NORFOLK, Va. — There is good news for asthma sufferers once considered to be at increased risk for COVID-19. Your medication could be protecting you.
"People who have asthma that are on their controller medicine which includes an inhaled down steroid, they may actually be less susceptible to COVID-19," said CHKD Pediatric Allergist and Immunologist, Dr. Angela Hogan.
Hogan, who treats children, says recent data show this is good news for anyone asthma.
"The inhaled steroid likes to down-regulate the same receptor that the COVID-19 likes to use to infect people," Hogan explained.
It makes those receptors less available and it helps with inflammation.
The CDC has classified people with moderate to severe asthma as possibly at higher risk of getting very sick with the virus.
COVID-19 mortality statistics from the New York State Department of Health show asthma is not in the top 10 comorbidities.
Hogan says now is not the time for asthmatics to slack up on their medication.
"The thinking is if their lungs are in a good place, if they happen to get the COVID-19 infection, their lungs are going to better be able to tolerate the infection."
The medicine includes inhaled corticosteroids, such as Flovent, Qvar, Advair, Alvesco and Symbicort.
In the CHKD blog, Covid-19 and Asthma: What Parents Need to Know, written by Allergist Dr. Cynthia Kelly, it's recommended that children with asthma not use a nebulizer if they have Covid-19.
Nebulization increases the release of viral particles from an infected person into the air putting family members more at risk.