Monday | 11 May | 2020
By Marli Naidoo
As Covid-19 is a new disease, there is no total certainty about who is more susceptible. However, it has been found that older adults and people of any age with serious underlying conditions run a higher risk to become seriously ill. However, do conditions such as asthma and allergies place you in a vulnerable position?
Any viral respiratory airway infection can cause an asthma attack or loss of asthma control. People with moderate to serious asthma can therefore run a greater risk to become very ill due to Covid-19. Covid-19 can affect your respiratory tract (nose, throat, lungs), cause an asthma attack, and possibly lead to pneumonia and acute respiratory illnesses.
Asthma sufferers should aim at excellent asthma control during this time. Keep your asthma under control by following an asthma action plan. Continue with the use of your medication and don’t change or stop your treatment plan or medication prior to first discussing it with your doctor. Try to obtain an emergency delivery of your prescribed and non-prescribed medication, if you should have to stay at home for a while.
Avoid anything that could give you an asthma attack. Strong smells and fumes from hand cleaners and sanitizers can cause an asthma attack. Let someone else do the disinfections, and stay out of the area until all the smells have evaporated.
Strong emotions can cause you to have an attack. Talk to a therapist telephonically or online if you feel anxious about any uncertainty regarding Covid-19.
Make sure you are aware of coronavirus symptoms, and contact your doctor should you be concerned about any symptoms you experience.
People with allergies can run a higher risk of contracting Covid-19. When someone struggles with seasonal allergies, the mucus layer in his eyes, nose and throat can be irritated, and his immune system comes under pressure. This can make him more susceptible to diseases. The chances are also good that his eyes and nose will itch, which will cause him to want to scratch. If he has not washed his hands before scratching, and has touched an infected surface or person, he can contract diseases.
If you struggle with allergies, it is important that take social distancing seriously during this time. Take your medication regularly or as prescribed. Don’t touch your nose, eyes or mouth.
Serious underlying medical conditions that heighten your chances to contract Covid-19 and become seriously ill, include the following:
- Chronic lung diseases or moderate to serious asthma.
- Serious heart conditions.
- Any immunity deficiency. Many factors can cause this deficiency: cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplants, immunity conditions, poorly controlled HIV or Aids and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immunity weakening medications.
- Serious obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher).
- Chronic kidney disease accompanied by dialysis.
- Liver diseases.
If you suffer from any of these conditions, you have to take care to have as little as possible to do with others, and stay at home as much as possible. If you have to go out, wash or disinfect your hands regularly. Also eat healthily, take your necessary medication, and try to stay positive.
Centre for Disease Control and Management: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/underlying-conditions.html
World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200311-sitrep-51-covid-19.pdf?sfvrsn=1ba62e57_10#:~:text=The%20virus%20that%20causes%20COVID,provisions%20and%20social%20care.
South African Government: https://www.gov.za/coronavirus/faq#:~:text=If%20you%20are%20at%20higher,contact%20to%20essential%20people.
Centre for Disease Control and Management: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/asthma.html
Sinus and Allergy Wellness Center: https://www.sinusandallergywellnesscenter.com/blog/people-with-allergies-may-be-at-greater-risk-for-covid-19-and-6-ways-to-reduce-the-risks
* All information was correct at the time of publication.