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World Asthma Day 2021 – Misconceptions related to COVID-19

Did you know that having asthma does not make you more susceptible to COVID-19? Since coronavirus affects the lungs and so does asthma, it’s assumed that asthmatics are at higher risk but the latest research shows that there is no such evidence. So, you can heave a sigh of relief, literally! With World Asthma Day falling tomorrow, let’s look at other misconceptions surrounding asthma.

World Asthma Day

May 5 marks World Asthma Day every year. The people behind this observance belong to the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA), which itself is a collaborative formed by the World Health Organization. GINA was established in 1993. They decided to fix May 5 for raising awareness about asthma worldwide.

What is the theme for World Asthma Day 2021?

Misguided perceptions about this condition abound especially in the pandemic era, hence GINA set the theme for World Asthma Day 2021 as: Uncovering Asthma Misconceptions.
The theme calls for debunking long-held myths surrounding asthma, which not only keeps people uninformed but also prevents asthmatics from managing their condition effectively.
Asthma cannot be cured, yet asthmatics can lead a full life if they are able to manage the condition and prevent attacks. Former footballer David Beckham and ‘desi girl’ Priyanka Chopra Jonas are asthmatics, leading active, fabulous lives. In fact, Priyanka famously tweeted: “Those who know me well know that I’m an asthmatic. I mean, what’s to hide? I knew that I had to control my asthma before it controlled me. As long as I’ve got my inhaler, asthma can’t stop me from achieving my goals and living a Berok Zindagi,” she posted. Priyanka was giving a shout out to Berok Zindagi, Cipla’s CSR initiative that tries to help asthmatics live unstoppable lives.

Cipla CSR – Berok Zindagi

Berok Zindagi is the largest initiative by pharma company Cipla to create awareness for asthma by educating asthmatics about inhalers, thus encouraging asthmatics to openly accept and adopt inhalers to live a #BerokZindagi
Over the years, the CSR initiative has helped create awareness about asthma and its the right treatment i.e inhalers. With this objective, the pharma company has brought together asthmatics who have overcome the condition and proved to the world that asthmatics can achieve their dreams. Cipla partnered with Michelin Star chef Vikas Khanna, Commonwealth Gold-winning Badminton champion Parupalli Kashyap and top Bollywood actor, Ayushmann Khurrana to encourage asthmatics to use inhalers. The campaign is clearing the misconceptions surrounding asthma and inhalers.
Let’s clear the misconceptions!

Does asthma make you susceptible to COVID-19?

A new study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine provides strong evidence that the risk of severe, fatal COVID-19 in people with asthma is similar to that of the general population.
Another team from Rutgers University found that asthma does not appear to increase the risk for a person contracting COVID-19 or influence its severity. Their research was published in the ‘Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology’.
According to Reynold A. Panettieri Jr., a pulmonary critical care physician and director of the Rutgers Institute for Translational Medicine and Science, “Older age and conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes and obesity are reported risk factors for the development and progression of COVID-19. However, people with asthma — even those with diminished lung function who are being treated to manage asthmatic inflammation — seem to be no worse affected by SARS-CoV-2 than a non-asthmatic person.” However, manage your asthma well during these times, since both conditions directly affect the lungs.

Does wearing a mask in public trigger an asthmatic attack?

The triggers for asthma attacks include allergens in the air, stress and exercise. There’s no reason why a mask should trigger your reaction unless it’s causing you undue stress. However, it’s common sense that if you’re already having an attack, putting a mask on would leave you gasping for breath!

Asthma Action Plan

The CDC recommends asthmatics to do the following:
– Avoid your asthma triggers.
– Continue current medications, including any inhalers with steroids in them (“steroids” is another word for corticosteroids).
– Do not stop any medications or change your asthma treatment plan without talking to your doctor.
– Talk to your doctor, health insurance agent, and chemist about creating an emergency supply of prescription medications, such as asthma inhalers. Make sure that you have 30 days of non-prescription medications and supplies on hand in case you need to stay home for a long time.
– Be careful around cleaning agents and disinfectants.
Let’s clear the misconceptions concerning this condition on World Asthma Day, and beyond.