18 March 2020
As the new coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads, it’s important for people with asthma to maintain good asthma control and follow the advice from health authorities.
Sensitive Choice is part of the National Asthma Council Australia, which has developed information about COVID-19 and asthma. Steps you can take include:
- Take your preventer medication as prescribed, make sure your asthma action plan is up to date (ask your doctor if you don’t have one) and check whether you’re using your inhaler and spacer properly. These how-to videos are here to help.
- Use your puffers with a spacer to get the most out of your medicines. Speak with your doctor about avoiding the use of nebulisers, as they can increase the risk of spreading respiratory infections to other people.
- Make sure you have enough medication for a month, but don’t stockpile more than you need. New limits apply to the sale of certain medications, including salbutamol inhalers, due to increased demand. If you do encounter shortages, call ahead to pharmacies to check which have stock, as this may vary from location to location. If you are unwell, call ahead to your pharmacy so they can arrange minimal contact delivery.
- Get good rest and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
- Take extra care during the upcoming flu season as respiratory infections, including colds and flu, can trigger asthma flare-ups. Speak with your doctor about having the flu vaccination.
- To protect against infection, follow social distancing advice. The government has announced limits on non-essential gatherings to two people and asks everyone to stay home unless it is necessary to go out. Practise good hygiene, which includes washing hands often with soap and water, using a tissue and covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze.
- Take advantage of Telehealth if required.
- Some people may need to self-isolate, including all travellers arriving in Australia, people who have COVID-19 and their close contacts.
- People aged 60 and older with pre-existing conditions like diabetes, heart disease and lung disease may be severely affected by COVID-19. Children rarely have severe symptoms when infected and may even be a bit less likely to get the disease in the first place, but that doesn’t mean infants, toddlers and teens are not carriers. Take precautions if grandparents are called to look after children in the event of school shut down.
- If you become unwell with COVID-19, keep taking your regular asthma preventer. Only take oral (systemic) steroids if your doctor has advised you to do so. These medications act on your whole body, not just your lungs, and may slow down your recovery from the virus. Speak with your doctor before stopping any medication.
- If you need to go to hospital, take your medication and spacer with you.
This is a changing situation. Please visit the National Asthma Council Australia for more information and updates.
Please be aware this is a new illness, and while a number of Sensitive Choice approved products have the potential to kill common viruses and bacteria, none have been tested against COVID-19 and none are known to kill it.
Looking for more information?
Visit Asthma Australia to read more about COVID-19 for people with asthma.
Go to Healthdirect Australia for more information about COVID-19 symptoms, home isolation and common questions. You can also call the Health Information Line on 1800 020 080.
Visit Beyond Blue’s coronavirus support page.