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As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the United States and the world, allergists are hearing from their patients – those with allergies and especially those suffering from asthma. They are worried that having asthma means they’re at increased risk for developing symptoms from COVID-19 if they are exposed. They also wonder if their symptoms will be more dangerous if they have the virus. In addition, an announcement regarding a shortage of albuterol has increased anxiety throughout the country. (Get updated information on FDA approval of a generic albuterol inhaler.)

It is important if you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or suspect you may have COVID-19 and are using a nebulizer at home, that you know the virus may persist in droplets in the air for 1-2 hours. Therefore, you should administer nebulized albuterol in a location that minimizes exposure to members of your household who aren’t infected. Choose a location for your treatment where air is not recirculated into the home – places like a porch or patio, or in a garage – areas where surfaces can be cleaned more easily or may not need cleaning.

The allergists of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology have information and tips to share. We are making every effort to keep our information updated and will be linking to the most current news on the virus to keep you in the loop.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has listed asthma as one of the chronic illnesses that may increase the chance of a severe case of COVID-19. So, what do you need to know if you or a family member suffers from asthma? Read the points below for more information.

  • Respiratory viruses are the most common trigger for asthma exacerbations (severe worsening typically requiring oral steroids to relieve symptoms).
  • Not all viruses affect asthma patients equally. Some viruses such as influenza and rhinovirus are more likely to trigger asthma flares than others.
  • Right now, we don’t know if COVID-19 is one of those viruses that tends to trigger asthma exacerbation.
  • There is no clear evidence that patients with asthma are at any higher risk of contracting COVID-19.
  • Asthma is an “underlying medical condition” that may be associated with more severe disease if you are infected with COVID-19.
  • There is no evidence that asthma medications used to prevent symptoms (inhaled steroids, oral steroids, montelukast, biologics), etc. increase your risk of contracting COVID-19.
  • If you become infected, use caution and avoid experimental treatments unless the treatment is specifically recommended by the physician caring for you.

The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology recommends:

  • Continuing or resuming your asthma routine that helps you control your symptoms.
  • Using short acting rescue medications as needed for symptoms.
  • Following your asthma action plan if you have one.
  • Following CDC guidelines regarding infection control, hygiene, social distancing, etc.
  • If you have an upcoming appointment with your allergist, please call to confirm. Many allergists are using telemedicine for return appointments.
  • Contacting your allergist if you have questions about your medications or if your symptoms seem to be worsening or not under control.

Links

Re-Opening America: What Patients Should Know About Seeking Healthcare (Current as of 6/8/2020)

CDC recommendations for coping with anxiety and stress during the pandemic (Reviewed 4/30/2020)

A message to asthma sufferers about a shortage of albuterol metered-dose inhalers (Updated 4/9/2020)

From the FDA: Beware of fraudulent Coronavirus tests, vaccines and treatments (Current as of 3/24/2020)

CDC recommendations for using cloth face coverings to help slow the spread of COVID-19 (4/4/2020)

During COVID-19 pandemic, normal allergy and asthma medications should be continued (3/26/2020)

Asthma-specific information and recommendations from the CDC (Updated 3/17/2020)

Resources for those with food allergies on accessing safe foods

COVID-19 resources for health care professionals from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology

Videos

Update: Techniques to aid recovery from a respiratory infection like COVID-19 (5/1/2020)

What’s the difference between COVID-19 and other viruses? (4/20/2020)

How to breathe if you have a respiratory infection like COVID-19 (4/10/2020)

COVID-19 and asthma: What you need to know (4/2/2020)

COVID-19 or seasonal allergies: How to tell the difference (4/2/2020)

How to tell the difference between COVID-19, asthma and nasal allergies

SymptomCOVID-19AsthmaAllergies
Dry cough 
Mucus/postnasal drip  
Chest discomfort/pain  
Shortness of breath 
Wheezing  
Fever  
Sneezing  
Nasal and eye watering and itching  

 

Updated 4/21/2020

About ACAAI

The ACAAI is a professional medical organization of more than 6,000 allergists-immunologists and allied health professionals, headquartered in Arlington Heights, Ill. The College fosters a culture of collaboration and congeniality in which its members work together and with others toward the common goals of patient care, education, advocacy and research. ACAAI allergists are board-certified physicians trained to diagnose allergies and asthma, administer immunotherapy, and provide patients with the best treatment outcomes. For more information and to find relief, visit AllergyandAsthmaRelief.org. Join us on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

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