What People With Pre-Existing Lung Conditions Should Know About the Coronavirus

If, like many Americans, you suffer from a pre-existing lung condition, you are likely wondering if you are at high risk for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). After all, shortness of breath is one of the main symptoms of the virus. In this article, a pulmonologist in Tampa will discuss whether or not those suffering from a lung disease, such as asthma, will be uniquely affected by the virus, as well as what you can do to protect yourself. As with any medical condition or concern, it’s important to remain calm and do what you’re doing right now: staying informed and educating yourself. With preparation, you can protect your lung health during this difficult time. 

Are People With Pre-Existing Lung Conditions at a Greater Risk of Contracting the Coronavirus? 

No, you are not at a greater risk of contracting the coronavirus than the general population; however, you are at a greater risk of having severe symptoms if you do contract the virus. Therefore, it’s imperative that you follow the same guidelines as everyone else for reducing the risk of infection: 

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Use hand sanitizer (60-95% alcohol) if soap and water are unavailable
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Avoid large gatherings
  • Avoid public places and practice social distancing — at least 6 feet

Although you may be tempted to stockpile masks, don’t. As The New York Times reports, face masks can only help prevent the spread of the virus once someone already has it. Furthermore, a face mask can impair your breathing if you are living with a lung condition. 

Related: How to Manage Your COPD

What Else Can I Do to Protect Myself? 

If you suffer from a pre-existing lung disease, such as asthma, COPD, or interstitial lung disease, you should be more open with your caregivers, attentive to your symptoms, and take your medications as directed. Asthma sufferers should take their preventer inhaler as prescribed and have their reliever inhaler on hand. If you believe your medication prescription needs to be refilled, be sure to contact your pulmonary doctor in Tampa. You should have at least a 30 day supply of needed medications. 

Related: Managing Your Asthma Symptoms

What Should I Do If I Start Showing Symptoms?  

Coronavirus symptoms include fever, increased cough, and shortness of breath. If you begin displaying symptoms outside of the ordinary, you should remain calm and contact your medical provider for medical advice. Those with mild symptoms should be able to recover at home. Be sure to call ahead if you decide to visit a doctor or emergency room. Finally, if you develop emergency warning signs for the coronavirus — difficulty breathing, persistent chest pain or pressure, confusion or inability to arouse, or bluish lips or face — seek immediate medical attention. 

As a pulmonologist in Tampa, Ravikanth Vydyula, M.D., hopes that this article has been helpful and informative. Although the spread of the coronavirus is alarming, it in no way means that you are unable to take care of yourself or your lung health. For any questions or concerns regarding the coronavirus and its potential impact on your lung health, reach out to Dr. Vydyula’s office.

To schedule a consultation with Ravikanth Vydyula, M.D., a lung doctor in Tampa, please request an appointment today.

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are for general educational purposes only. All content and media on the Ravikanth Vydyula, M.D., website does not constitute professional medical advice nor is the information intended to replace the services of Ravikanth Vydyula, M.D., or other qualified medical professionals. If you believe you are having a medical emergency, call 911 immediately. 

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