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Coronavirus (COVID-19): What People With Asthma Need to Know


Update – July 16, 2020

We added the following updates to this blog post:

  • Link to AAFA's COVID-19 and Asthma Toolkit for Schools
  • Link to COVID-19 guidelines for parents and schools on managing food allergies
  • Information on proper air ventilation to help reduce the spread of the new coronavirus
  • Updated symptoms
  • Updated list of who may be at risk for severe illness from COVID-19
  • New questions and answers on proton pump inhibitors and oral corticosteroid use

Other resources available include:

Note: Because this is a constantly changing situation, any data in this blog post may not represent the most up-to-date information. We will update this blog when possible.

What Is the New Coronavirus?

A coronavirus is a type of virus that often occurs in animals. Sometimes, it can spread to humans. This is rare.

In December 2019, a new illness called COVID-19 started spreading. COVID-19 is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), COVID-19 symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • Feeling tired and weak
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Diarrhea, nausea or vomiting

Other symptoms reported are:

  • Pinkeye
  • Painful blue or purple lesions (such as a sore or bruise) on toes (COVID toes)
  • Hives or rashes

If you have these emergency warning signs, call 911 or go to the emergency room immediately:

  • Trouble breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest that doesn’t go away
  • Newly confused or can’t wake up
  • Bluish tint on lips, face or fingernails

According to the CDC, this list may not include all symptoms. If you have any symptoms that are severe or concerning, call your doctor.

The CDC believes symptoms may appear two to 14 days after coming in contact with the virus. WHO has declared it a global pandemic (an outbreak of a new virus that spreads easily).

How Can I Tell the Difference Between Asthma, COVID-19, the Flu, a Cold or Seasonal Allergies?

Some symptoms are similar between these respiratory illnesses. This chart can help you figure out if you may be feeling symptoms of asthma, allergies or a respiratory illness like COVID-19, the flu or a cold. Respiratory illnesses may worsen asthma, so it’s important to keep taking your asthma control medicines. If you have a fever and a cough, call your doctor. If you have seasonal allergies, there are things you can do to treat at home.

Confused by your symptoms? @AAFANational explains what the typical symptoms are for different respiratory conditions. Information for people with asthma - #COVID19 #asthma

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Information is still changing. We will update this chart as new evidence comes out.

How Does the New Coronavirus That Causes COVID-19 Spread?

The virus is thought to mainly spread through talking, coughing or sneezing. The virus will be in droplets that are expelled from the mouth or nose out into the air. These are heavy droplets and they quickly fall to the ground/surface below.

People who are within 6 feet (2 meters) of someone who is ill with COVID-19 may be within the zone that droplets can reach. If someone who is sick coughs on or near your face, you may get infected. Studies now show that some people may have COVID-19 and not show symptoms. They may spread the virus without knowing it.

This is why the CDC now recommends everyone wear a cloth face covering in places where it's hard to keep a 6-foot distance from others to help stop the spread of illness. If you aren't wearing a face covering, cough/sneeze into your elbow or a tissue. If you use a tissue, throw it away. In either case, wash your hands after you cough or sneeze.

The new coronavirus may also live on surfaces that people have coughed on. If you touch a surface with the virus on it and then touch your mouth, nose or eyes, you may get sick.

Who Is at Risk From COVID-19?

Early information about COVID-19 advised that people with chronic lung disease, including asthma, may be at higher risk for COVID-19.1

The data to date (as of 7/16/20) show no increased risk of COVID-19 infection or severity of COVID-19 disease in people with asthma. The CDC does list moderate-to-severe asthma as a possible risk factor for severe COVID-19 disease, but there are no published data to support that at this time.1,2,3

Based on what we know at this time, the following people might be at the highest risk for severe illness from COVID-19:

  • People over age 65
  • People with chronic medical conditions, such as:
    • Chronic kidney disease
    • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
    • Immunocompromised people (weakened immune system), from a solid organ transplant
    • Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 or higher)
    • Serious heart conditions
    • Sickle cell disease
    • Type 2 diabetes
  • Children with congenital heart disease
  • Children with multiple medical conditions that are:
    • Neurologic
    • Genetic
    • Metabolic

Based on what we know at this time, the following people might be at a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19:

  • People who are male sex
  • People who are Black, Hispanic/Latino or American Indian/Indigenous American
  • People who smoke
  • People with chronic medical conditions, such as:
    • Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
    • Cystic fibrosis
    • Hypertension or high blood pressure
    • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of systemic corticosteroids or other medicines that weaken the immune system
    • Neurologic conditions, such as dementia
    • Liver disease
    • Pregnancy
    • Thalassemia (a type of blood disorder)
    • Type 1 diabetes
    • Possibly moderate-to-severe asthma (and other lung diseases), especially if not well-controlled

People with asthma should take precautions when any type of respiratory illness is spreading in their community.

It’s important for people with #asthma to know how to protect themselves from #coronavirus. @AAFANational provides answers -

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Disparities Among Black, Latinx/Hispanic and Indigenous American Communities

Communities of color are experiencing a major impact from COVID-19. Recent data collected in the United States and in the United Kingdom shows that Black, Latinx/Hispanic and Indigenous (American Indian/Alaska Native) patients along with lower-income groups are disproportionately dying from COVID-19. This is likely due to long term disparities in care. Counties in the U.S. with a Black majority have six times the rates of deaths from COVID-19.4

Physical (Social) Distancing Guidelines for People at High Risk

The CDC has released guidelines for people who may be at high risk (including people with asthma):

  • Stock up on supplies (a 14- to 30-day supply)
  • Try to find ways to have food and supplies delivered to your home
  • Limit interactions with people, and stay home as much as possible
  • Wear face masks or coverings outside the home
  • Keep a distance from others (social distancing, about 6 feet)
  • Avoid people who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often
  • Avoid crowds as much as possible
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Clean and disinfect your home and car regularly, especially items you touch often like doorknobs, light switches, cell phones, car door handles and steering wheels, etc.

Air Pollution

A Harvard study shows that people who live in areas in the U.S. with high air pollution may be more likely to die from COVID-19.5 If you live in a high-pollution area, try to reduce how much you are exposed to outdoor air pollution. Stay home as much as possible to avoid traffic. Keep your windows closed and use central air conditioning if you have it. Change or clean your air filters properly according to the manufacturer’s instructions, as well. Watch air quality reports and stay inside on days when air quality is worse.

How Can I Avoid Getting COVID-19 and Other Respiratory Infections?

The steps you take to avoid the flu and other respiratory infections will also help protect you from COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 to 30 seconds, and always after coughing or sneezing. If you don’t have access to running water, use an alcohol-based hand cleanser that is at least 60% ethyl alcohol (ethanol) or 70% isopropyl alcohol (isopropanol).
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Stay away from people who are sick or have been in contact with someone who is sick.
  • Don’t share makeup, food, dishes or eating utensils.
  • Wear a cloth face cover per new CDC guidelines.
  • Take your daily asthma medicines to keep your asthma under control.

Pollen (such as grass or ragweed pollen) may impact people across the U.S. too. Seasonal allergies can affect people with allergic asthma. If pollen allergies trigger asthma symptoms for you, be sure to follow your allergy treatment plan to keep your allergies under control to prevent asthma episodes or attacks.

The most important thing you can do right now is to keep your asthma under control. If your asthma is not under control, call your doctor right away.

If you do get sick, call your doctor and follow your Asthma Action Plan.

If you plan to travel, check CDC travel precautions.

If I Think I Have COVID-19, What Should I Do?

If you start having symptoms of COVID-19, call your doctor or your local department of health within 24 hours. Many states have various testing options, and your doctor or department of health can tell you what to do.

Many doctors have been offering telehealth (video or virtual appointments) – although doctors may reduce telehealth appointments as practices open back up. If that is an option, ask your insurance company if telehealth is covered under your plan. And if you have Medicare, you might be able to have a virtual visit with your doctor. The government has expanded the coverage of telehealth services during the COVID-19 crisis.

Should I Wear a Face Mask or Face Covering to Prevent Spreading the New Coronavirus?

Most people with asthma can wear a face mask or cloth face covering safely. It is important to find an option that is comfortable and breathable.

Evidence shows that as many as 25 to 50% of people with COVID-19 may not show symptoms, which means you can spread the virus before you know you have it.

The CDC recommends that Americans wear cloth face masks or coverings when you leave home to keep you from accidentally spreading the virus. The WHO also recommends face coverings. A face covering can catch droplets from your mouth and nose so you don't spread them to people nearby. You can use a scarf, a bandanna or a homemade fabric mask. Use material that you can machine wash and dry without damage.

To tell if a homemade face covering will be sufficient, shine a light through it. If the light shines easily through it, you may need to add more layers or use a different fabric. The WHO recommends face coverings made with three layers. Make sure your face covering blocks the light but still allows you to breathe through it.

Because of the limited supply, the CDC urges you NOT to purchase N95 masks. We need to save the supply for health care workers who already don’t have enough supplies.

You must still continue to practice physical distancing even if you wear a face covering. A face covering will not give you 100% protection from spreading or catching the new coronavirus. But it will help you and others greatly reduce the chance of spreading it, especially if you aren’t showing symptoms.

Masks may not be appropriate for children age 2 and younger. It’s best to keep kids at home where they do not need to wear a mask.

It is important to follow proper steps when using a face covering or mask. Follow these steps when using a face covering or mask:

  1. Wash your hands before putting on a face covering or mask.
  2. Fully cover your mouth, nose and beard. Make sure there are no gaps between the face covering or mask and your skin.
  3. Avoid touching the face covering or mask while using it.
  4. If your face covering or mask gets damp, replace with a clean one and wash if reusable. If it's disposable, throw it away and replace with a new one.
  5. Remove the mask from behind, trying to not touch the front. Wash washable face coverings right away. Throw away disposable masks into a closed bag or trash can.
  6. Wash your hands with hot water and soap for 20 to 30 seconds.

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What Role Does Air Ventilation Play in the Spread of the New Coronavirus?

Current evidence shows the risk of the coronavirus spreading is much lower outdoors than indoors. Good ventilation in your indoor environment may help reduce the spread of the new coronavirus. It may also affect the risk of transmission (how fast it spreads). To help reduce the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 in your home or business, consider these steps:

  • On days when pollen is low and air quality is good, open your windows to let in fresh air.
  • Run your HVAC system as much as possible (especially when windows are closed).
  • Use high efficiency air filters in your HVAC system and replace them at least every three months.

Should I Keep Appointments With My Allergist During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Many health care providers are beginning to see patients in their offices again. As they open up, procedures may change. They may reduce the number of people in the waiting room. They may also take your temperature and ask you about symptoms. You may also be asked to wear a mask.

Your doctor may also ask you to track your peak flow readings at home instead of doing lung function tests in the office to reduce the chance of spreading the virus.

With pollen high in many parts of the U.S., regular allergy shots are an effective way to help you manage your allergy and allergic asthma symptoms. Check with your allergist's office to find out what changes they have made to how they are giving allergy shots. Continue with your allergy shot schedule unless your allergist tells you differently, practicing proper physical distancing.

How Can I Deal With Stress During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Nearly everyone is experiencing stress because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Stress can affect your well-being and quality of life. It can be an asthma trigger. So it’s important that you take care of yourself during this time.

Find some self-care practices that work for you. Some examples are:

  • Try a hobby
  • Take breaks from the news and social media
  • Take care of your body through exercise, healthy eating and getting enough sleep
  • Practice deep breathing and stretching
  • Keep in touch with friends and family

The CDC also offers more information on coping with stress.

When you have a chronic disease like asthma, taking part in a support group can have many benefits. AAFA has free online support groups for people with asthma and allergies. For support and encouragement through the COVID-19 pandemic, join the AAFA community.

What Do People With Asthma Need to Know About the New Coronavirus? Frequently Asked Questions Answered by Dr. Mitchell Grayson

1. Chhiba, K.D., Patel, G.B., Vu, T.H.T, Chen, M.M., Guo, A., Kudlaty, E., Mai, Q., Yeh, C., Muhammad, L.N., Harris, K.E., Bochner, B.S., Grammar, L.C., Greenberger, P.A., Kalhan, R., Kuang, F.L., Saltoun, C.A., Schleimer, R.P., Stevens, W.W., & Peters, A.T. (2020). Prevalence and characterization of asthma in hospitalized and non-hospitalized patients with COVID-19, Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
2. Butler, M. W., O’Reilly, A., Dunican, E. M., Mallon, P., Feeney, E. R., Keane, M. P., & McCarthy, C. (2020). Prevalence of comorbid asthma in COVID-19 patients. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
3. Lieberman-Cribbin, W., Rapp, J., Alpert, N., Tuminello, S., & Taioli, E. (2020). The Impact of Asthma on Mortality in Patients With COVID-19. Chest.
4. Thebault, R., Tran, A. B., & Williams, V. (2020, April 7). The coronavirus is infecting and killing black Americans at an alarmingly high rate. Retrieved from
5. Air pollution linked with higher COVID-19 death rates. (2020, April 7). Retrieved from
6. Heneghan, C. (2018, January 30). Self-management of asthma – is there an app or pulse oximeter for that? Retrieved from
7. Kampf, G., Todt, D., Pfaender, S., & Steinmann, E. (2020). Persistence of coronaviruses on inanimate surfaces and their inactivation with biocidal agents. Journal of Hospital Infection, 104(3), 246–251. doi: 10.1016/j.jhin.2020.01.022

How do you stay healthy and avoid asthma symptoms during cold and flu season? Join our community to learn more about protecting yourself from the flu and COVID-19.


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Comments (129)

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We need a practical article that will be radically honest and realistic about how to survive this as immune-compromised people. What concrete steps should we take WHEN (not “if”) this virus spreads to our community? For example, I am doing the following: procuring an N95 mask to use in public when the virus becomes pervasive; filling all prescriptions I may need if I get sick (inhalers, prednisone, etc.); getting the pneumonia vaccine to prevent the secondary infection if I can; stocking  up on goods in case I need to quarantine myself from the outside world for either protection or illness; meeting with my doctors for input; and starting an elimination diet to reduce the load on my immune system PLUS getting good sleep and exercise and increasing nutrient-dense foods. LET’S GET SPECIFIC PLEASE.

That article that supposedly shows that people with asthma are at low risk had NO people with asthma in it!  They presume that since asthma rates in Wuhan are low, that people with asthma aren't at risk. How did that get past empirical review?

I Am Curious posted:

Thank you for the updates! Super helpful!

I just wanted to point out that the one study that found no to link to increased risk of complications in persons with asthma also didn't  study anyone with asthma. Ie none of the 140 had (or knew they had) asthma. I think that's an important detail. The wording of the study itself,  concerning asthma and allergic diseases, is misleading until you read the whole thing. Two patients had COPD and they both had grim outcomes. Take what you want from that, but, because of the lack of asthma specific information published, I'm thinking either not a lot of asthma patients have gotten it (doubtful considering air quality in some places), or there just hasn't been enough time to compile info. It's hard to be patient since it's very clear that healthcare workers and researchers are likely overwhelmed in the areas hardest hit, but we have to try. Get enough sleep, stay hydrated, eat nutrient rich foods, take supplements, stay active and avoid large crowds. Most importantly, get or keep your asthma under control and wash your hands. 

Thank you again for getting this information for us. Please continue to keep us posted with allergy and asthma specific information.

Absolutely agree with you on this.  That study is not particularly helpful and I’m unclear ho they came to the conclusion they did without the direct study of asthmatics.  It’s hard not to panic.

Thank you for the updates! Super helpful!

I just wanted to point out that the one study that found no to link to increased risk of complications in persons with asthma also didn't  study anyone with asthma. Ie none of the 140 had (or knew they had) asthma. I think that's an important detail. The wording of the study itself,  concerning asthma and allergic diseases, is misleading until you read the whole thing. Two patients had COPD and they both had grim outcomes. Take what you want from that, but, because of the lack of asthma specific information published, I'm thinking either not a lot of asthma patients have gotten it (doubtful considering air quality in some places), or there just hasn't been enough time to compile info. It's hard to be patient since it's very clear that healthcare workers and researchers are likely overwhelmed in the areas hardest hit, but we have to try. Get enough sleep, stay hydrated, eat nutrient rich foods, take supplements, stay active and avoid large crowds. Most importantly, get or keep your asthma under control and wash your hands. 

Thank you again for getting this information for us. Please continue to keep us posted with allergy and asthma specific information.

The title of your article is misleading; there is no information in your article specific to people suffering from asthma. Contracting coronavirus and having asthma as an underlying condition has been highly publicized as leading to critical health issues or fatalities. Your article offers nothing specific to asthma. You should consider changing the article title to: Coronavirus: What You Need to Know, since the content is general information for the public, until you actually have content for an article pertaining to coronavirus with asthma as a comorbidity. Very disappointed.

I just read an article today that stated do not take steroids for the corona virus.  It makes it worse.
1. is this true?

2. nebulizers and rescue inhalers are essentially steroidal.  Does this also apply to them?  
3. should we try to avoid using this if we contract the virus?  

Lorene posted:
Shea posted:

I just think that N95 masks can be helpful. They found the size of the corona virus and those masks block that size particle and yes it needs a tight seal but that is perfectly possible to teach people what that is. It can help. And high-risk population should know this and have time to irder and waut fir one before it gets widespread. And its possible to make enough for everyone including healthcare workers. And it doesnt need to be mandated fir everyobe, it usnt 100 percent, but it can help...   I feel it is deceptive and inappropriate and lowers trust for the CDC and WHO and surgeon general to tell the public it wont help them. Yes you have to remove it correctly. Yes you have to get the right size and not have a beard probably. Just give us the real facts and information that yes it can be helpful:

"N95 masks fulfill the filtering efficiency criteria of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and are approved for protection against droplet and airborne transmission of 95% of particles greater than 0.3 microns in size. N95 masks, which must be fit tested, are believed to offer protection against the contact and droplet spread of the coronavirus."


Hi @Shea N95 masks may provide a layer of protection, but they may be hard to breathe through when you have asthma or an infection. They can also be hot, and often masks lead to people touching their face more in an effort to make the mask most comfortable. Wearing a mask can't hurt, but hand washing and sanitizing are going to be our best bet for protection. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. 


Shea - I agree with you. I live in NYC and travel to work on the subway and wearing a n95 mask would greatly decrease my chances of contracting the virus where I am in close proximity to strangers. I do understand that the CDC and WHO are trying to quell the general population from buying/wearing masks when basic hygiene would be more helpful in the long term but they are not protecting those the with the 'underlying health conditions' that they continually mention. This is a situation where you must take your own health and well-being in your own hands. I have n95 masks and carry one in my bag daily and will not hesitate to use it when I feel unsafe.  The CDC's guidelines are too broad and general and do not speak to me, an asthmatic specifically and how can they when the response about specific conditions are - not enough data! 

I am struck by how “experts” keep reassuring the general public that there is no alarm if you’re healthy and then in passing mention the elderly and those with underlying issues are at higher risk -  like we don’t need reassurance.  Very little time is spent on these groups when talking about Coronavirus.  There are countless people that fall into these categories - lung disease, heart disease, cancers, etc. It is hard not to panic or have anxiety with the 24/7 coverage.  So i wash my hands constantly and worry about someone coughing or sneezing around me- not much you can do to protect from that other than significant social distancing and isolation.

hello , i have excerice enducted asthma and i never get asthma atacks beside when i run or do a lot of sports , did not have any atacks since like 7 months im i still going to die if contact covid 19 ? or is it only for people that have uncontrolled asthma  , last time i did the flow test i scored 250 

This is going to be the "unpopular" opinion, but it is one more should consider. You will not eliminate disease with a paper mask. You cannot prevent a future asthma attack by stockpiling medication. The virus takes about two weeks to become apparent and it will definitely have killed you within the month if it is going to be your cause of death. Do what you've always done, but do it better. Be clean. Be aware of your condition. Be considerate of those around you. Most of all, be rational. Don't risk the health of your friends, family, or community to have 2 months worth of supplies and leave them with none. More people being able to take precautions means less people spreading germs.

Last edited by Ender
Candace posted:
Ellie89 posted:

I too am desperately looking for hints on what to do in the Covid-19 situation as someone with Asthma.

From what I understand, I am not more likely to contract the virus, but it is likely that it will affect me more strongly once I do. Given the fact that at this point, we're mostly talking about "when" we will all be infected, rather than "if" - shouldn't it be the logical next step to quarantine everyone who's part of the higher risk demographic?

I have a job that I could potentially do from home, however my bosses are rather reluctant to allow it. As of now, every article and every website contains slightly different information - again, even though the common ground already seems to be that the absolute majority of people will in fact be infected. As long as there is not one unified opinion on this, or even an official statement recommending people that are at a higher risk to stay home, what do I tell my bosses? Or do I just continue to get on public transport and walk around the office, all while hoping for the best? I just can't believe there's no better way to deal with this.

Thanks in advance for your replies

My husband has adult-onset asthma and controls it with daily medication, however, I am still concerned what would happen to him if he contracted coronavirus, since I've seen him battle numerous sinus infections and suffer considerably. He is a college instructor and is exposed to many people on a daily basis. I do not have asthma, but also want to avoid becoming ill so I don't infect him, so we are both on a daily vitamin regimen of immune-boosting vitamins, including D3, C, fish oil, B2, B12, and a multivitamin that includes recommended daily doses of other immune-boosting vitamins. I have taken all of these vitamins regularly, but my husband hasn't until the past week. We also eat mostly plant-based foods and avoid processed foods and excess sugar. I also asked my husband to start exercising regularly. We exercise together for motivation. I know that 100% grape juice (3 8oz. glasses/day) also boosts immunity. I learned about it when researching how to increase immunity several years ago when I was also teaching. Taking the vitamins and grape juice and exercising at least 3 days/week enabled me to avoid becoming ill when I previously contracted an illness every quarter I taught. I have never heard anyone at the CDC or WHO recommend vitamins to boost immunity, recommend maintaining regular cardiovascular exercise, or recommend a healthy diet, but based on recommendations from our family physician and reading other physicians' advice, I feel that all of these are imporant to include into our regular regimen to avoid becoming ill in the first place. I want us to do everything in our power to stay healthy. BTW - I have not yet heard that the majority of people living in the U.S. will become infected, so I hope that is not an absolute. All the best!

Hi! thanks for sharing your tips on how your and husband stay healthy. Just a precaution, people should always check with their health care provider before starting any supplements or even vitamins to make sure they will not interfere with current medications. Eating a healthy diet and exercising are great strategies to staying healthy throughout the year. Again, talking to a health care provider to ensure diet and exercise are safe is recommended. Grape juice contains a lot of sugar, so anyone with diabetes or other conditions should OK this with their doctor. ~ Lorene 

Thank you all for submitting your questions! We are working on updating our blog above with updated numbers and recommendations. We have also sent a list of questions to our Medical Scientific Council and will share the information as soon as we hear back from the council.

Stay safe and keep washing your hands!

I’m not sure the flu comparison is terribly helpful here. There is a flu vaccine which at least keeps some types of flu at bay, if not all. Despite the fact that we are generally familiar with coronaviruses, there is much we still don’t know about this one. For example, there seem to be indicators that people are spreading the virus while asymptomatic, but no one is sure how. If this is indeed the case, then that makes infection control much more difficult. 

I’m worried about my baby. She’s 15 months old, which means her immune system is weaker than an adult’s and her lungs are still developing. She was diagnosed with asthma after two hospitalizations for Rhino/Entero-induced bronchiolitis and a previous bout of RSV-induced bronchiolitis and flu. Fortunately we live in a quite isolated wilderness area but we are scheduled for medical appointments next week and for the foreseeable future to learn more about her asthma and also to see a speech pathologist, since all of this sickness seems to have set her back linguistically. Also, her dad works for a large company in an urban area, and if the above asymptomatic transmission is indeed true, he could bring it home without knowing it. We are of course worried about flu as well, but she has at least had her flu shot and so have we. We are following infection control protocol but I think it’s a pipe dream to think this thing won’t reach our state (New York).

The yardsale at the federal level is not helping. I have no faith in their capability to confront this. I hope our state health department is better.

I can't find any information anywhere about patients with asthma (specifically) and COVID-19 mortality rates. I am a relatively healthy individual with mild but persistent allergy triggered asthma. My singulair seems to keep it under control. I've had the flu twice this season (different strains) with no complications. But, I am curious, so these are my questions:


  1. I've heard that the jury is still out on what exactly causes respiratory complications from viruses in people with asthma. Some say it's an overproduction of mucus that can become infected and/or cause an increased inflammatory response. Others say that inhaled steriods do little to one's general immune system, but could leave the lungs more vulnerable to pathogens. Both seem plausible to me, but I'm no doctor. What's your take, @AAFA Community Services ? (please no stock response like "always wash your hands" ... I'm already there, haha)
  2. Those at elevated risk include people with chronic respiratory diseases like asthma. I also know that, at least in Wuhan, COVID-19 killed significantly more men than women. Culturally in Wuhan, men smoke significantly more than women, though some doctors believe biological differences may be to blame. I know that published recommendations are general in nature on purpose because you can never be too safe, but do you have any statistics about how many cases included asthma patients and what those outcomes were? There are a million different respiratory diseases but us asthmatics are concerned specifically about asthma. 

Thank you. Still a bit of a struggle, but I am able to rest because my wife is taking up my slack, bless her heart. I do not think I've turned the corner because, after improving  earlier in the week, I began to get more ill again as the week has evolved. I understand that this happens with his virus, so I'm just going to take as long as I need to recover.

Hi Karim, I have cold induced, which can also be induced by a sharp change in temperature by 35 degrees in less than 24 hours,and I don't think ive gotten more than a 200 on my flow. I also haven't had to use my nebulizer in just over a year and spent most of my morning winters in the ER. My mothers friend is one of the head nurses for the covid situation here in New Jersey, I explained how I felt weeks ago to her the other day, she confirmed that I may have in fact had it. I did not however contract pneumonia, nor was it all that bad. I took my inhaler and I was fine, tbh if i did have it, it was underwelming. Plus the death rate for not just us but anyone who has been infected across every state is 3%. Thats just higher than the number of car accidents you may see in a week at this point. Take some light asthmatic precautions and you'll be fine(as long as you are under 60).

Melissa G posted:

Savail, here is a free online asthma care course. It goes over asthma triggers, symptoms and medications. 

Melissa G posted:

Hi Islandgirl, welcome to the AAFA forums! That is a great question, have you consulted with your dr about your concern?

You can also submit your question to our "Ask The Allergist". 

Savail, you are correct, there is conflicting information on wearing masks. This is the latest recommendation from the CDC for people with asthma. Have you ever seen an allergist or pulmonologist? 

Hello..yes..I am now on maintenance and was told that it is "building" my immune system. 

Miss Melissa, no, I have not unless it was when I was a young child. I know I was diagnosed with sinus problems around threeish and that on more than one occasion, they told my mother I would always have breathing problems without some kind of surgery. I was 'prescribed' a variety of different generic OTC allergy/sinus meds from childhood all the way through high school. I didn't have issues with activity or sports at the time, and according to doctors had adjusted well, so really, the only tell was that I constantly had bags under my eyes from a young age and struggled to eat with my mouth closed.

When I started having wheezing fits in high school, we just assumed it was sinus/bronchitis related, and I dealt with it, because we didn't realize there was anything that could be done. Menthol cough drops were my best friend if I had to do any activity, and I tried to stay indoors if people were burning cedar. When I was older, if I was having trouble breathing around bedtime, I'd drink an energy drink for the one-two combo of it putting me to sleep and making it a bit easier to breathe.

And yes, I've been keeping an eye on both the CDC page that you linked and the FAQ page about cloth coverings, which just states not to if you have "breathing problems." Very helpfully vague. I appreciate your response!

I have been on a weekly allergy immunotherapy since SEP2019, does that affect my immune system or does it suppress my immune system in any way that would make me susceptible to corona virus more than someone who has regular seasonal allergies?

Collin S Magnuson posted:

Albuterol inhalers, nebulizers and other asthma treatments may significantly strengthen the lungs and help symptoms of Coronavirus and fight off the infection faster. Even people without asthma could use asthma treatments to fight corona virus.

You are going to get people killed! Do not use a nebulizer. The only time you should use it is if you have asthma and you live alone. 1. It does not "fight it off" 2. A nebulizer makes the virus into an aerosol that now has extraordinarily bigger infecton radius. If you are not a pulmonologist do not give advice you will hurt people

Hi @Collin S Magnuson, asthma medicines reduce swelling inside the airways, relax muscles that tighten around the airway and reduce excess mucus that clogs the airways. They actually reduce or stop these changes in your airway from happening, but unfortunately do not strengthen them. 

Taking your medications as prescribed is key to helping your asthma stay under control even when you get an infection or virus. When people without lung disease get a respiratory infection, asthma treatments are often prescribed to open the airways. 


Jeni D - what we have heard about nebulizer use is that hospitals are switching from nebulizer to inhaler because if the risk of the virus becoming airborne when treating a patient sick with COVID-19. You can read the statement here -

It's important to keep your child's asthma as well controlled as you can. If you have concerns, please contact their doctor. The current recommendation in general is to not stop taking any of your asthma medicine -