Coronavirus: What do people with asthma need to know?

Olivia Petter
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In April the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published guidelines for people suffering from asthma during the coronavirus outbreak.

The guidance has been published to ensure the safety of adults and children suffering from asthma during the ongoing pandemic.

This is because having respiratory problems can put you at higher risk of developing severe symptoms from Covid-19.

According to the NICE guidelines, people who suffer from asthma should continue taking their prescribed treatment as normal,

This is because there is no evidence that biological therapies for asthma suppress immunity.

Asthma UK has also provided tips for people with asthma that they can follow in order to reduce their risk fo asthma symptoms, including ensuring that they keep taking their preventer inhaler daily as prescribed, that they carry a reliever inhaler and that they also follow a peak flow diary, keeping note of their asthma symptoms.

What happens if I develop symptoms of Covid-19?

If you develop symptoms, you need to stay at home for at least seven days, states Asthma UK.

Symptoms include a new and continuous cough and a raised temperature.

You do not need to phone 111 to inform them of your symptoms if they are mild.

Your symptoms should have passed by around seven days so be aware if they are persistent or getting worse.

What should I do if my symptoms get worse?

If the symptoms get worse, or they don't go away after seven days, you should phone 111 or, if you need emergency care, 999, says Asthma UK.

When you phone them, tell them that you suffer from asthma.

Should I need to attend an appointment at hospital, can I bring someone with me?

Unfortunately, due to the risk of increasing the spread of coronavirus, anyone attending hospital appointments on lockdown is being encouraged to attend alone.

If for whatever reason they absolutely cannot attend alone, they are entitled to bring just one person with them.

Could I speak to my GP over video?

GPs may be able to conduct appointments over video call or the phone to minimise physical interaction.

This will minimise the risk of infection.

How should I use and clean my inhaler?

NICE encourages people using inhalers to wash their hands before doing so.

The guidelines also urge people not to share their inhalers with anyone else to minimise the risk of infection.

Inhalers should also be cleaned regularly with detergent, such as washing up liquid.

You can read more about what to do if you have asthma on Asthma UK's website.

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