Blog post: Coronavirus – health advice for people with asthma

Last updated: Thursday 27 February 2020

The coronavirus outbreak is a developing situation and the most up-to-date information for people in the UK can be found on the Government website hereThe risk to individuals of catching coronavirus remains low, but you might still be wondering what coronavirus means for you, or your child if they have asthma.

When people with asthma get respiratory infections, it can set off their asthma symptoms. If you’re feeling worried about what might happen if you catch coronavirus, the best action you can take is to follow these simple asthma management steps:

  • Keep taking your preventer inhaler (usually brown) daily as prescribed. This will help cut your risk of an asthma attack being triggered by any respiratory virus, including coronavirus.
  • Carry your blue reliever inhaler 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.
  • 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 your asthma symptoms get worse at any point, call 111 for advice or make a next day appointment with your GP (if you suspect you may have coronavirus, call 111, don’t go to see your GP).
  • If you’re having an asthma attack, follow the steps on your asthma action plan and call 999 for an ambulance if you need to.

As well as taking care of your asthma, there are some straightforward steps everyone can take to lower their risk of infection:

  • Have the flu vaccine – flu is another serious respiratory infection that can make asthma worse.
  • Wash your hands regularly.
  • Use tissues to wipe your nose or catch sneezes, and then bin them.
  • Public Health England doesn’t recommend wearing a facemask. Some people with lung conditions say they find wearing a mask makes breathing more difficult.
  • Follow this NHS advice if you have just come back from an at-risk area, or if you’ve been in contact with someone who has coronavirus.

If your asthma is getting worse and there’s a risk you might have coronavirus, please call 111. Don’t go to your doctor’s surgery.

When you speak to 111:  

  • Let them know that you have asthma and that you’re getting asthma symptoms.
  • Explain how often you are using your reliever inhaler and that it’s not working completely.
  • Follow the instructions given to you by 111. 
  • If your symptoms get worse quickly and you’re worried you are having an asthma attack, call 999 and let them know you may have coronavirus and are having an asthma attack. See our asthma attack advice for more information.

Last updated: Thursday 27 February 2020