Asthma, a condition constricting the airways carrying air into lungs, can not only make it hard to breathe but can often lead to wheezing, chest tightness, breathlessness and coughing. The Covid pandemic has only worsened the situation for asthma patients as their much more susceptible to contracting the virus and Covid19 symptoms can be amplified considerably more. Asthma may not be considered a serious condition by most people, however, asthma compounded by other infections can increase the risk. A very important aspect for all patients is to know the triggers so one can keep away from them and be protected from another attack.
Prevention better than cure:
Elaborating on how to tackle an attack especially if the patient is not sure if it is due to asthma or Covid19, Dr Sandeep Nayar, Senior Director & HOD, Chest & Respiratory Diseases, BLK-MAX Super Speciality Hospital shares some advice. He says, “People feeling breathless may sometimes confuse between Covid19 symptoms and an asthma attack. The major symptoms seen nowadays in Covid19 positive patients are breathlessness instead of fever or any other common Covid19 symptoms such as sore throat, headache, cough etc. In such a situation it is best to use the inhaler so the asthma attack can be managed. In case of asthma patients having contracted Covid19, inhalers and bronchodilators as well as other medications should be continued as per schedule. Nebulisers are useful in handling Covid induced bronchospasms. Asthma patients can easily use nebulization, with or without steroids, to help alleviate chest congestions and pressure.”
Also stressing the need for timely vaccination, Dr Nayar said, “All asthma patients above 18 years of age 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. However, those having had an immediate or severe allergic reaction to the vaccine or any of its ingredients, must consult their physician.”
Some suggestive measures by Dr Nayar for asthmatic patients:
If you’ve recently recovered from an acute Covid19 infection, delay getting the vaccine until you’re fully recovered and done with self-isolation and quarantine measures.
Eat a healthy diet rich in nutrients and proteins. Avoid eating out and foods rich in oil.
Take steam twice daily to avoid chest congestion. Keep necessary medicines stocked up
Keep anxiety and stress levels as low as possible. Take prescribed medicines and inhalers.
Also, if you had the infection after receiving the first dose of vaccine, then wait at least 1month after recovery before getting the other dose.
If, along with asthma, you also have other conditions causing immune deficiency like HIV or cancers, consult your doctor before getting the vaccine
Do not step out of home. If unavoidable, wear a double mask while going out
Quit smoking as it can be very dangerous for patients with asthma or other respiratory
illnesses. Avoid outdoor exercises, focus on breathing exercises, and doing yoga indoors
Respiratory viruses can trigger and worsen asthma symptoms and if a person has uncontrolled asthma, they may develop or face severe Covid19 symptoms. Uncontrolled asthma can mean that there will already be inflammation in the lungs and airways will be compromised so in many cases Covid19 may even lead to pneumonia, fibrosis (thick and stiff lung walls) or other intense respiratory diseases.
(Disclaimer: The information in the article is courtesy BLK-Max Super Speciality Hospital, please consult your doctor before following any guidelines.)