ASTHMA and COVID-19
For people with asthma, ensure that your asthma is as stable as possible. This means taking your inhaled steroids and other routine medications regularly as prescribed. Having a relieving inhaler is also important if your asthma worsens.
- Ensure that you have a sufficient supply of your medication at home and order in plenty of time to ensure they do not run out. Do not over stock.
- If you have been prescribed a nebuliser, continue to use it as directed. Public Health England do not consider nebulisation to be a viral droplet generating procedure and it is not considered an aerosol generating procedure for COVID-19.
- With the increasing number of COVID-19 cases, you may feel more concerned or anxious. Strong emotion can trigger an asthma attack and your mental health and wellbeing is paramount. Review the mental health organisation UK coronavirus help advice page.
- Stop smoking. It has been shown that current smoking is associated with a greater risk of severe complications from COVID-19.
It is still unclear whether asthma is a risk factor for COVID-19 and COVID-19 related complications. However, viruses are a common cause of asthma exacerbations. You are advised to follow all the recommended precautions by Public Health England including social distancing and shielding when appropriate. There is no evidence that inhaled steroids increase the risk of getting COVID-19, so please continue with your inhalers.
If you experience an exacerbation of asthma, you must continue to take your medication as advised and contact your General Practitioner to organise a telephone or video consultation. If a course of steroids is required, it should not be withheld. Antibiotics would be added if the sputum is thick, changes colour or increases.
COVID-19 presents with similar symptoms to an asthma attack with a cough and shortness of breath, however, if you have a high temperature, tiredness, change in taste or smell and are also wheezy then these symptoms are more likely to suggest COVID-19.
For patients on steroids, they should continue to take them at their prescribed dose as stopping steroids can be harmful.
If you become unwell then you should contact The London General Practice on 020 7935 1000, or dial 111 or 999 and you may need to increase the steroid dose appropriately.
If you have severe asthma and become unwell during the COVID-19 pandemic, you must inform your hospital asthma team.
If you are receiving biological therapies for asthma you should not stop these as there is no evidence that these suppress immunity.
The London General Practice