Asthma continues to be a major worrisome disease, with an estimate of 235 million people suffering globally and one in every 50 people in India. Adults and children alike are susceptible to the disease, which is often characterised by breathlessness, wheezing, cough and chest tightness that may vary in occurrence and severity. In the present Covid scenario, the patients need to be more precautions.
As Covid- 19 second wave intensifies and India is registering a record number of cases each day, it is of grave importance to follow coronavirus safety protocols now more than ever. Asthma patients need to adhere to the safety protocols. One has to wear mask when venturing out. According to a new study, the widespread use of face masks outdoors during the Covid-19 pandemic has led to 65 per cent reduction in serious asthma cases that required hospitalisation.
Face masks also helped decrease the spread of viruses such as the flu in the past year. By wearing masks, people are also less likely to suffer from seasonal allergies, as face coverings prevent pollen from flowers, trees, and grass coming into contact with the nose and mouth.
Asthma is an inflammatory disorder of the airways causing symptoms such as cough, wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. Asthma may present itself at any age. Acute attack get precipitated on exposure to various allergens or due to infections ( mostly viral).
FEW TIPS FOR ASTHMA PATIENTS
- Do not panic, stay at home as much as possible.
- As there is no definite treatment of COVID-19,
- Avoid being exposed to the virus is the best way to prevent illness.
- Patients with moderate to severe disease are more prone to have a severe form of Covid-19 infection.
- Continue your INHALER : MDI ( Metered-Dose Inhaler) / DPI( Dry powder inhaler) both controller and reliever as prescribed by your doctor.
- -Do not discontinue or change any medication without medical advice.
- -Have a sufficient supply of your medicine and inhaler.
- -Avoid Pulmonary Function test (PFT) OR
- Peak Flow testing unless extremely urgent.
- -In recent scenario, avoid unnecessary use of NEBULISATION because it generates aerosol and thus increases the chance of spreading infection. MDI with spacer properly fitted to mouth for adults or spacer with face-mask for children and elderly people is equally effective in relieving symptom during exacerbation ( acute attack)
- -Clean your devices, i.e. spacer, nebuliser.
- -Take fresh food, vegetables, fruits ( specially Vit-C containing) and Ensure your daily requirement of Vit-D to boost your immunity
- -Stay in a well-ventilated room, daily walking for 20min (indoor)
- -Maintain cough etiquette, wear a double-layered cloth mask
- -Do frequent hand wash with soap
- -Use sanitiser that need not be sprayed to avoid asthma-trigger
- -In the case of increased breathlessness visit hospital emergency
(Dr Naresh Purohit is a Medical Expert and Advisor National Communicable Disease Control Programme. He is also Advisor to six National Health Programmes and visiting Professor in five Medical Universities in Southern India including Thrissur based Kerala University of Health Sciences. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author)