Tackling an asthma attack effectively, especially in COVID-19 positive patients, is crucial in saving lives. Asthma, a condition that constricts 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 Covid symptoms can be amplified considerably more. Respiratory viruses can trigger and worsen asthma symptoms and if a person has uncontrolled asthma, they may develop or face severe COVID symptoms. Uncontrolled asthma can mean that there will already be inflammation in the lungs and airways will be compromised. So in many cases, Covid may even lead to pneumonia, fibrosis (thick and stiff lung walls) or other intense respiratory diseases. Also Read – 90 COVID-19 patients in Maharashtra suffer severe Remdesivir side-effects : Use of drug suspended
Treating asthma attack in COVID-19 patients
Elaborating on how to tackle an attack especially if the patient is not sure if it is due to asthma or Covid, Dr Sandeep Nayar, Senior Director & HOD, Chest & Respiratory Diseases, BLK-MAX Super Speciality Hospital says, People feeling breathless may sometimes confuse between Covid symptoms and an asthma attack. The major symptoms seen nowadays in Covid positive patients are breathlessness instead of fever or any other common Covid 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 Covid-19, inhalers and bronchodilators as well as other medications should be continued as per schedule. Nebulisers are again very useful in handling Covid induced bronchospasms. Asthma patients can easily use nebulization, with or without steroids, to help alleviate chest congestions and pressure. Also Read – Coronavirus: Your Lungs Can Give You Early Symptoms Of COVID-19 Infection – Check These Signs
Vaccination important to reduce complications
Also stressing the need for 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. Also Read – Risk factors of severe COVID-19 complication in people with diabetes identified, but metformin reduces risk
Precautions for asthma patients
As per Dr Nayar, some measures that asthmatic patients must observe to keep safe are as follows:
- If youve recently recovered from an acute Covid infection, delay getting the vaccine until youre fully recovered and done with self-isolation and quarantine measures
- 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.
- Take prescribed medicines and inhalers. Keep necessary medicines stocked up
- 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 anxiety and stress levels as low as possible
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.