Since December 2019, the whole world came to a standstill: lockdowns, deaths, and infections – everything because of a new coronavirus variant named SARS-CoV-2.
Since SARS-CoV-2 is an acute respiratory syndrome, many people relate it to severe asthma, a long-term inflammatory disease that affects the lungs. Luckily, there is no evidence to date to prove any positive correlation between COVID-19 and asthma, which means there are no high COVID infection rates among people with asthma.
A Few Findings That Break Asthma and COVID Positive Correlation
Now, look at some of the key findings from the studies conducted on the COVID infection and asthma exacerbation. If you are worried about a positive correlation between asthma and COVID, you can now take a sigh of relief.
- Although recent research by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that people with asthma – moderate to severe – could be at greater risk for COVID infection, no other published research data currently supports this claim.
- Several kinds of research have been published, and various studies have been conducted to learn about the relationship between asthma and COVID. However, most of these studies failed to confirm an increased risk of COVID-19 among people with asthma. On the flip side, no studies have yet proved people with asthma have a high risk of developing CoVID-19 or other respiratory infections.
- However, a few studies like this by the Harvard School of Public Health indicate that CoVID infections may be related to non-allergic asthma. But most of these studies fail to consider whether the subjects have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), a proven risk for COVID-19 infection.
- New York Times reports an early study that strikes off asthma as a risk factor for CoVID-19 infection despite this fact has never been shown in any other studies.
When you take all the facts of the studies presented above, we can conclude that people with asthma are not at risk (not even a slight risk) of contracting CoVID-19. But it will contradict other risk factors like COPD and obesity that positively correlate with CoVID-19.
How does COVID Spread?
Like most respiratory infections, the coronavirus spreads through close person-to-person contact. For example, an infected person can spread the virus by coughing, heavy breathing, sneezing, singing, or even talking. The virus gets expelled from their mouth or nose as small or large droplets out into the air.
So, whenever you come into contact with an infected person within 6 feet or 2 meters, you stand at the highest risk of contracting CoVID-19. However, as tiny droplets can quickly spread in the air, there is a possibility of getting infected even if you stand more than 6 feet away from an infected person.
Another case is with the asymptomatic carriers of the virus; that means people who are infected with CoVID but do not show any symptoms. Unfortunately, there is no other way than wearing masks and keeping a social distance to avoid getting infected by asymptomatic virus carriers.
Q&A Session to Tear Down Asthma and COVID Myths
Now, you know asthma attacks and COVID-19 are not correlated and never lead to complications of bronchial asthma. Anyway, if you have a few more doubts lingering in your mind, and the Q&A session below will take care of the rest.
Q: Are people with asthma at higher risk of developing severe CoVID-19 complications?
A: Asthma, a long-term respiratory inflammation disease, has many sides, and the research data doesn’t show the risk of COVID infection is the same for every patient. Studies have shown that people with asthma (mild to moderate) who brought it under control and never showed any recent asthma recurrence are not at a high-risk point of developing severe COVID-19 complications.
On the other hand, evidence shows that people with asthma (moderate to severe and non-allergic) with lower lung function, including those who have been using systemic steroids, are at increased risk of contracting COVID-19.
Q: Is it safe to use an asthma inhaler or follow medications if you are infected with COVID-19?
A: Inhalers and medications are asthma precautions, and yes, it is safe to use them. Several pieces of research have focused on the effect and safety of inhaled steroids on COVID-19 patients. The studies found that controller medications like leukotriene modifiers and long-acting bronchodilators are safe.
Currently, no evidence is available to prove that any therapies for asthma patients that suppress their immune system would increase the risk of contracting COVID-19. Moreover, while more studies are being conducted on this subject, you can continue using asthma controller medications.
Q: Is wearing masks safe for people with asthma?
A: Yes, masks are safe for people with asthma or any asthma classification. Not only asthma patients, but we all should wear them, especially when we cannot keep a social distance or whenever we are around unvaccinated people.
Q: Which type of mask offers better protection against the COVID-19 virus?
A: A medical-grade disposable mask that perfectly and comfortably fits the face with no air gaps on the sides or near the nose offer better protection against the COVID-19 virus. Remember that you should dispose of this mask after single usage.
It is expected that some people with asthma experience difficulty in breathing while wearing masks, particularly medical-grade masks like N95, and they should, if needed, remove masks occasionally to take a breath.
Q: Would you recommend the COVID-19 vaccine to people with asthma?
A: Yes, everyone should get COVID vaccination to reduce the risk of contracting the virus or hospitalization from COVID-19 infection. But for people with asthma who have a history of serious repercussions, it is recommended to consult a physician about vaccine-related precautions.
Q: Should people with asthma continue to wear masks after vaccination?
A: Yes, everyone, including people with asthma, should wear masks despite being vaccinated. They should wear a mask, particularly in public spaces where there is high virus spread or in any circumstances where they may come in close contact with unvaccinated people. Moreover, their weak immune system demands people with asthma should consider wearing a mask more frequently.
Coronavirus’s seasonal versions can trigger asthma exacerbations, whether you suffer from respiratory infections or don’t. However, the SARS-CoV-2 does not trigger asthma exacerbations like the other two pandemic-causing coronaviruses, such as SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV. Anyway, people with asthma need to keep their asthma symptoms under control so that their lungs will always be prepared to fight against any allergen or infection that could lead to asthma exacerbation.
Now you learn that there is nothing to worry over asthma and COVID positive correlation. So, during this pandemic, people with asthma can, without worry, continue with their routine lifestyle by taking controller medication and informing their personal physician if any COVID or asthma symptoms develop. And, always keep in mind to wash hands frequently and practice social distancing.