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Binghamton University, State University of New York

Tips for managing asthma during the coronavirus pandemic

With the added coronavirus risk for
people with asthma, Binghamton University Assistant Professor of Nursing Judith Quaranta has tips to mitigate that risk and cope with the extra anxiety of being in a high-risk group.

"Dealing with asthma can be especially challenging during these times of COVID-19. It is essential to maintain asthma control, reducing the need to visit an already overwhelmed healthcare provider’s office or emergency room and potentially increasing exposure to this devastating virus. Social distancing should be practiced as much as possible, but this can pose additional difficulties for the person with asthma.

"Staying indoors may increase exposure to certain asthma triggers. If possible, a room in your home should be maintained as trigger-free as possible. Depending on your triggers, keep all pets out of your room. Try to maintain a dust-free environment. If possible, have someone other than the person with asthma clean with a HEPA-filtered vacuum and dust frequently. Maintain low humidity to reduce mold and dust mites. Don’t leave food exposed on counters and empty garbage frequently to reduce the risk of cockroaches. As Spring is approaching, be aware of pollen counts and the need to keep windows closed to reduce exposure. Avoid any type of smoke.

"Being aware of one’s early warning signs so steps can be taken to prevent an acute exacerbation is fundamental. Make sure you have enough medication on hand. Continue to take your daily controller medications to help keep your asthma in control. A rescue inhaler is imperative, even if you haven’t needed it for a while. If you do peak flow monitoring, make sure to continue this practice and notify your healthcare provider if it falls below 80% of your personal best.

"As important is the need to manage stress during these times, as stress has been shown to worsen asthma. Try to maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating healthy foods, exercising, and getting enough sleep. Keep in touch with friends and loved ones through social media. Especially for children with asthma, try to maintain routines and as normal a life as possible in these trying times."

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