Most Current Research Suggests That Having Asthma Does Not Mean You Will Have Worse Covid
Story by: Sara Thompson on August 17, 2022
Some of the hallmark symptoms of a coronavirus infection are issues in the respiratory tract and difficulty breathing. People with asthma do not necessarily have worse outcomes from COVID-19, but can you develop asthma after COVID-19? Can COVID-19 cause asthma?
What Is An Asthma Attack
When you breathe normally, muscles around your airways are relaxed, letting air move easily and quietly. During an asthma attack, three things can happen:
- Bronchospasm: The muscles around the airways constrict . When they tighten, it makes your airways narrow. Air cannot flow freely through constricted airways.
- Inflammation: The lining of your airways becomes swollen. Swollen airways dont let as much air in or out of your lungs.
- Mucus production: During the attack, your body creates more mucus. This thick mucus clogs airways.
When your airways get tighter, you make a sound called wheezing when you breathe, a noise your airways make when you breathe out. You might also hear an asthma attack called an exacerbation or a flare-up. Its the term for when your asthma isnt controlled.
What Is An Asthma Trigger
A trigger is anything that irritates your airways. Asthma is caused by two types of triggers.
- Allergic trigger: cause allergic reactions. Allergic triggers include things like dust mites, pollens, moulds, pet dander,
- Non-allergic trigger: are usually irritants. Non-allergic triggers include things like smoke, cold air, certain air pollutants, intense emotions
Learn more about different types of asthma triggers and how to manage them.
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How Many People Die From Asthma
- On average, 11 people in the U.S. die from asthma each day. In 2020, 4,145 people died from asthma. Nearly all of these deaths are avoidable with the right treatment and care.8
- In 2020, deaths due to asthma rose for the first time in 20 years. 8
How Does Asthma Begin
Asthma is a lung disease that makes breathing difficult. It is caused by inflammation and narrowing of the airways in the lungs. Several factors can trigger the symptoms of asthma in an individual, including allergens, irritants, infections, exercise, stress and cold air. Asthma is usually first diagnosed in childhood, but it may not be identified until adulthood. This chronic disease is characterized by episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness and cough, often accompanied by coughing up mucus and feeling tired. A patient may also experience a tightening sensation in the chest when coughing or taking a deep breath. Asthma can be managed with medications and breathing devices, but it may become severe in some cases. In such instances, it may require hospitalization for immediate treatment..
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Asthma Symptoms Can Mimic Other Illnesses Or Diseases Especially In Older Adults For Example:
- Hiatal hernia, stomach problems, heart failure, or rheumatic arthritis can create asthma-like symptoms.
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease has many of the same symptoms as asthma. COPD, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, is very common in older adults especially those who are or have been smokers.
What Should You Do If Your Child Has An Asthma Attack
If your child is showing symptoms of an asthma attack:
- Give your child their reliever medicine according to the asthma action plan.
- Wait 15 minutes. If the symptoms go away, your child should be able to resume whatever activity they were doing. If symptoms persist, follow the Asthma Action Plan for further therapy.
- If your child fails to improve, or if you arenât sure what action to take, call your care provider.
The danger signs of an asthma attack are:
- Severe wheezing.
- Trouble walking and/or talking,
- Blue lips and/or fingernails.
If your child has any of these danger signs/symptoms, go to the nearest emergency department or call 911.
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How Do I Tell If I Have Asthma
Asthma is a chronic, inflammatory, reversible disorder of the airways. It is characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, reversible airflow obstruction, and bronchial hyperresponsiveness. If a person has asthma attacks, and has three or more of the following symptoms, then he or she might have asthma: 1. Shortness of breath 2. Chest tightness 3. Coughing 4. Wheezing 5. Nocturnal cough 6. Tachypnea 7. Use of accessory muscles 8. Cervical retraction 9. Rhonchi 10. Stridor 11. Night-time awakenings to breathe 12. Exercise-induced airway obstruction 13. Fatigue in a person who has not done physical activity 14. Wheeze in a person with cold or flu symptoms.
Am I Experiencing Adult Onset Asthma
Up to 25 million Americans have asthma, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While most people develop the condition in childhood, adult-onset asthma is also possible.
In fact, asthma symptoms can develop at any age and stage of life. Some people who have asthma as children age out of flare-ups as they get older, while others first experience the condition well into adulthood.
Would you recognize the symptoms of adult-onset asthma if you were to experience them?
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Allergies Linked To Asthma
Allergies and asthma often coexist. Indoor allergies are a predictor of who might be at risk for an asthma diagnosis. One nationwide study showed levels of bacterial toxins called endotoxins in house dust were directly related to asthma symptoms.
Sources of other indoor allergens include animal proteins , dust mites, cockroaches, fungi, and mold. Changes that have made houses more “energy-efficient” over the years are thought to increase exposure to these causes of asthma.
Do I Still Have Asthma If I Had It As A Child
You might still have asthma as an adult. It may not be as serious as it used to be as a child, but it can still affect your breathing. Asthma is a chronic lung disease. It causes the airways to swell and narrows them, making it hard to breathe. Asthma can last for years. It can get better with treatment, and the symptoms can go away. But it can also get worse. If you or your children still have asthma, it is very important you keep your asthma under control. Use your controller inhaler as prescribed by your doctor. If you smoke, try to stop. Dont smoke even if you are around people who are smoking for it can make your asthma worse. Take other steps to protect your lungs from the effects of air pollution and infection. Wash your hands often and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unclean hands. If you do not have asthma, you do not develop asthma. But if you are living in a city it is still a good idea to learn how to cope in the event of an asthma attack. Take some time to brush up on the proper usage of your inhaler and have the number of an emergency service on hand..
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What Other Steps Can I Take If My Child Has Asthma Symptoms
Children can develop asthma symptoms for a variety of reasons viruses, allergens and irritants are some of the causes. Sometimes the time of year, such as during the September asthma peak, can cause a child to develop symptoms of asthma. Here are some suggestions on what you can do:
- Address allergens and irritants that set off symptoms and find ways to reduce exposures that touch off asthma flares. Uncertain about triggers? See an allergist for testing.
- Review inhaler technique with your child. Ask about using a valved holding chamber a handheld device that attaches to the inhaler and captures and directs the medication to the airways.
- Make sure your child stays on medication schedule throughout the year, even when there are no symptoms. This may include taking daily asthma anti-inflammatory medications as prescribed. Note the expiration dates of medications and refill prescriptions as necessary.
- Involve children in the conversation, helping them understand when, why and how to take medications and other ways to keep asthma under control.
Does Asthma Go Away
Yes, asthma can go away, but it can also come back. There have been several asthma patients who have outgrown their condition, but that might not be the case with you. Some asthma patients are also sensitive to allergens, so they might keep suffering from asthma even after reaching adulthood. On the other hand, asthma can also come back. If you had an asthma attack in the past and then it went away for a long period of time, you might not be aware of the conditions resurgence until the asthma attacks start occurring again. If you think that your asthma is coming back, you should immediately consult an asthma specialist..
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Epidemiology Of Asthma: An Overview
The recent substantial increase in the reported prevalence of asthma worldwide has led to numerous studies of the prevalence and characteristics of this condition. Foremost among these are 2 major international initiatives that have collected data using validated questionnaires, one among children, the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood, and the other among young adults, the European Community Respiratory Health Survey. Follow-up investigations for both of these studies, have examined temporal trends within and across populations. During a mean of 7 years following phase I of the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood, which in most participating countries was conducted between 1991 and 1993, the prevalence of asthma was stable or decreased in some areas of the world but increased substantially in many other areas, especially among children 1314 years of age .
Changes in prevalence of diagnosed asthma and asthma symptoms over time among children and young adults. Reproduced, with permission, from Eder W, Ege MJ, von Mutius E. The asthma epidemic. N Engl J Med 2006 355:222635. Copyright 2006 Massachusetts Medical Society.
Why Are More Children Getting Asthma
No one really knows why more and more children are developing asthma. Suggestions include the following:
- Children are being exposed to more and more allergens such as dust, air pollution and second-hand smoke.
- Children arenât exposed to enough childhood illnesses to build up their immune systems.
- Lower rates of breastfeeding have prevented important substances of the immune system from being passed on to babies.
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What Are Signs And Symptoms Of Asthma In Babies
In infants and toddlers, it may be hard for parents, and even doctors, to recognize signs and symptoms of asthma. Bronchial tubes in infants, toddlers and preschoolers are already small and narrow, and colds and other illnesses can iname airways, making them even smaller and more irritated.
Asthma symptoms will vary from child to child. The challenge with infants is that they cannot tell you how they are feeling.
Babies with asthma may experience difficulty breathing you may notice their bellies moving more when inhaling or exhaling and the nostrils of their nose may flare out. You might also notice:
- Wheezing or a whistling sound when breathing
- Fast, shallow breathing
- Blue tint to skin and fingernails
Children With Allergies Can Go On To Develop Asthma
If your child tends to get allergies theyre said to be atopic. Being prone to allergies is usually something that runs in families. And if your child has one allergy theyre more likely to get another one.
For example, children with eczema, and a family history of allergy, are more at risk of developing asthma than other children.
GPs and researchers talk about the atopic march, says Dr Andy Whittamore, Asthma UKs in-house GP. This is when allergies appear in children in a certain order, depending on their age.
Sometimes allergies overlap, and sometimes your child will switch from one allergy to another. A small child with eczema may go on to have a food allergy, and then, as they get older, hay fever, and then asthma.
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Can You Have Asthma And Not Know It
It is not very common to have asthma and not know it. The characteristic symptoms of asthma include: * Chronic respiratory infections * Shortness of breath especially during exercise * Chest tightness * Chest wheezing * Cough * A whistling sound when breathing through the mouth * Difficulty breathing at night * Fatigue * History of allergies * A family history of asthma * A tendency to wheeze or cough especially after colds To make sure that you have asthma, you should get a blood test or a skin test. You should get a lung test if you have difficulty breathing or have had a recent infection or have had allergies or an upper respiratory tract infection in the last 12 months. If you have asthma, you should use a rescue inhaler at the onset of symptoms. If you still have asthma, chronic asthma symptoms and lack of relief with inhaled medications, you should see a doctor who can prescribe oral medications..
Is It Safe To Take Asthma Medicine During Pregnancy
Asthma symptoms that dont stop or that get worse can be a risk to your and your baby. If you were taking asthma medicine before pregnancy, dont stop taking it without talking to your provider first.
If youre diagnosed with asthma during pregnancy, talk to your provider about the best way to treat or manage it.
If youre already getting allergy shots, you can keep taking them during pregnancy. But if you arent getting allergy shots, dont start taking them when youre pregnant because you could have a serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.
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Does Asthma Start At Birth
Your entire life you have been breathing in what the body does not like, and then the asthma kicks in. It is never too late. You can always improve your asthma. But if you would have kept breathing in harmful things, your asthma would not have started. It starts at birth. Pediatricians know that asthma is most likely to begin during the first few months of life, but can be triggered later in childhood or even during adulthood..
How Is Asthma Diagnosed In Older Children
Asthma is typically diagnosed with a medical exam and a test that measures the airflow in and out of the lungs. Your child may have one asthma symptom, or several of them. You may think its just a cold or bronchitis. If the symptoms come back, thats a clue your child might have asthma. In addition, symptoms may worsen when your child is around asthma triggers, such as irritants in the air or allergens like pollen, pet dander and dust mites.
Tell your childs pediatrician if anyone in your family has asthma, allergies or atopic dermatitis. These conditions often run in families if they run in yours, its more likely your child will have them.
You may be referred to an allergist who may perform skin or blood tests to see whether your child has any allergies that can trigger asthma symptoms. These tests can be done at any age. You can help your childs doctor by completing a childhood asthma control test prior to your visit.
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What Asthma Treatment Options Are There
You have options to help manage your asthma. Your healthcare provider may prescribe medications to control symptoms. These include:
- Bronchodilators: These medicines relax the muscles around your airways. The relaxed muscles let the airways move air. They also let mucus move more easily through the airways. These medicines relieve your symptoms when they happen and are used for intermittent and chronic asthma.
- Anti-inflammatory medicines: These medicines reduce swelling and mucus production in your airways. They make it easier for air to enter and exit your lungs. Your healthcare provider may prescribe them to take every day to control or prevent your symptoms of chronic asthma.
- Biologic therapies for asthma: These are used for severe asthma when symptoms persist despite proper inhaler therapy.
You can take asthma medicines in several different ways. You may breathe in the medicines using a metered-dose inhaler, nebulizer or another type of asthma inhaler. Your healthcare provider may prescribe oral medications that you swallow.
Who Is At Risk Of Asthma
Asthma is a condition of the respiratory tract characterized by recurrent, obstructed airways. It is potentially fatal, and its characterized by periods of wheezing, difficulty breathing and chest tightness. Some people are at higher risk for developing asthma. People who have allergies and eczema are at a higher risk of developing asthma because the skin and respiratory tract line up next to each other and cause immunological cross-reactivity. Also, people with a family history of asthma are more likely to develop asthma. A family history of asthma suggests a genetic link. Between 7 and 8% of the population is affected by asthma, and 3% of the population has severe asthma..
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