Here is some basic advice to patients about how to manage their allergies and asthma, during asthma COVID 19 time. The risks are clear for our moderate to severe asthmatics. They are at higher risk for complications due to COVID-19. We want to make sure that they’re well-stabilized, well-controlled, and that they’re not having any issues. And also, patients who have immune deficiencies, as well as patients who might be on medications that suppress their immune systems. They need to think about allergy symptoms as being overall definitely less severe than asthma COVID-19. Usually sneezing, nasal congestion, runny nose, itchy eyes, watery eyes. Maybe a mild cough or wheeze, itchy ears, itchy throat, itchy nose etc.
Affects of COVID 19 on Asthma
Whereas with COVID-19, patients almost always have a fever, shaking chills, dry irritative cough in the lungs, shortness of breath, an inability to get enough air. Then they also have severe headaches or severe muscle pain. They don’t feel well, usually, they’re fatigued, and exhausted. They really are much more debilitated, than they would be from their allergy symptoms.
Unique symptom doctors are seeing is a rapid loss of sense of smell or taste. And there’s no nasal congestion in patients who have COVID-19, which is different from patients who have allergies. This indicated that it is definitely a distinguishing feature. It doesn’t seem to cause congestion as much as it seems to cause loss of smell. And even where you’ve been seeing some unusual rashes with this condition that people have rashes that they’ve never recognized before. Perhaps it could be a manifestation of COVID-19.
The most important thing they should remember is that they should not be altering their regimen of medication. And if there are any doubts about what medications they should or shouldn’t be on, they should contact their provider. But this is not a time to start cutting back or to start self-medicating. It is a time to really have a regimen that you can stick with, and perhaps an action plan to have.
Steps to follow while having COVID 19 Asthma Symptoms
If things get worse, what should patients do next? Whom should they call or what medicines can they increase? These are the common questions that may arise in their mind.
Asthmatic patients should continue their inhaled corticosteroids. They’re not going to have any detrimental effects on the lungs, their long-acting bronchodilators, their short-acting bronchodilators. If they are on a T2 biologic, an anti-inflammatory biologic eject-able, the asthmatic biologicals do not seem to have a suppressive effect on the immune system so they should continue those. Anything that would destabilize their asthma. The only place where they may need some clarification and they need to talk to their doctor about if they’re not sure, it would be oral corticosteroids, because of the effect on the immune system.
Some patients need to be on them and can’t just stop them from cold turkey. So that’s something patients would have to base on an individual case-by-case situation. And that’s something where they should speak to their physician, but certainly do not make changes without speaking to your physician. And patients don’t want to destabilize asthma. For allergy injections, doctors talk to patients individually, case-by-case, as to the severity of their allergies.
If the level of allergy severity is manageable, doctors are trying to postpone their injections and just have them make up the time when the interval is such that doctors can bring them back into the clinic. There are some patients who are more severe who when they don’t get their injections for a period of time will exacerbate. And for those patients what doctors are doing is that they are just lengthening the interval a bit. But doctors are still having them being aware of all the risks are for coming into the clinic.
Doctors are looking to preserve the safety and care of their patients as well as the healthcare workers in the process. If patients are allergic to pollen particularly or outdoor mold, should really just have a good HVAC/AC filter. And the air conditioning will filter out those particles. When it’s time for spring cleaning, patients probably should be changing their filters. That would be good for them.
If it’s primarily indoor allergens, it means more vacuuming, more cleaning, more damp mopping. Perhaps re-evaluating the bedding, cleaning the bedding. Having special covers for your mattress and pillows. If patients have pet allergies, they should reduce exposure. Perhaps washing the pet, getting what’s called HEPA, H-E-P-A filters, which can help purify the air, and reduce indoor allergens. All those things are things that can be done to reduce indoor allergens and something as simple as a good air conditioner filter and running the air conditioning in the spring time if patients are highly allergic to spring pollens would be helpful.
Allergy or Asthma Symptoms
If patients are having allergy or asthma symptoms, then they certainly need to refer to either their action plan, or they need to get in touch with their provider. Medical staffs are available to answer these questions a patient may have in a clinic. They are also available to do telehealth visits to tide people over in the time. Perhaps doctors may even need to make a medication adjustment, or they may need to order a new medication. Doctors are always available in their department. Clinic providers are there with the nurses, physicians, medical assistants. Everyone’s available to try to help a patient in whatever way possible. And the availability of tele – visits are available now-a-days due to COVID.
Doctors are doing numerous of those to try to bridge the gap during times with patients who are unsure. And these are uncertain times and perhaps some people are not only not certain, where they may not know whether or not they need to seek emergency help or not. These are things that doctors can sort out for the patients. If a patients have a real emergency or are having severe shortness of breath, can’t catch their breath, having a whole-body allergic reaction, they still need to go to your nearest emergency room.
There are safe pathways for patients who are not COVID-19 patients to get care. And it’s still in the patient’s best interest to make sure that they get the emergency treatment. Staying home and trying to weather the storm, when this would be a situation that could be potentially life-threatening and is not a good choice to make. Hospital emergency rooms are safe for patients who do not have COVID-19 symptoms. There is a screening process, and it’s working very well.
Doctors encourage patients who need these emergency facilities to utilize them appropriately. They see a lot of cases of people having severe symptoms and staying home, because of that fear. And doctors want to discourage that tremendously. That’s important that that doesn’t happen. Right now, doctors are screening patient calls, and are answering patient questions, they are refilling patient medications.
They are offering tele-visits for patients who need a more in-depth analysis in terms of screening their symptoms. Giving them a plan to get through this period of time. Perhaps adjusting their medications, etc.
Doctors are beginning a resurgence plan that is going to be both safe and responsible. That will protect both the patients and the healthcare workers as responsibly as they can.