Newswise — Awareness of guidelines to prevent COVID-19 is high among young asthma sufferers but around a third do not comply with them, according to a new survey published in the Journal of Asthma. The results also reveal that a fifth of asthmatics believe they have no risk of suffering from COVID-19.

While asthma patients can be assumed to be at higher risk of developing respiratory complications from COVID-19, little is known about their adherence to prevention measures. To find out more, Professor Francisco Vázquez-Nava of the Autonomous University of Tamaulipas, in Mexico, and colleagues surveyed 2,372 young adults aged 16-24 years from the Tampico-Madero-Altamira area, northwest of Mexico City, via an emailed questionnaire.

The researchers found that more than half (53.1%) of all respondents were not complying with the guidelines for COVID-19 prevention. Of those with asthma (12.2%), 100% were aware of the guidelines and measures established to prevent COVID-19 but 30.8% said they did not comply with them. A fifth (20.4%) of asthmatic participants believed they had no risk of suffering from COVID-19, and 3.8% stated that the disease did not exist.

Being male, a smoker and believing that COVID-19 is not more severe for people suffering from asthma made respondents less likely to follow measures for the prevention of COVID-19. The authors believe this is the first study to show such a relationship.

The study also found that 44.3% of patients with asthma hadn't received instructions from their doctor about the measures they should take to prevent COVID-19, and 20.4% were not advised by their treating doctor about the use of medications to control asthma during the pandemic. This is of particular concern as 20.4% of the asthmatic participants thought they had no risk of suffering from COVID-19, and 3.8% stated that the disease did not exist.

"Our results show that a substantial percentage of asthma patients do not comply with COVID-19 mitigation measures. Moreover, an important proportion of asthmatic patients smoke and consider that COVID-19 is not a serious disease for them. It's important that people who suffer from asthma be advised by a health professional during the COVID-19 outbreak regarding compliance with basic measures of protection against the disease and the timely use of medications for asthma control," the authors conclude.