Asthma symptoms: Is asthma a lung disease? Is asthma a coronavirus high risk group?

Coronavirus cases are spiralling to huge highs as the number of confirmed patients in the UK soars. Boris Johnson has announced people should stay at home if they are in a high risk group – but what does this mean for people with asthma?

The NHS says symptoms of asthma include:

  • a whistling sound when breathing
  • breathlessness
  • a tight chest, which may feel like a band is tightening around it
  • coughing

An asthma attack is when symptoms temporarily get worse.


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Is asthma a lung disease?

Asthma is classed as a lung disease.

According to the British Lung Foundation, symptoms occur when airways become inflamed and tighten when something irritates them.

It can be effectively managed using inhalers and most people with the condition lead normal lives.

What causes asthma?

The definitive causes of asthma are not yet known. It often runs in families and is more common in people who have allergies.

Asthma that begins in childhood is often associated with suffering from an allergy.

Often when it is developed as an adult it is not associated with having an allergy.

Asthma can also develop through frequent exposure to certain substances, such as dust and debris often inhaled in manual labour jobs.

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Does having asthma put you at high risk from COVID-19?

Coronavirus is a viral respiratory infection with symptoms that include a dry cough, high fever and shortness of breath, so is naturally bad news for asthma sufferers.

The government has listed asthma as one of the at risk conditions, alongside other chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

Getting a respiratory infection can make the symptoms of asthma much worse and increase the likelihood of attacks.

Severe asthma is rare but difficult to control. If you are deemed very high risk because of this, the NHS will contact you over the coming week with instructions.

If you have asthma and develop symptoms, you need to self isolate and use the NHS 111 service to book a test.

If you do not have asthma you only need to self isolate.

Yesterday’s Boris Johnson updated the measures people with health conditions such as asthma need to take to protect themselves from COVID-19.

He said: “By this coming weekend – it will be necessary to go further and to ensure that those with the most serious health conditions are largely shielded from social contact for around 12 weeks.”

The Prime Minister is now expected to give a daily statement on the coronavirus crisis.

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