Respiratory Illness During Covid-19

Respiratory Illness During Covid-19

Dr. Vijayant Solanki, Specialist- Pulmonology, Aster Medical Centre, Qatar

Studies show that asthma doesn’t raise your chances of getting infected with COVID-19. But if you do get sick, your symptoms could be worse than other people’s because you already have trouble breathing.

However, if you have severe uncontrolled asthma or chronic respiratory illness, you are likely to be more prone to falling sick from COVID-19. Coronavirus can affect the upper respiratory system (nose, sinuses and throat) with flu-like symptoms, the lower respiratory system (airways and lungs) by causing cough with or without mucous and difficulty in breathing. When COVID-19 is severe it can bring on asthma attacks, Pneumonia or Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS).

ARDS is life threatening. It is an injury to the lungs caused by infection or trauma. ARDS causes fluid to leak into the lungs. This makes it extremely difficult to breathe and causes a significant lack of oxygen getting into the bloodstream. The lack of oxygen harms the brain, organs and body tissues. The best way to protect yourself is to avoid being exposed to this virus.

Some tips to keep in mind:

  • Patients with chronic respiratory illness need to be extra vigilant about practicing personal hygiene
  • Identify and avoid your asthma triggers
  • Take everyday precautions to practice social distancing between yourself and others
  • When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick
  • Clean your hands often by washing with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid crowded areas and people who are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands and when removing mask
  • Continue your current medications, including any inhalers with steroids in them
  • Do not stop any medications or change your asthma treatment plan without talking to your physician
  • Ensure the availability of emergency supply of prescription medications, such as asthma inhalers.
  • Make sure you have enough medications and supplies, in case you need to stay home for a long time.

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