With the global impact of COVID-19, you may be wondering what this means for people with asthma. Today we're going to answer two main questions that we hope will help you stay healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Are People With Asthma at Risk of Severe Illness From COVID-19? Many studies show that having asthma does not put you at a greater risk of getting COVID-19 or having severe COVID-19. A study published in “The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice” found that people with well-controlled asthma have less severe COVID-19 outcomes than people with uncontrolled asthma. Even though people with asthma are not at the highest risk for COVID-19, it is still important to keep your asthma under control.
Can People With Asthma Wear Face Masks? Yes, people with asthma can wear face masks. “For people with mild asthma or well-controlled asthma, it’s probably not going to be an issue,” said Dr. David Stukus, member of the Medical Scientific Council for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). “For people who have very severe disease and have frequent exacerbations, ER visits, hospitalizations, require lots of medications and frequent symptoms, it might cause more issues for those folks.” If you’re having trouble wearing a mask, try a different fabric or fit. According to the WHO, medical masks when worn the right way do not cause you to breathe in more carbon dioxide or reduce your oxygen levels. And a face mask made of three layers probably won’t fit tightly enough to affect your oxygen either. If your mask is uncomfortable, try a new type of mask.
Keep taking your asthma medicines as prescribed even in an epidemic. It is important to make your asthma under control.
References: 1. Chhiba, K.D., Patel, G.B., Vu, T.H.T, Chen, M.M., Guo, A., Kudlaty, E., Mai, Q., Yeh, C., Muhammad, L.N., Harris, K.E., Bochner, B.S., Grammar, L.C., Greenberger, P.A., Kalhan, R., Kuang, F.L., Saltoun, C.A., Schleimer, R.P., Stevens, W.W., & Peters, A.T. (2020). Prevalence and characterization of asthma in hospitalized and non-hospitalized patients with COVID-19, Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2020.06.010. 2. Butler, M. W., O’Reilly, A., Dunican, E. M., Mallon, P., Feeney, E. R., Keane, M. P., & McCarthy, C. (2020). Prevalence of comorbid asthma in COVID-19 patients. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2020.04.061 3. Lieberman-Cribbin, W., Rapp, J., Alpert, N., Tuminello, S., & Taioli, E. (2020). The Impact of Asthma on Mortality in Patients With COVID-19. Chest. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chest.2020.0air pol.575 4. Huang, B. Z., Chen, Z., Sidell, M. A., Eckel, S. P., Martinez, M. P., Lurmann, F., Thomas, D. C., Gilliland, F. D., & Xiang, A. H. (2021). Asthma disease Status, COPD, and COVID-19 severity in a large Multiethnic POPULATION. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaip.2021.07.030 5. https://community.aafa.org/blog/what-people-with-asthma-need-to-know-about-face-masks-and-coverings-during-the-covid-19-pandemic, Medical Review June 2021 by Mitchell Grayson, MD. Updated October 2021