For Patients NEW - Coronavirus COVID-19 Respiratory Medicine

Asthma Advice for Coronavirus COVID-19

Dr Stuart Sanders MB ChB, FRCGP, DCH, DRCOG, MRCS, LRCP, and Dr Sam Bennett BSc MBBCh MRCS MRCGP DOcc Med Class 1 Aviation Medical Examiner, from The London General Practice elaborate on how Coronavirus COVID-19 affects patients who are living with asthma.

How does COVID-19 affect me if I have asthma?

Suffering from asthma can make you more vulnerable to the known effects of COVID-19, potentially resulting in a higher risk of complications or pneumonia.

Am I more likely to be infected because I have asthma?

No, having asthma does not make you more likely to become infected with COVID-19.  Taking the precautions of social distancing and shielding as outlined by Public Health England are the best ways of reducing your risks of becoming infected or infecting others.

Are people who get COVID-19 who have asthma more likely to have serious complications from COVID-19?

This will depend upon the severity of your asthma.  The worse it is, the greater will be the adverse impact of COVID-19.  People with severe asthma have been included as high risk by Public Health England as a group who need to take extra precautions.

Can I increase my normal dosage of treatments to protect myself from COVID-19?

Increasing your dosage will not help protect you from Coronavirus COVID-19, however, if you contract COVID-19 and are suffering from asthma you may be advised to change your dosage but you must speak to your GP first about this.

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Will my inhaler help if I catch COVID-19?

Your inhaler reduces the symptoms of asthma if you use it as instructed and may help you breathe more easily, but it will not protect you from COVID-19.

What do I do if I get infected and have asthma?

The best approach is to discuss this with your GP.  You should ensure you take your medication in order to minimise your asthma symptoms, which might mean increasing the dose of your steroid inhaler if you have COVID-19 but you must discuss this with your GP who will advise you. 

Is the supply of inhalers and other asthma medication likely to be affected by COVID-19?

The supply chain should be secure and there is no evidence at this stage of any problem acquiring inhalers.

What can I do to prepare and prevent for Coronavirus COVID-19?

Follow strictly the Government guidance to self-isolate. People with severe asthma fall into a category defined by Public Health England as extremely vulnerable and are advised to take shielding precautions. Shielding is an enhanced social distancing where individuals should not leave their house at all or have contact with any people within their household.