The COVID-19 pandemic is nothing short of a nightmare for us. It becomes one step more undesirable for patients with respiratory problems, because catching COVID-19 could be potentially fateful for them. Patients with asthma, COPD, bronchitis etc. have probably been on the edge since this pandemic began. It is very essential for them to take extra care and precautions to avoid catching the virus.
Asthma can affect people of all ages. Symptoms such as wheezing, coughing or feeling tightness in your chest can vary in intensity and time of occurrence. If an asthma patient gets infected, their chances of developing an asthma attack also increase due to worsening of symptoms. Prevention is the best cure for viral infections. Easy steps to prevent catching an infection are:
- Taking care of personal hygiene: Remember to wash your hands often, and with soap. When you sneeze or cough, cover your mouth.
- Adopting good food-safety techniques: Always rinse all fruits, vegetables and meat before cooking. Wash your hands, too. Cooking your food thoroughly is equally important.
- Vaccinating yourself: Keep up to date with your vaccines. Asthma patients should always keep their inhaler clean and handy.
Stress often triggers asthma attacks, especially during uncertain times. When you feel stress building up inside you, try one of the following two exercises:
The first one involves ‘Mindful Breathing’
1. Start by breathing in and out slowly.
2. Use your nose to breathe in and mouth to breathe out.
3. Inhale for 7 seconds, hold your breath 7 seconds and then exhale for 7 seconds.
4. Try to clear your mind of other thoughts while breathing.
5. Do this three times.
And the next activity is ‘Observation’
1. Select your favourite natural object from around you. Like the clouds, moon or maybe a tree.
2. Try to really focus on it for a minute or two.
4. Don’t think or do anything but focus on your object.
5. Imagine you’re seeing it for the first time. Let yourself be filled with wonder.
6. Relax as you focus and observe it.
One might think that by restricting their time spent outside the house, they are safely protecting themselves from the virus. You might be surprised to know that that’s not true! While we are sanitizing every item that we bring into the house, have we given a thought to the air inside our house? We are, after all, breathing it in 24/7! The quality of air inside your houses plays an important role in determining whether or not we catch a viral infection.
If you experience any of these symptoms: Dryness and irritation of eyes, nose, throat, and skin, headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, hypersensitivity, dizziness and coughing, but they disappear after you step out of the house for a while, it means that the air quality of your home is contaminated. Here’s how you can make sure the air inside your house stays clean for you:
- Keep the house clean. Vacuum around the house at least once a week with HEPA filter equipped vacuum cleaner. Clear any mess or pile of things in the house, because it can and will hold dust particles.
- Keep your plants outdoors. Sure, they do help us by releasing oxygen but in-door plants also provide the perfect environment for mold growth. If you have asthma or other respiratory problems, it is best to keep the plants outside on the balcony.
- Change the filters of your air conditioner regularly.
- Invest in air purifiers. They can capture indoor air irritants that may can be asthma triggers.
- Ensure proper ventilation of bathrooms and clean it from any mold caught up in the shower, on fixtures, or walls.
- Let the fresh air in. Even in the cold months, you should open the windows to let the fresh air circulate throughout the house. Using fans in the kitchen also removes air contaminants out of the house..
You should always be ready for when an asthma attack may grip you, despite your best efforts. Keep an eye out for emergency symptoms such as:
- Fast breathing. Also, a sucking feeling in the chest/rib when you inhale.
- Going very pale or blue coloring in the face, lips or fingernails
- Nostrils moving very fast
- Ribs or stomach rising and falling rapidly
- Expanded chest
If you think you’re having an asthma attack, you should:
- Remain calm. Sit up straight and try to breathe slowly.
- Take a puff of your reliever inhaler every half a or one minute. Take only up to 10 puffs.
- Call for an ambulance if you still don’t feel better ot don’t have your inhaler with you.
After an asthma attack, you should see a doctor immediately. Keep your family and friends informed and trained to assist you during these times. Stay educated, stay safe!
1. Asthma. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/asthma. Accessed on 23 July 2020.
2. How to prevent infections. Available at: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-prevent-infections. Accessed on 28 July 2020.
3. Strong Emotions, Stress and Depression Can Trigger Asthma. Available at: https://www.aafa.org/emotions-stress-depression.aspx. Accessed on 23 July 2020.
4. Indoor Air Quality – General. Available from: https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/chemicals/iaq_intro.html. Accessed on 29 July 2020.
5. Easy ways you can improve indoor air quality. Available from: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/easy-ways-you-can-improve-indoor-air-quality. Accessed on 29 July 2020.
6. What Are the Symptoms of Asthma? Available at: https://www.aafa.org/asthma-symptoms/. Accessed on 24 July 2020.
7. Asthma attacks-Asthma. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/asthma/asthma-attack/. Accessed on 24 July 2020.