Spring 2020 is proving to be a difficult season for those living with asthma. Along with the usual asthma triggers, such as tree pollen and other seasonal allergens that cause flare-ups, COVID-19 represents a new risk for patients with asthma at a particularly high risk for complications.
The team at the Allergy & Asthma Center wants patients to be as informed and prepared as possible, both for the usual triggers they encounter each spring and for the additional risks brought on by COVID-19. If you have asthma, here are four vital reminders for staying healthy throughout this spring season:
Keep Your Medication Well-Stocked
What do seasonal allergies, a cold or flu, and a suspected case of COVID-19 have in common? They are all associated with respiratory symptoms which can lead to a decrease in asthma control. When every trip outside your home is risky, it’s important to have a healthy stock of all the over-the-counter medications you might need to manage these symptoms, including:
- Cold and flu medications
- Acetaminophen for pain and fever relief
- Allergy (antihistamine) medications
- Saline and/or steroid nasal sprays
- Antihistamine eye drops
As for prescription medications, experts recommend a thirty-day supply. If you have asthma, this includes your controller medication, rescue inhaler and any other medications that are part of your asthma action plan. If you’re having difficulty remembering the last time you ordered an inhaler, check the date on your prescription to be sure it hasn’t expired.
Maintain a Clean Space
Spring cleaning during social isolation isn’t just an opportunity to get your home in order. Cleaning the house can also reduce levels of indoor allergens such as dust, mold and pet dander. With that said, be sure your cleaning efforts themselves don’t increase your exposure: use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter and wear a mask if you’re kicking up a lot of dust. Choose non-toxic cleaning products that are not themselves harmful or irritating to your airways.
Try to Manage Your Stress
Difficult times can cause a great deal of confusion and stress, so it’s understandable if you’re feeling an increased amount of anxiety. Stress is a common asthma trigger and long-term, chronic stress can also weaken your immune system. With your body’s health at stake, it’s important to take care of your mind as best you can. Stay mentally active with work or hobbies, exercise regularly, and use music, yoga, meditation or other ways to de-stress. Contact with others is vital to your mental health, so be sure to reach out to those you love when you can, taking full advantage of telephone and internet technology when it is safer to do so remotely.
Communicate with Your Doctor
Although many locations in Maryland, DC and Virginia have closed their doors to prevent the spread of COVID-19, provisions have been made for essential businesses and services to remain open. This includes the Allergy & Asthma Center. If you are well and have not traveled to a high-risk area, there is no need to skip your appointment with the asthma doctor - in fact, it’s more important now than ever to have your asthma care and prescriptions up-to-date.
At the Allergy & Asthma Center, we seek to prioritize your safety and provide uninterrupted care for those with chronic conditions such as asthma. We remain open to provide in-person care, and we are safely serving both new and established patients via Zoom Telehealth Virtual Visits.
If you are in need of a prescription update or have concerns about your asthma this spring, please don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment today. We are here to help!