Asthma and COVID-19: What you need to know

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Published:  December 4, 2023

The spring allergy season is typically a difficult time of the year for patients with allergies and asthma. This year, given the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, it is very important to distinguish between symptoms of asthma and COVID-19.

How do I tell the difference between asthma and COVID-19?

Allergic Asthma Symptoms:

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Associated allergy symptoms
    • Runny and stuffy nose
    • Sneezing
    • Itchy, watery, red eyes
    • Dry and itchy skin rashes
  • Fever is NOT a symptom

COVID-19 Symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Dry cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of taste and smell
  • Muscle aches
  • Chills
  • Diarrhea (rare)
  • Nasal congestion is present in only 5% of patients
  • Red eyes are present in less than 1% of patients

It is important for patients with asthma to remain on their daily medications even if symptoms seem controlled. This also applies to the use of biologic therapies for asthma (Xolair, Nucala, and Fasenra). This is especially important during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Important Take Home Points

  • There is no clear evidence that patients with asthma are at any higher risk of being infected with COVID-19.
  • Asthma is an “underlying medical condition” that may be associated with more severe disease if you are infected with COVID-19. This is even more reason to make sure your asthma is well controlled at this time.
  • There is no evidence that medications used to prevent asthma symptoms (including inhaled or oral steroids, montelukast, and biologics) increase your risk of contracting COVID-19. For those on asthma medications, these should all be continued at the current time.

We continue to be available for our patients during this difficult time.