Dr Gabriel Adakole, a Public Health expert, says people suffering from asthma are more at risk with the COVID-19 pandemic.
He noted that it is important to be aware and well informed about the disease, especially now.
Adakole said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN), on Wednesday in Abuja, on the sidelines of the 2021 World Asthma Day.
NAN reports that the theme for this year World Asthma Day is ‘Uncovering Asthma Misconceptions’.
The theme aims to address and burst widely-held myths and misconceptions concerning asthma that hinders people suffering from the disease to enjoy life to the fullest, despite advancement in medical science.
According to him, Asthma and COVID-19 similarly inflame the respiratory tract. It can even cause an asthma attack or lead to more serious life-threatening complications, like pneumonia or acute respiratory disease.
The expert said that since COVID-19 and asthma present similar symptoms, monitoring and controlling of asthma as well as avoiding triggers are key to staying safe.
“Since difficulty in breathing and shortness of breath can be symptoms of both COVID and asthma, telling the difference may be difficult.
“Seek immediate or emergency care if you are experiencing Respiratory distress, fast or laboured breathing, Chest pain, Bluish tint to skin, nails and trouble talking or walking,” he advised.
Speaking on the World Asthma Day, he noted that the World Asthma Day is an important day to create awareness and educate people about asthma, a chronic lung disorder.
The expert said it is quite relevant in today’s time, especially because of the coronavirus outbreak.
“Surprisingly, current data do not consistently suggest an increased prevalence of asthma among COVID-19 patients.
“Asthma sufferers are self-shielded and that’s why there’s less mortality,” he added.
Adakole advised asthma patients to take preventive measures during the pandemic by wearing a double mask while going out, keep necessary medicines stocked up.
The expert added that they should keep anxiety and stress levels as low as possible and focus on breathing exercises.
According to him, “Take steam twice daily to avoid chest congestion.”
NAN recalls that the World Health Organization (WHO) had said “People with under-treated asthma can suffer sleep disturbance, tiredness during the day, and poor concentration.
“Asthma sufferers and their families may miss school and work, with financial impact on the family and wider community. If symptoms are severe, people with asthma may need to receive emergency health care and they may be admitted to hospital for treatment and monitoring. In the most severe cases, asthma can lead to death.” (NAN)