Are Allergies & Asthma Patients at Higher Risk of Contracting the Coronavirus?

Are Allergies & Asthma Patients at Higher Risk of Contracting the Coronavirus?

As the novel coronavirus continuous to spread rapidly through many communities throughout the United States, scientists are learning more about how the disease affects individuals with certain underlying conditions.

During the early stages of the pandemic, experts anticipated that people diagnosed with respiratory diseases, including asthma and allergies, would have a higher risk of developing severe illness from COVID-19. However, emerging data doesn’t seem to support that assumption.

What Studies Reveal

While more research is needed, new data suggests asthma does not increase the risk of infection or of developing illness complications.

In a paper published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, researchers from Rutgers University discovered that asthma patients, even those with diminished lung function who receive treatment to manage asthmatic inflammation, did not seem to be more negatively affected by SARS-CoV-2 than non-asthmatic individuals.

Researchers, however, did not conclude why this is. There is an ongoing debate on whether the findings were due to physiological factors or a result of treatment administered to manage the inflammation.

Awareness of SARS-CoV-2 Is Helping People with Asthma

During the outset of the pandemic, doctors warned people living with asthma they might have a higher risk of contracting the disease and of developing complications from the illness.

This warning might have made asthma patients more cautious and hyper-vigilant about personal hygiene and their need to maintain adequate social distance.

Researchers from the study believe self-isolation and social distancing could improve asthma control by lowering the exposure to seasonal triggers, including allergens and other respiratory viruses.

The study also revealed evidence that asthma patients are more concerned with complying with treatment and taking their asthma medications during the pandemic, factors that can contribute to their overall health.

How Important is It To Continue With Existing Asthma Management Plans

Physicians and healthcare agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all agree that asthma patients should not interrupt their current asthma management plans, including biologic treatments.

Disease management compliance could explain why asthma patients are not more negatively affected by the coronavirus than non-asthma individuals. Medications can help control inflammation, and this can contribute to lessening symptoms caused by the coronavirus.

Patients need reassurance that it is safe to visit their physician and continue their treatments. Sharing cleaning and disinfecting protocols as well as other safety measures will help instill confidence that their physician’s office is a safe place for them to be.

Physician Considerations

Private practices across the nation continue to provide care for chronically ill patients, including those diagnosed with asthma and allergies.

The following recommendations can help physicians prevent the spread of the coronavirus:

  • When possible, establish non-face to face communication channels with patients to discuss symptoms and answer questions. Video chats and phone calls are good alternatives to consider.
  • Limit pulmonary function tests to urgent cases only as these tests may spread the virus.
  • Instruct asthma patients not to share inhalers or other devices. Additionally, advise them to wash their hands and clean equipment regularly.

The staff at Altus Biologics continues to focus all their efforts in helping physicians and patients feel confident that access to their treatments will continue to be available even during these trying times.

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