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COVID-19 Poses Serious Risk to People With COPD, Asthma

People living with chronic pulmonary obstructive disorder (COPD), asthma or other chronic lung diseases should take extra precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to experts from the American Lung Association.

"Everyone's health is at risk from COVID-19, and those living with a lung disease or who are immunocompromised may be more vulnerable to the impacts of the virus," said Dr. Albert Rizzo, the association's chief medical officer.

To protect themselves from COVID-19, which can cause a pneumonia-like lung infection with a range of symptoms from mild or absent in some to life-threatening in others, Rizzo said it is important for people with chronic lung diseases to take their medications while keeping their healthcare provider updated about any symptoms or changes in their health. This includes patients with lung cancer whose immune systems may be compromised.

Social distancing – maintaining 6 feet between yourself another person – is one way to lessen the chances of getting infected with COVID-19. Other measures include washing your hands for at least 20 seconds, avoiding touching your face, nose and mouth and, perhaps most importantly, avoiding contact with people who have contracted the virus.

“It’s important for those with lung disease to use their best practices in managing their disease,” Rizzo said.

Chronic lung disease isn’t the only condition that can lead to complications from COVID-19. Cigarette smokers, including people who vape and use e-cigarettes, are also at an increased risk, Rizzo said.

"Cigarette smoking and vaping are linked to lung inflammation and lowered immune function in the lung's airways, both of which can increase the likelihood of complications if exposed to COVID-19," he said. "Therefore, long-term smokers and e-cigarette users may have a higher risk of developing chronic lung conditions associated with severe cases."

Access the full article here from Web MD.