COVID-19 Information for Those with Allergies or Asthma

COVID-19 Information for Those with Allergies or Asthma

As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the United States and the world, physicians and doctors are hearing from their patients – those with allergies and especially those suffering from asthma. They are worried that having asthma means they’re at increased risk for developing symptoms from COVID-19 if they are exposed. They also wonder if their symptoms will be more dangerous if they have the virus. In addition, an announcement regarding a shortage of albuterol has increased anxiety throughout the country.

It is important if you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or suspect you may have COVID-19 and are using a nebulizer at home, that you know the virus may persist in droplets in the air for 1-2 hours. Therefore, you should administer nebulized albuterol in a location that minimizes exposure to members of your household who aren’t infected. Choose a location for your treatment where air is not recirculated into the home – places like a porch or patio, or in a garage – areas where surfaces can be cleaned more easily or may not need cleaning.

The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Recommends:

  • Continuing or resuming your asthma routine that helps you control your symptoms.
  • Using short acting rescue medications as needed for symptoms.
  • Following your asthma action plan if you have one.
  • Following CDC guidelines regarding infection control, hygiene, social distancing, etc.
  • If you have an upcoming appointment, please call to confirm. Many healthcare professionals are using telemedicine for return appointments.
  • Contacting your healthcare team if you have questions about your medications or if your symptoms seem to be worsening or not under control.

What You Should Know about COVID-19 & Asthma

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has listed asthma as one of the chronic illnesses that may increase the chance of a severe case of COVID-19. So, here is what you need to know if you or a family member suffers from asthma.

  • Respiratory viruses are the most common trigger for asthma exacerbations (severe worsening typically requiring oral steroids to relieve symptoms).
  • Not all viruses affect asthma patients equally. Some viruses such as influenza and rhinovirus are more likely to trigger asthma flares than others.
  • Right now, we don’t know if COVID-19 is one of those viruses that tends to trigger asthma exacerbation.
  • There is no clear evidence that patients with asthma are at any higher risk of contracting COVID-19.
  • Asthma is an “underlying medical condition” that may be associated with more severe disease if you are infected with COVID-19.
  • There is no evidence that asthma medications used to prevent symptoms (inhaled steroids, oral steroids, montelukast, biologics), etc. increase your risk of contracting COVID-19.
  • If you become infected, use caution and avoid experimental treatments unless the treatment is specifically recommended by the physician caring for you.

How to Tell the Difference between COVID-19, Asthma, & Nasal Allergies

SymptomCOVID-19AsthmaAllergies
Dry cough 
Mucus/postnasal drip  
Chest discomfort/pain  
Shortness of breath 
Wheezing  
Fever  
Sneezing  
Nasal and eye watering and itching  

Read more on Cold, Flu, or Allergy Do You Know the Difference?

Disclaimer: This article is based on the most current information available at the time of publication; however, recommendations regarding public safety and practice may change rapidly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Individuals can get up-to-date information on COVID-19 from the CDC website, CDC.gov.

The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology are continuously updating their website with COVID-19 resources for people with allergies and asthma. Visit education.acaai.org/coronavirus for more information.

Source: American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, acaai.org

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