KEY POINTS

  • Five million in the UK suffer from asthma
  • Asthma is a risk factor for coronavirus infection
  • Here's what you can do if you are asthmatic

The confirmed cases of coronavirus infections keep increasing with each passing day. In the UK, the recorded number of infections stands at 1,950, of which 71 has already died with another 20 in serious or critical condition.

This prompted Prime Minister Boris Johnson to ask people to stay at home if they belong to the group considered as high risk. The list included people suffering from asthma. What does this mean for them? asthma coronavirus asthma coronavirus Photo: CC Public Domain - pxhere

Asthma Symptoms

The NHS said that symptoms of asthma include having a whistling sound when breathing, feelings of breathlessness, coughing, and feeling your chest getting tighter. During an asthma attack, these symptoms may get worse.

Asthma is classified as a disease of the lung. According to the British Lung Foundation, its symptoms happen when there is inflammation of the airways, which then tightens when something irritates it. The condition can be managed by using inhalers, or in worse cases, a nebulizer machine. Many asthmatics lead normal lives.

The Cause Of Asthma

The exact cause of asthma is still unknown, though it has been observed to often run in families and is common in people with allergies. Childhood asthma is often linked to allergic reactions, particularly dust or pollen.

When an adult develops the condition, it is not considered as related to an allergy. Many instances cause the development of asthma. In some cases, repeated exposure to particular substances like debris and dust that are inhaled in manual jobs may cause the condition to develop.

Asthma And COVID-19

The burning question now is whether the condition puts asthmatics at high risk from coronavirus infection. Since coronavirus is a viral respiratory infection, then the answer tends to be positive. Symptoms of the infection include having a high fever, shortness of breathing, and dry cough. These symptoms alone are already bad news for those suffering from asthma.

The government has included asthma as among the risk conditions of coronavirus infection, along with other long-term conditions like heart disease and diabetes. Getting infected with COVID-19 can worsen the symptoms of asthma and also increase the occurrence of attacks.

In the case of severe asthma, the condition may be rare but it is very hard to control. If you are suffering from this type of asthma, you are regarded as a very high risk. The NHS may contact you within the week along with instructions on what to do amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Whether you have mild or severe asthma and develop COVID-19 symptoms, you need to go on self-isolation immediately. At the same time, call the NHS 111 service to schedule a test. You only need to self-isolate if you are not asthmatic or if you are not suffering from underlying conditions considered high-risk.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister has revised the measures that people with underlying conditions like asthma need to do as protection against COVID-19. Mr. Johnson said over the weekend, it will be necessary for the government to take one step further in ensuring those with serious underlying conditions are shielded from social contact. They would have to do this for a minimum of 12 weeks or three months.