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How Asthmatics Can Stay Safe During the Pandemic

While there is no clear evidence of COVID-19 having a severe effect on asthmatics, the Center for Disease Control says that people with moderate to severe asthma may be at a higher risk of getting sick if they contract the virus.

“Patients with underlying conditions that specifically involve their lungs, like asthma, COPD, and chronic bronchitis, seem to be more at risk to develop pneumonias and the dreaded acute respiratory syndrome associated with COVID-19,” said Dr. Maruicio Heilbron, a trauma surgeon and vice chief of staff at St. Mary’s Medical Center in Long Beach, California.

There are things asthma sufferers can do to keep themselves safe during the pandemic, beginning with using their inhaler daily as prescribed.

“This will help decrease their risk of an asthma attack triggered by any respiratory virus, including coronavirus,” said Dr. Jonas Nilsen, co-founder of Practio, a travel vaccination and infectious disease advice specialist service.

Albuterol inhalers are being used in hospitals to help COVID-19 patients and are in short supply. It’s a good idea for asthmatics to work with their physician, pharmacist and insurance companies to create an emergency supply of prescriptions, especially if the quarantine continues longer than predicted.

Because they are at a higher risk, people with asthma may be stressed during the pandemic, and anxiety can bring on asthma attacks. There are many coping mechanisms to deal with the stress, such as healthy eating, exercise and meditation. During periods of isolation, it is also important to reach out to family and friends, whether by phone or online.

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