What should people with asthma do now?

How to cut the risk of getting coronavirus and what happens to your usual asthma care

Current on: Monday 20th April 

Last updated on: Tuesday 14th April

The coronavirus outbreak is a rapidly developing situation and the most up-to-date information for people in the UK can be found on the NHS website.

Stay at home to stop the spread of coronavirus

Everyone now needs to stay at home to slow down the spread of coronavirus. If you have asthma, and have not received a letter asking you to follow the shielding guidance, you can only go out:

  • to get essentials like food and medicine, no more than you absolutely need to
  • to do a form of exercise once a day
  • for any medical need
  • to support a vulnerable person
  • to go to work, only if you can't work from home.

Continue to wash your hands often, with soap and water. Don't touch your face if your hands aren't clean. And use tissues to wipe your nose or catch a sneeze, and bin them straight away.

Manage your asthma well to reduce the risk from coronavirus

When people with asthma get respiratory infections, it can set off their asthma symptoms.

The best action you can take is to follow these simple asthma management steps:

  • Keep taking your preventer inhaler daily as prescribed. This will help cut your risk of an asthma attack being triggered by any respiratory virus, including coronavirus.
  • Carry your reliever inhaler (usually blue) with you every day, in case you feel your asthma symptoms flaring up.
  • Download and use an asthma action plan to help you recognise and manage asthma symptoms when they come on.
  • Start a peak flow diary, if you have a peak flow meter. If you don’t have a peak flow meter, think about getting one from your GP or pharmacist, as it can be a good way of tracking your asthma and helping to tell the difference between asthma symptoms and COVID-19 symptoms. It can also help your medical team to assess you over the phone or video.
  • If you come down with flu, a cold, or any other respiratory infection, follow our tips for looking after your asthma when you’re not well.
  • If you smoke it’s vital to quit now as smoking will increase your risk from COVID-19. There’s NHS advice on how to give up smoking here.

 

We hope you have found this content useful

 

Our team of health experts is working tirelessly on a daily basis to provide the latest and most up to date health advice concerning Coronavirus (COVID-19) for people with asthma.

Record numbers of people now need our support. As a charity we solely rely on donations from people like you. We do not yet know if we will be eligible for government help. However our help and advice are only possible thanks to kind donations from people like you.

If you can and are able, please donate now.

Your usual asthma care

You should still be getting your usual asthma care at this time, but some elements might look a bit different.

Emergency care

If you are having an asthma attack, this is an emergency. You must follow the steps on your action plan and get your usual emergency care, including going to A&E or calling 999 if you need to.

Care from your GP

Your GP is likely to be doing most of their appointments over the phone or video. If they still need to see you, they will ask you to come into the surgery, but you should expect to talk to them on the phone first.

If your asthma is getting worse, you still need to make an urgent appointment to talk to your GP.

Some routine appointments might be postponed at this time. This may include annual asthma reviews in some GP surgeries. If this is the case for you, make sure you book an asthma review as soon as you are able to. These reviews help you make sure that your asthma is managed as well as possible and can help you cut the risk of an asthma attack.

Specialist care

If you see a specialist for your asthma, it’s likely they will also be taking appointments over the phone or video chat. They may also postpone certain types of appointments.

Your hospital or specialist care team will let you know what to do if you have an appointment coming up.

Your medicines

You should order your asthma medicines as normal. Don’t try to stockpile your medicines or order more than you need.

We have heard that some people are finding it difficult to get hold of certain asthma medicines. If your pharmacist doesn’t have your usual medicines, they will try to give you an alternative. If they can’t, you could try ringing around other pharmacies to see if they have your medicine, or an equivalent, in stock. Or go back to your GP to see if they can prescribe something else.

If you need to change your medicines, you can find information and support here. If you get a new inhaler device, have a look at our inhaler videos to help you master the technique.

Supporting your wellbeing while staying at home

It’s really important to look after yourself while you are staying at home, even if you don’t have symptoms of COVID-19.

Try to keep active

Do whatever physical activity you can manage. This might be a walk or run around your local area, or some yoga or an exercise video at home. Even if you aren’t able to do much exercise, try to break up the time you spend sitting down by walking around at home.

Look after your physical health

Eat healthy meals, drink enough water, and try not to increase how much alcohol you drink. If you smoke, now is a great time to give up as smoking raises the risk from coronavirus. You can find out more about quitting here.

Stay social

It’s really important to keep in touch with friends and family. You can send texts or emails, call people on the phone or use video chat to stay in touch with people who are important to you.

Look after your mental health

Lots of people are feeling anxious or struggling with their mental health at the moment. The Mental Health Foundation has produced a great list of tips to help people cope with anxiety. Ideas include:

  • Making sure you’re looking after yourself, so you feel more able to cope with whatever happens.
  • Watch out for bad habits like increasing your alcohol consumption. Try to make sure you are getting some exercise
  • Only looking at reliable sources of information, like the NHS and the gov.uk websites.
  • Staying connected to friends and family and talking about your worries.

 

 

We hope you have found this content useful

 

Our team of health experts is working tirelessly on a daily basis to provide the latest and most up to date health advice concerning Coronavirus (COVID-19) for people with asthma.

Record numbers of people now need our support. As a charity we solely rely on donations from people like you. We do not yet know if we will be eligible for government help. However our help and advice are only possible thanks to kind donations from people like you.

If you can and are able, please donate now.