May is Asthma Awareness Month, one of the most common lifelong chronic diseases in the U.S. with more than 25 million Americans living with it. As the world faces the biggest health emergency of modern time, the outbreak of the coronavirus COVID-19, it is more important than ever that people with asthma know how to keep their condition under control.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “people with moderate to severe asthma may be at higher risk of getting extremely sick from COVID-19. Like asthma, the COVID-19 virus affects your respiratory system (nose, throat, lungs), which may cause an asthma attack and lead to pneumonia and acute respiratory disease.”
The CDC highly recommends that people with asthma keep their condition under control by following their “Asthma Action Plan,” that we’ve summarized in five steps:
- Continue taking your current medications as prescribed, including any inhalers with steroids in them. Don’t stop any medication or change your asthma treatment plan without talking to your healthcare provider.
- Discuss any concerns about your treatment with your healthcare provider. Inform your healthcare provider if you have to use your rescue inhaler more frequently than usual, as it may indicate poor disease control.
- Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist about creating an emergency supply of prescription medications, such as asthma inhalers. Make sure that you have at least 30 days of over-the-counter (OTC) medications and supplies on hand just in case you need to stay home for a long time.
- Know how to use your inhalers and over-the-counter (OTC) medications, if needed.
- Avoid your asthma triggers like dust mites and tobacco smoke. Also, take steps to help yourself cope with stress and anxiety as strong emotions can trigger an asthma attack. As more cases of COVID-19 are discovered, and our communities take action to combat the spread of disease, it is natural for some people to feel concerned or stressed.
It is also essential to clean and disinfect objects you or your family touch frequently. If possible, have someone who doesn’t have asthma do the cleaning and disinfecting. When they use cleaning and disinfecting products, have them:
- Make sure that people with asthma are not in the room.
- Open windows or doors and use a fan that blows air outdoors.
- Minimize the use of disinfectants that can cause an asthma attack. Do not mix disinfectants.
- Spray or pour spray products onto a cleaning cloth or paper towel instead of spraying the product directly onto the cleaning surface, if the product label allows.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces like phones, remotes, tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks daily.
As part of our Better Care efforts, Abarca goes all in to bring awareness to the COVID-19 virus as information becomes available to us. It is crucial for people who have asthma to know the risks presented to them and to be prepared in case they feel flu-like symptoms. Help spread the word to keep our communities safe in this new reality.
This blog was written by Suzette Velez, Director Of Clinical Services at Abarca Health.