandatory For Asthma Patients?
For all asthmatic patients, vaccination is mandatory even if they’ve been previously infected with Covid-19. Getting vaccinated will prevent patients from contracting the virus and reduce the severity of any prevalent symptoms. Those patients who are likely to have an allergic reaction to the vaccine and its components must consult a physician before receiving the same.
World Asthma Day 2023: Preventive Measures For Covid-19
Preventive measures are always preferable for asthma patients. Wearing an N95 mask while stepping outdoors, quitting smoking, avoiding outdoor exercises, and focusing on breathing exercises and indoor yoga are some of the measures that patients can take. Stocking up on necessary medication, eating a healthy diet rich in nutrients and proteins, taking steam twice a day to avoid chest congestion and managing anxiety and stress levels are other necessary steps.
World Asthma Day 2023: How To Tackle An Asthma Attack?
Elaborating on how to tackle an attack especially if the patient is not sure if it is due to asthma or Covid, Dr Sandeep Nayar, Senior Director and HOD, Chest and Respiratory Diseases, BLK-MAX Super Speciality Hospital said, “People feeling breathless may sometimes confuse between Covid symptoms and an asthma attack. The major symptoms seen nowadays in Covid positive patients are breathlessness instead of fever or any other common Covid symptoms such as sore throat, headache, cough, etc. In such a situation, it is best to use an inhaler so the asthma attack can be managed. In case of asthma patients having contracted Covid, bronchodilators in the form of Inhalers as well as other medications should be continued as per schedule. Nebulisers/inhalers are again very useful in handling Covid induced bronchospasms. Asthma patients can easily use nebulization, with or without steroids, to help alleviate chest congestions and breathlessness.”
Also stressing the need for vaccination, Dr Nayar said, “All asthma patients (in fact everyone) must get vaccinated to prevent the deadly implications of the virus even if they get infected. Vaccination will not just help in protecting from the virus but will also help reduce the severity of the symptoms in case they get infected with Covid-19. However, those having/had an immediate or severe allergic reaction to the vaccine or any of its ingredients must consult their physician.” Especially stressing the need for vaccination in asthmatic because now Covid-19 is causing more severe symptoms in those who have comorbid conditions like asthma, COPD, heart or kidney problems, or suffering from malignancies and who are not fully vaccinated.
It’s critical to know your triggers to avoid another asthma attack. Asthma may not be considered a severe condition by many people, but it can be compounded by other infections, increasing the risk. All asthma patients are strongly advised to take necessary precautions and follow these guidelines to keep themselves safe. There is nothing to worry and asthmatic patients will lead a normal life like any healthy person if he/she takes medication regularly.