Asthma and COVID19: Breathing Easy during a Pandemic
* Asthma is a chronic disease that places you at higher risk of serious illness with COVID19 infection.
* Keeping your asthma well controlled will give you the best protection against serious COVID19 illness.
* Controlling your COVID19 exposure should be a high priority until we have a vaccine.
Does Asthma make you more vulnerable to COVID19?
Patients with chronic disease including chronic lung disease are having much more trouble with COVID19.
Many are dying when they become infected.
To be sure, having advanced age and asthma is a very concerning combination, but even young people with asthma should be concerned.
This is the time to get serious about asthma!
Your best defense is a strong offense.
Compared to the lungs of a person without asthma, your asthma lungs experience inflammation much more easily.
This tendency toward inflammation can be controlled by inhaled steroids and in some cases, new immune modulators.
Keeping a lid on this baseline inflammation should be our top priority all the time but especially during this COVID19 pandemic.
How does the COVID19 virus interact with your asthma lungs?
When it enters your body, the COVID19 virus attaches to the lining in the back of your throat.
From there, it moves to the airways of your lungs (bronchi and bronchioles).
Once there, virus particles attach to and hijack the manufacturing processes of airway cells. The result is that these cells pump out a continuous stream of virus particles.
When your immune system spots airway cells that have been taken over by the virus, it attacks them with a vengeance! The result is inflammation.
If your airways are already experiencing out-of-control inflammation, this is a disaster!
The addition of virus invasion and immune attack blows holes in tiny blood vessels, causing the lungs to fill with blood. Airflow is blocked and then you have a life-threatening inability to breathe.
The amount of virus matters.
The more virus particles that get into your mouth, nose or eyes, the more likely you will develop a severe infection with a dangerous inflammatory reaction.
Look, it is virtually impossible for every person on the planet to completely avoid COVID19.
But, getting the smallest amount of exposure at any time should be your goal.
Washing your hands is a basic and effective way reduced the amount of virus you are handling. Here’s how to wash!
Since virus are carried the the air, it is smart to keep a distance from people who might be carrying virus. This includes people that aren’t having fever or cough at all!
Wear a face covering.
I know, this is so hard to get your mind around – like, for how long are we gonna have to do this?
Nobody can say just yet.
We just have to focus on each day, doing everything we can to keep those lungs in good working condition.
Down the road, we can hang up these designer masks, and go to crowded concerts, and, well, get back to ‘normal’.
In the mean time, let’s keep asthma under control!
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* A spacer is needed to hold your asthma medicine in a cloud until you can pull it into your lungs with a deep breath.
* If you don’t use a spacer with your asthma medicine, it ends up on tongue and on the walls of your throat where it can’t help your asthma and usually causes a yeast infection.
* Spacers should be used with all of your asthma medicine that comes in a metered dose inhaler (MDI).
* Medicine administered by a dry powder inhaler does not require a spacer since the design of the inhaler stirs and suspends the dry powder particles so they can be inhaled deeply.