Asthma patients face higher Covid risk
George Kebaso @Morarak
More than four million asthmatic Kenyans risk suffering severe Covid-19 complications if they do not strictly observe containment measures, the Ministry of Health has warned.
Health Chief Administrative Secretary Rashid Aman cautioned that due to the potential of an increased severity of co-existing Covid-19 disease, people with asthma should adhere to health measures to prevent being infected with Coronavirus.
Whereas there is no evidence of increased Covid-19 infection rates in those with asthma currently, Dr Aman warned patients against dropping the guard, as they risked suffering deadly complications if they got infected.
“This year, we recognise that the Covid-19 pandemic is creating concern and uncertainty for many people around the globe, including those with asthma.
While more research needs to be done, it appears that people with uncontrolled asthma are at risk of severe Covid-19,” the CAS said on Wednesday at Kenyatta National Hospital where he received donations towards asthma control from Respiratory Society of Kenya and AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals.
He asked those living with asthma to be more vigilant to Covid-19 public health protocols by observing social and physical distancing, correctly wearing masks as well as thoroughly washing hands frequently.
“Our advice to people diagnosed with asthma is, while they strictly observe public health protocols, they should continue with asthma treatment as prescribed and develop communication channels with their health care providers for advice on care and treatment.
They should also seek medical assistance promptly,” he added as Kenya joined global celebrations to mark the World Asthma Day on May 4.
This year’s theme is ‘Uncovering misconceptions about asthma’.
“This year’s theme therefore, provides a call to action to address widely held myths and misconceptions concerning the disease that prevent persons with asthma from enjoying optimal benefit from major advances that have been made in the care and treatment of this condition,” he said.
Asthma is a chronic lung disease characterised by persistent or recurrent symptoms of wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath and coughing. It is a major contributing factor to missed time from school and work.
But when the disease is uncontrolled, Aman said it could lead to attacks requiring emergency room visits and hospitalisations.
“Sometimes these asthma attacks can be fatal. Asthma, therefore has important social and economic consequences.
And thus, avoiding uncontrolled asthma is very important during the period of the Covid-19 pandemic,” he added.