covid-19 and asthma

Canadian researchers may have found a link between asthma and COVID-19

COVID-19 and asthma may be linked, according to an early report in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Researchers Elissa M. Abrams, Geert W.'t Jong, and Connie L. Yang have found "some evidence to date that those with asthma are overrepresented among the adult patients who have been admitted to hospital with corona­virus disease 2019."

U.S. CDC guidelines also support a link between asthma and COVID-19, listing moderate-to-severe asthma as a risk factor for the virus.

However, Canadian researchers believe that COVID-19 might actually trigger asthma exacerbations, meaning that asthma sufferers are more likely to feel the respiratory effects of the virus — but not necessarily more likely to contract it.

Despite the new findings, Winnipeg pediatric allergist immunologist Elissa M. Abrams warns that there's still "a lot of limitations" in the current literature.

"In general, viruses are a very common cause of asthma exacerbation, but it's important to know that different viruses do interplay with asthma differently," Abrams says.

During SARS in 2003, for example, Abrams says that asthma exacerbations actually decreased, likely due to Canadians taking more hygiene measures.

And while COVID-19 and asthma do seem to be linked, Canadian researchers require more data — particularly because Wuhan's data on hospitalized adults doesn't list asthma as a risk factor, making it difficult to draw any conclusions.

There also isn't enough data on the link between children with asthma and COVID-19, Abrams notes.

"We don't know enough about how this virus interacts with children who have asthma — we just don't have the data in our pediatric population," she says. "So while asthma is listed as a risk factor in adults, it isn't in children to date."

Abrams' advice to asthmatic Canadians? Stay on your medication, but avoid nebulizers, since they can aerosolise COVID-19 and increase the rate of viral transmission.

Patients should continue to use oral steroids for moderate-to-severe asthma exacerbations.

Lead photo by

NIAID


Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in News

Someone is setting fire to toilet paper at Walmart stores in Canada

Trudeau suggests Easter-style candy hunt instead of trick-or-treating for Halloween

Garbage truck full of weed caught trying to sneak over Canada-U.S. border

A rare white blue jay was spotted in Canada

Redneck dance cubes removed from Saskatoon bar after COVID-19 infections

Landlord in Canada told they can't evict tenants for making critical posts on social media

Canadians set record with giant pumpkin that weighs almost 2,000 pounds

Justin Trudeau halts press conference for discussion on Indigenous issues