Asthma & COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Last updated: March 27

Based on what we know so far about COVID-19 (coronavirus), people with asthma and other health concerns have been more likely to have serious complications after contracting the virus than the general population. Your physician can review your medical record to give you a greater understanding of your personal risk.

Here are answers to some common questions related to asthma and COVID-19. Please note that these answers are subject to change as we receive more information about COVID-19. If you have additional questions not answered here, call your physician or the Northwestern Medicine COVID-19 hotline at 312.47.COVID (312.472.6843).

Frequently Asked Questions

People who have asthma do not appear to be more likely to contract COVID-19. However, they are more likely to have serious complications. Experts believe that the more underlying health conditions a person has, the higher their chance of having serious complications from COVID-19.

A person who has asthma can get very sick because COVID-19 can affect your nose, throat and lungs, and cause an asthma attack. It can also lead to pneumonia and severe respiratory disease.

Take your asthma medication exactly as prescribed by your physician. Keep at least a 30-day supply of your medications, including inhalers, and contact your physician if you need refills. To refill your prescription, you can limit exposure to the virus by using a mail-order service or drive-thru pharmacy, or have a caregiver pick up your medication.

It is also important to use your inhaler correctly and avoid your asthma triggers. Strong emotions and stress can trigger an asthma attack, so it is important that you take steps to control stress and anxiety.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces like tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets and sinks daily to protect yourself against COVID-19. You can use regular household cleaning products to do this. Avoid disinfectants that can cause an asthma attack.

People with asthma should adhere to the recommendations released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, prioritizing physical distancing and hand hygiene. You should also exercise, eat well and get plenty of sleep. You should stay home as much as possible, and ask friends and family not to visit you if they are sick. If you have grandchildren, it is best to talk to them on the phone or via video conference (like FaceTime or Skype) rather than see them in person.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, such as a fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath, call your physician for guidance.

If you have been exposed to someone who received a COVID-19 diagnosis, you should self-isolate for 14 days and monitor for symptoms of the virus. If you begin to experience symptoms, call your physician.