Asthma and COVID-19

Coronavirus is the deadliest health problem of this century. This pandemic has changed the outlook of world by continuous replicating with recent discovery of its delta variant the future management of the disease seems unpredictable. The COVID-19 destroys the lining cells of the respiratory tract and digestive tract. If an infected person has asthma, COVID-19 can worsen the symptoms.

The connection between Asthma and COVID-19

As both diseases are linked with the respiratory tract, therefore the severity of one disease will complicate the other. An infected person having asthma has a quick attack and onset of pneumonia and other lung diseases. A study shows asthma does not help in the spread of infection but can raise the symptoms of COVID-19. 

Asthma

Asthma is the inflammatory disease of the lung affecting adults and children. It causes the narrowing, swelling, and excessive mucus secretions of the airways making breathing difficult. It is caused by inflammation, bronchoconstriction, or hyperreactivity. Research by WHO shows that almost 5% of the world population is suffering from Asthma.

Types

There are different types of asthma.

  • Allergic asthma
  • Non-allergic asthma
  • Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction
  • Seasonal asthma
  • Occupational asthma

Allergic Asthma

Allergic asthma is the most common type. It is characterized by the hyperreactivity of the walls of the lower respiratory tract to the allergens. The allergens also known as triggers include dust particles, smoke, pollens, house dust mites, mold, etc. Irritants such as perfumes, chemicals, and drugs also cause asthma. When allergens enter the body, it overresponses to these, resulting in inflammation.

Symptoms of Asthma

      The symptoms are

  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness
  • Wheezing or whistling sound during breath

Asthma effects on COVID patient

  • Covid has brought suffering for all people in the world. Especially people with old age, heart diseases, diabetes, and severe asthma are more affected.
  • The examination of the blood of the covid patient revealed that it contains a huge number of cytokines and interleukins, the same mediators that are involved in the allergic reaction of asthma.
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme ACE converts angiotensin I into angiotensin II which is a potent mediator of lung hypertension and lung damage. ACE2 is mainly involved in the negative regulation of ACE and protects the lungs from damage. Coronavirus binds with the ACE-2 in the host cells of blood vessels, lungs, heart, and intestines making it inactive. Thus, the virus causes severe acute respiratory syndrome SARS hence named SARS-CoV.

Management of the COVID-19 asthmatic patient

If any relative of yours or you have asthma then it is dangerous for you in this coronavirus outbreak. You must follow some precautions to keep yourself safe.

  • You should not leave home to avoid contact with the virus. You need to keep all required substances at home.
  • Protect yourself from a sick family member who has cold-like symptoms
  • Get vaccinated as soon as possible
  • Keep your inhalers and nebulizers (in the case of a child) with yourself all the time.
  • If cold-like symptoms appear, contact the doctor as soon as possible.

Medication

  • Quick relievers

Short-acting B2 agonists such as albuterol and terbutaline for acute attacks.

  • Preventive inhalers

Use corticosteroids inhalers for prevention e.g. dexamethasone, budesonide, and prednisone. Use them regularly to prevent an acute attack.

  • Antihistamines and long-acting B2 agonists may be used for prevention. e.g. vilanterol
References
  • Abrams, E. M. (2020). Asthma and COVID-19. CMAJ, 192(20), E551-E551.
  • Bousquet, J. J. (2021). ARIA‐EAACI statement on asthma and COVID‐19. Allergy, 76(3), 689-697.
Keywords

Coronavirus, Asthma, Allergic asthma, Non-allergic asthma, Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction, Seasonal asthma, Occupational asthma,  COVID-19, Corticosteroids inhalers, Antihistamines 

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