- Reporters Desk
With all the information circulating right now regarding COVID-19 or coronavirus disease 2019, BREATHE LA has shared the following lung health tips for everyone, but especially those with ongoing chronic lung disease like asthma, COPD and emphysema.
If you have asthma, BREATHE LA recommends following the below safety tips and procedures:
Those with asthma or other respiratory ailments need to make daily checks around their baseline health.
If you have asthma and you use your rescue inhaler more than twice a week, you may need to re-evaluate how to manage your symptoms.
If your asthma is particularly unstable, it is best to stay home and self isolate. If symptoms continue to act up, contact your physician immediately.
One major difference between asthma symptoms and COVID-19 symptoms: Coughs in COVID-19 are dry while asthma coughs are typically wet and mucous-filled.
As of now, there are no available vaccines or treatments for COVID-19 infections. COVID-19 is spread through person-to-person contact with someone infected with the coronavirus so continue to practice social distancing (6-feet apart from others) and wash your hands regularly.
Both the World Health Organization and CDC do not currently recommend those with asthma to wear masks, only those infected with COVID-19.
If you do get sick with any COVID-19 symptoms, including a fever over 100 degrees and high shortness of breath, call your doctor immediately and if you are asthmatic, make sure to have your Asthma Action Plan at-hand.
For those with emphysema and COPD or other chronic lung diseases, here are some additional tips:
Make sure you have a 30-day supply of current medications on hand.
Stock up on household supplies.
If you rely on oxygen, contact your oxygen supplier to ask what plans they have made to prepare for a COVID-19 outbreak in your community.
If you rely on a visiting nurse or aide to help you in your home, check with them to make sure they are following recommended protocols for disease prevention.
Clean and disinfect your home to remove germs: practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks & cell phones), but we remember that some sanitizers give off fumes that can be a trigger for asthma attacks and COPD flare-ups.
Avoid crowds, especially in poorly ventilated spaces. Your risk of exposure to respiratory viruses like COVID-19 may increase in crowded, closed-in settings with little air circulation if there are people in the crowd who are sick.
If COVID-19 is spreading in your community, take extra measures to put distance between yourself and other people to further reduce your risk of being exposed to this new virus.
Have a plan if you get sick. Consult with your health care provider for more information about monitoring your health for symptoms suggestive of COVID-19.
Determine who can provide you with care if your caregiver gets sick or is around anyone who gets sick. If your caregiver or family member is exposed to someone with COVID-19, they may not show symptoms for up to 14 days. So make sure the caregiver or family member self-quarantines for that period of time to make sure they are not infected, and do not infect you.
Pay attention for potential COVID-19 symptoms including, fever, cough, and shortness of breath, as well as any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, get medical attention immediately. In adults, notable emergency warning signs include: Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, Persistent pain or pressure in the chest, New confusion or inability to arouse, Bluish lips or face
Some symptoms of COVID-19 may be similar to what COPD patients experience with a COPD flare-up (exacerbation). But watch for a high fever. High-grade fevers are a common symptom of COVID-19 but are not a common symptom of COPD flare-ups.
If you are concerned about symptoms that are not typical when you have a flare-up, contact your doctor.
If you believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19 or feel like you are developing symptoms, call your doctor or ER instead of visiting. If you do have coronavirus and you visit unannounced, then you could expose others to the disease.
The CDC doesn’t currently recommend the use of masks for most people: only people who are sick with COVID-19 and the people who are caring for them should wear face masks.
You can also find additional information on COVID-19 and get up-to-date health information from both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and more information on CDC recommendations for those with chronic lung disease.