In commemoration of World Asthma Day, managing director of New Heights Pharmaceuticals, Pharm. Ogheneochuko Omaruaye has warned that, unless there is an emergency, people living with asthma should temporarily stay away from public health hospitals.
He warned that common wheezing from an asthmatic patient could probably be misconstrued by people for the coughing symptom of COVID-19.
Speaking at an awareness programme on ‘Asthma and COVID-19 Pandemic’ organized by New Heights Pharmaceuticals in collaboration with Omron Nebulisers, the pharmacist stressed that most health facilities are currently overwhelmed with people coming for COVID-19 testing and other emergencies.
“At a time like this, we expect people with Asthma to collaborate with their healthcare professionals on how to manage their health condition better at home. Hospitals are not the friendliest places to visit at the moment because frontline health workers are busy fighting the pandemic. This is why it is particularly important to liaise with medical professionals and get home devices like nebulizers, peak flow meters and pulse oximeters for use,” he urged.
Omaruaye further stressed that this year’s WAD celebration is different because Nigerians, just like others across the globe, are gradually adjusting to the ‘new normal’.
While affirming that people often mistake nebulizer for a ventilator, the New Heights Pharma boss explained that the latter is a machine that provides mechanical ventilation by moving breathable air into and out of the lungs, to deliver breaths to a patient who is physically unable to breathe, or breathing insufficiently, while nebulizers are drug delivery devices used to administer medication in the form of a mist inhaled into the lungs.
“Such medication from doctors are best delivered to the lungs with the Omron Nebulizers, while the peak flow meters are used every day to help you or your child recognize early changes that may be signs of worsening asthma,” he said.
Meanwhile the founder of Asthma and Chest Foundation, Prof. Gregory Erhabor has disclosed that there is a tendency for the public to mistake an asthma-related cough for symptom of COVID-19.
“As doctors, we usually say that all wheezes are not asthma-related just as wheezing is not one of the symptoms in COVID-19. For asthma, diagnosis is from spirometry and demonstration of airway reversibility.
“On the other hand, the best way to diagnose COVID-19 is through testing and tracking of symptomatic and exposed individuals,” he said.
Explaining the difference between wheezing in asthmatic patients and cough in people with COVID-19, Erhabor disclosed that the latter is dry, continuous, associated with fever, sore throat, muscle aches, breathlessness and other constitutional symptoms while asthmatic cough is usually episodic, associated with wheeze, breathlessness, chest tightness, and triggered by exogenous factors.