During the coronavirus pandemic it is important that those people living with asthma manage their condition in the most effective way possible to reduce the risk from the virus.
Asthma UK has advised that the best action you can take is to follow these simple asthma management steps:
- Keep taking your preventer inhaler daily as prescribed.This will help cut your risk of an asthma attack being triggered by any respiratory virus, including coronavirus.
- Carry your reliever inhaler (usually blue) with you every day, in case you feel your asthma symptoms flaring up.
- Download and use an asthma action plan to help you recognise and manage asthma symptoms when they come on.
- If you have a peak flow meter it is useful to maintain a peak flow diary. If you don’t have a peak flow meter, think about getting one from your GP or pharmacist, as it can be a good way of tracking your asthma and helping to tell the difference between asthma symptoms and COVID-19 symptoms. It can also help your medical team to assess you if you need a telephone or video consultation.
- If you come down with flu, a cold, or any other respiratory infection, follow our tips for looking after your asthma when you’re not well.
- If you smoke it’s vital to quit now as smoking will increase your risk from COVID-19. There’s NHS advice on how to give up smoking here.
The key to helping you stay symptom free is to follow your treatment plan. This enables you to get on with your life without asthma getting in the way and will significantly reduce your risk of an asthma attack. You can download an official asthma action plan here from Asthma UK.
Educating yourself fully on how to correctly use your inhaler will make a difference to your asthma and improve your respiratory symptoms. While each inhaler manufacturer provides specific instructions for using their inhaler; the following are some general instructions.
- Remove cap and shake inhaler.
- Breathe out gently.
- Insert the mouthpiece between the front teeth and seal your lips around it.
- Breathe in and at the same time press down on the medication.
- Hold breath for up to 10 seconds whilst also removing the inhaler.
- Wait for a few seconds before repeating steps 2–4 if a second dose is needed.
Common asthma symptoms include:
- Feeling breathless
- Tightness in your chest
- Cough and wheeziness
Symptoms can be triggered by things such as flu, pollution, pollen, cigarette smoke and animals. Keep a diary of symptoms as this can help the doctor properly assess your condition. If you’re using your reliever inhaler more than three times a week, it could be a sign that your asthma is getting worse and you should contact your GP or asthma nurse.
The NHS has been working with Asthma UK to ensure that you are given as much information as possible to help you to stay safe and well and you can find much more information at Asthma UK - Coronavirus for more information.
Published on 05 May 2020