GWEN WILSON, NOMC MEDICAL ASSISTANT

As I am sure you have heard on the news, patients with moderate to severe asthma may be at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. COVID-19 can affect your respiratory tract (nose, throat, lungs), cause an asthma attack, and possibly lead to pneumonia and acute respiratory disease. We at the NOMC are here to help you so that that doesn’t happen.

PREPARE FOR COVID-19. Avoid face-to-face contact with others, even those in your household, and avoid sharing personal items like cups or towels. Stay home as much as possible.

Follow your asthma action plan:

Keep taking your current medications, including any inhalers with steroids in them. Make sure that you have 30 days of non-prescription medications and supplies on hand. Discuss any concerns about your treatment with your healthcare provider.

Know how to use your inhaler. Wash your hands before and after using your inhaler. Clean your inhalers regularly with detergent. Do not share inhalers with anyone else to minimize the risk of infection.

Avoid your asthma triggers. As pollen counts rise, windows should be kept closed to minimize exposure. Stay away from smoke and 2nd hand smoke. When possible, sleep in a room that is dust and pet-free.

Strong emotions can trigger an asthma attack. Take steps to help yourself cope with stress and anxiety.

Cleaning with asthma:

Minimize use of disinfectants that can cause an asthma attack. Avoiding ingredients that can cause asthma, like bleach (sodium hypochlorite), quaternary ammonium compounds (benzalkonium chlorides), and glutaraldehyde will help prevent people from getting asthma. Clean and disinfect surfaces like phones, remotes, tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks daily. Spray or pour spray products onto a cleaning cloth or paper towel instead of spraying the product directly onto the cleaning surface (if the product label allows).

Avoid your asthma triggers. As pollen counts rise, windows should be kept closed to minimize exposure. Stay away from smoke and 2nd hand smoke. When possible, sleep in a room that is dust and pet-free.

Asthma myths:

1.

MYTH: “Stop taking oral, inhaled and/or intranasal corticosteroids due to increased COVID-19 risk since they immunosuppress patients.”

FACT: Control is the most important thing for your asthma and allergic rhinitis. If you use inhaled corticosteroids, or intranasal steroids, there’s probably not a risk to developing a weakened immune system. Do not stop or avoid taking your medication without discussing with your healthcare provider.

2.

MYTH: “Anti-inflammatory medications (other than inhaled corticosteroids and controller medications) worsen COVID-19 symptoms.”

FACT: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a statement regarding the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for patients with COVID-19. There’s not enough scientific evidence to link the use of NSAIDs to worsening symptoms of COVID-19.

3.

MYTH: “Quick relief rescue inhalers or Albuterol can cause the immune system to be suppressed and result in patients with asthma being more susceptible to COVID-19.”

FACT: These medications are bronchodilators and not corticosteroids. They relax the muscles in your airways when you’re having symptoms. You can and should continue to use your rescue inhaler as needed for asthma symptoms. The most important thing is to have your asthma well-controlled so that if infection does occur, your lungs are better able to handle the virus.

SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS IF YOU HAVE COVID-19:

Make sure you only use your inhaler in a space that won’t spread droplets in the air to other members of your household. It needs to be an area where air is not re-circulated in the home. Areas such as a patio or porch are best, especially as spaces can be easily cleaned.

American Lung Association’s FREE Lung Help Line

1 800 586-4872 (LUNGUSA) | WWW.LUNG.ORG
Hours: Mon-Fri: 7 a.m.-9 p.m. CT | Weekends 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

GWENDOLYN C. WILSON, MA joined the New Orleans Musicians Clinic medical team in April 2018. As a native New Orleanian and member of her church choir, Gwen is a dedicated medical advocate for the medical, mental and social needs of each NOMC patient.