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Infectious Diseases

Updated 20 March 2020

What you need to know about the new coronavirus if you have asthma

Are asthma sufferers more vulnerable and at higher risk of contracting the new coronavirus?

If you have asthma, you are among those at greatest risk in the coronavirus pandemic and must take precautions, the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) says.

It's important to keep your asthma well-controlled, so continue your medications. No asthma medications – including inhaled corticosteroids and biologics – have been shown to increase the risk of picking up the Covid-19 virus, according to the ACAAI.

And, the group added, if you do get the virus, there's no information that asthma medications will make your infection worse.

The ACAAI recommends contacting your allergist if you have any questions, have trouble breathing or your asthma symptoms become more severe.

Other people at higher risk from the coronavirus include the elderly, and people with immunodeficiency or other chronic conditions that weaken the immune system.

Keep control

For now, the ACAAI is advising those with asthma or who may have immunodeficiency to continue with treatments. Nebulizers should be used and cleaned properly. It's important that your asthma remains well-controlled.

So far, 80% of coronavirus cases are mild and last for a limited time. Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

The ACAAI is advising people to follow these US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention recommendations:

  • Stay at least 2m away from people who are sick.
  • Don't touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Use tissues to cover coughs and sneezes, then discard tissue immediately.
  • Clean/disinfect objects and surfaces that are touched often.
  • If you're sick, stay at home.

READ | Coronavirus: What are the criteria for a suspected case?

READ | Yes, kids CAN still get coronavirus, but this is what you should know

READ | How long can coronavirus survive in the air and on surfaces; and why do you need to wash your hands?

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