Huntsville pulmonologist addresses coronavirus concerns for people with asthma

The CDC reports people with asthma could be at a higher risk of getting sick from the coronavirus.

Posted: Apr 7, 2020 8:12 PM
Updated: Apr 7, 2020 11:02 PM

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the coronavirus attacks people of any age with an underlying health condition. That includes asthma, a respiratory condition that makes it difficult to breathe.

The CDC reports people with asthma could be at a higher risk of getting sick from the coronavirus. They say it can cause an asthma attack, and possibly pneumonia and acute respiratory disease.

WAAY31 talked with a pulmonologist to find out what people with asthma need to know when it comes to the virus.

"There's nothing that's published that's proven, so we'll start there," Dr. Jason Smith, a pulmonologist at Huntsville Hospital, said.

"But then I'll go back to the common sense rule, that anything I have, that can effect my airways, such as this viral illness in particular, is going to effect me more if I've got an airway illness to start off with."

Dr. Smith says at this point, there's research done that illustrates how exactly the coronavirus impacts people with asthma. But with asthma causing a weaker respiratory system and the coronavirus causing difficult breathing, it's a risk. Dr. Smith says some wonder whether to stay on their medicine.

"Out of China, they knew that steroids and hospitalized patients could cause a worsening problem," Dr. Smith said. 

But he says there is no study to defend going off of your medication and it would simply put you even more at risk. 

"There's no studies saying inhalers hurt me," Dr. Smith said.

"So I go back to my defense, my inhalers are my defense. Am I going to go to war without a defense and the answers no."

He says if you have asthma, stay on your current medication. 

"You keep your medicines, you stay on your action plan, that's the best thing you can do for yourself," Dr. Smith said. 

Dr. Smith says although some hospitals around the country are seeing an increase in inhaler prescriptions, he is not seeing that here in Huntsville.

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