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Why controlling your allergies and asthma is so important during COVID-19 pandemic

Why controlling your allergies and asthma is so important during COVID-19 pandemic

If you have the following symptoms DO NOT attempt to come to the office. We have a direct COVID-19 symptoms line 405-397-6398 for you to schedule a TELEMEDICINE appointment.


Allergy Symptoms VS COVID-19 Symptoms

Throughout the US, pollen has started to bloom and cause typical symptoms in those with allergies right as we have seen the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Allergies typically cause nasal symptoms such as a runny nose and sinus congestion but do not usually result in a fever, as is found with coronavirus or the flu. While some symptoms of the coronavirus overlap with allergies, there are several differences. 

It’s important to note that this article is not intended to provide comprehensive medical advice. If you have concerns, please always contact your doctor and use general best practices. 

The Symptoms Of The Coronavirus Are:

According to the CDC, reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.

The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure:

  1. Fever
  2. Cough
  3. Shortness of breath

Coronavirus is spread through coughing, sneezing, and close personal contact. We recommend following the CDC guidelines and those of your local health department to prevent the spread of the virus. 

Symptoms Of Allergies Are:

Symptoms of seasonal allergies range from mild to severe and occur seasonally. The most common include:

  1. sneezing
  2. runny or stuffy nose
  3. watery and itchy eyes
  4. itchy sinuses, throat, or ear canals
  5. ear congestion
  6. postnasal drainage

Less Common Symptoms Include:

  1. headache
  2. shortness of breath
  3. wheezing
  4. coughing

Allergies are caused by a response in the immune system and are not contagious. Medications can treat your symptoms, and immunotherapy can help those with allergies find relief. 

What does this mean for patients with primary immune deficiency?

This is a respiratory virus that clearly can be spread by person-to-person contact, e.g. cough, sneezing, etc. Thus, patients with immune deficiency are at risk. There is no data on how severe this respiratory virus can be in PI patients, but judging from the China experience this virus is very serious.

We do not know if there are protective specific antibodies in immunoglobulin (Ig) preparations (IVIG or SCIg). Therefore, we cannot depend on replacement Ig to protect PI patients. Thus, PI patients have to be cautious and stay connected in their geographic location (CDC or local health department) whether there has been any persons in their location with coronavirus infection. If possible, avoid gatherings in which people may be coughing. This time of year there are many respiratory viruses around but it is not possible to identify which persons with respiratory symptoms have the coronavirus.

While masks can catch bacteria and some virus-containing droplets, they are less effective in filtering out fine viral particles in the air. If you decide to wear a mask, it must be worn consistently and correctly. Face masks will not provide protection if they do not have a good fit over your mouth and nose. Additionally, face masks get soiled and need to be changed regularly. As always, frequent hand washing is a must.

IDF will be monitoring this situation closely and if any updates become available as they relate to the PI community, we will provide an updated statement.

As allergists, we advise all our patients, especially those with asthma, to remain on their medications. It’s important that your asthma be well controlled, especially now. None of the asthma medications, including inhaled corticosteroids and biologics, have been shown to increase the risk of getting COVID-19. Also, if you become infected with COVID-19, there is no information that being on any of the asthma medications will make it worse. So please stay on all your medications. Contact your allergist if you have any questions, if you find you’re having trouble breathing or your asthma symptoms are becoming more severe.

To date, 80% of cases of COVID-19 are mild and limited in time. Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. For now, we are advising those with asthma or who may have immunodeficiency to keep up your treatments. It is important that nebulizers are used and cleaned properly. The most important thing is for your asthma to remain well controlled so you can stay healthy.

The following recommendations from the CDC should be considered:

  1. Avoid close contact (less than 6 feet) with people who are sick.
  2. Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
  3. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  4. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  5. Use tissues to cover coughs and sneezes, then discard tissue in the trash.
  6. Clean/disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

For information about the COVID-19 pandemic, here are links to sites with up-to-date and valuable information:

  1. CDC: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
  2. AAFA: Coronavirus (COVID-19): What People With Asthma Need to Know
  3. Allergies vs. COVID-19: Here’s how to tell the difference

With the spread of coronavirus, you may wonder what to do if you or a family member begins to feel sick and experience symptoms like fever, coughing and difficulty breathing. 

You may be tempted to go to the hospital emergency department or wait it out at home, hoping you’ll feel better soon. However, to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, you should avoid the emergency department at your local hospital except in the event of an emergency.

You Don’t Have to Leave Home to See Your Doctor

9 Reasons to Visit Your Doctor Virtually if You Don’t Feel Well

1. You Can Receive Personalized Medical Advice About Coronavirus Symptoms

A video visit can provide your doctor with the details needed to make an informed medical decision about the care you need. You won’t have to leave home when you’re not feeling well and deal with traffic, parking or bad weather. 

If you believe you’re at risk for coronavirus, please contact your health care provider or the local Department of Health. Risk factors that may indicate coronavirus include fever, cough, or flu-like signs, AND either recent international travel OR contact with someone recently diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19). 

If you’re at risk for the virus and your symptoms are mild, you may be able to recover at home. Your doctor can prescribe medications you may need. If your symptoms seem more serious, your doctor can advise you on next steps based on what you’re experiencing and your overall health status. In either case, read more about what happens if you get coronavirus.

2. You May Face a Higher Risk of Severe Illness

Contacting your doctor soon after you experience symptoms is especially important if you’re age 65 or older, or if you have an underlying health condition, such as lung disease, diabetes or heart disease. 

According to The The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people older than 65 and those of any age with an underlying medical condition are at highest risk for serious illness from coronavirus. 

The CDC’s list of underlying medical conditions includes:

  1. Chemotherapy or radiation for cancer (currently or in the past)
  2. Chronic kidney disease that requires dialysis
  3. Chronic lung disease or asthma
  4. Cirrhosis of the liver
  5. Congestive heart failure or coronary artery disease
  6. Diabetes
  7. Extreme obesity with a body mass index of 40 or more
  8. Lack of a spleen or a spleen that doesn’t function properly
  9. Neurologic conditions that weaken the ability to cough
  10. Sickle cell anemia
  11. Weakened immune system

The list also includes pregnancy and pertains to anyone of any age.

3. You Could Be Contagious and Infect Others if You Leave the House

Coronavirus disease is highly contagious. According to the CDC, the virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person. 

If an infected person coughs or sneezes, droplets in the air can travel to others who are within about 6 feet. If you’re feeling sick and leave your house, even for medical care, you could infect others who may have compromised immune systems in the emergency department or doctor’s office. 

4. A Video Chat Can Help You Be Proactive

If you feel sick, calling your doctor or scheduling a video visit can help your doctor determine the care you will need to monitor your condition and prevent it from developing into something more serious.

But an early call or virtual visit with your doctor helps you stay ahead of symptoms. Even if your symptoms are mild, your doctor may advise you to be monitored in the hospital if you have an underlying medical condition, such as heart disease or diabetes. 

5. You Can Save Precious Time

Instead of traveling to the doctor’s office when you’re not feeling well and waiting for your appointment, you’ll have your doctor’s attention from the comfort of your own home — right on your smartphone or computer.

Because virtual visits are visual, most of the time you spend with your doctor will be face to face. Through the ZOOM app, you and your doctor can access your medical records, see your test results and coordinate your care efficiently. 

6. You Can Prepare for Your Visit

It’s best to only leave your home for medical care if your doctor approves. During a coronavirus outbreak, an in-person visit may not be the safest choice. 

But if you first call your doctor or have a virtual visit, and your doctor advises you to come in, you’ll know it’s the right thing to do. By consulting with your doctor first, you’ll also have the chance to better prepare for an office or emergency department visit. 

The medical staff can advise you where to go and what to do to help prevent others in the waiting room from being exposed to coronavirus symptoms.

7. You Might Save Yourself a Trip

If your coronavirus symptoms are mild, your doctor may advise you to stay home. According to the CDC, people who are mildly ill with coronavirus are able to recover at home. Moreover, your symptoms may be something else, such as a cold or flu

If your doctor tells you to stay home, try to stay away from other people as much as possible. The CDC suggests staying in a specific sick room, such as a separate bedroom, and keeping the door closed. 

To keep your home safe, limit your contact with people, especially vulnerable household members older than 65 or with underlying medical conditions. Wash your hands often. Regularly disinfect surfaces, such as handrails, tables and doorknobs. Encourage everyone in your home to do the same. 

9. You’ll Know Whether You Should Go to the ER

Are your symptoms serious enough to warrant calling 911? Should you go to the emergency department? It’s not always easy to know what to do. To help prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), you should avoid the emergency department at your local hospital except in the event of an emergency.

Call 911 if you or a loved one experience severe coronavirus symptoms like:

  1. Bluish lips or face
  2. Feeling confused or not being able to be awakened
  3. Inability to breathe easily
  4. Persistent pain or pressure in the chest

When you call 911, tell the operator that you have or think you may have coronavirus. Otherwise, with worsening symptoms that don’t seem life-threatening, the best thing to do is call your primary care physician first. With a phone call or virtual visit, your doctor can advise you on what to do next.

We’re in This Together