Health officials in England say people with asthma should enter a 12-week quarantine to avoid getting coronavirus, according to media reports.
Other health experts and organizations also say asthma sufferers could be more vulnerable to contracting COVID-19.
Patients with underlying health conditions, which includes asthma, were instructed by the United Kingdom government to begin quarantining themselves this weekend, according to Pulse.
“By this coming weekend, it will be necessary to go further and to ensure that those with the most serious health conditions are largely shielded from social contact for around 12 weeks,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, according to Express.
The World Health Organization reports that people with pre-existing medical conditions “appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.”
When people with asthma get respiratory infections such as coronavirus, “it can set off their asthma symptoms,” according to Asthma.org.
Those with asthma are advised to keep taking your preventer inhaler daily, carry your reliever inhaler, start a peak flow diary and use an asthma action plan, according to Asthma.org.
More than 25 million Americans have asthma, including 7.7% of adults and 8.4% of children, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
While children are not as at risk for COVID-19 compared to adults, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it is not known if children with “underlying medical conditions” are more at risk.
Dr. Greg Poland, a professor of infectious diseases and director of the Mayo Clinic Vaccine Research Group, told Buzzfeed News “asthma is definitely a risk factor.”
“The most immediate thing (parents) can do tomorrow is to make sure that child and everyone else in the family has flu vaccines,” Poland told Buzzfeed.
But how can you tell the difference between symptoms of asthma and coronavirus? Allergy specialist Dr. Karyn Gell told WXMI the cough is dryer in coronavirus.
“More of a mucousy, wet cough could be a little bit more associated with asthma,” Gell said.
Some doctors do not believe asthma plays a large risk in contracting coronavirus, however.
David Jackson, the clinical lead for asthma care at Guy’s Hospital In London, told Time that “asthma currently doesn’t seem to be a significant risk factor for a more severe infection.”
Another doctor also told Time that people in China and South Korea with asthma have not been more at risk of getting the virus.
Actor Idris Elba is among the people who have asthma and coronavirus, he said on Twitter. He said his pre-existing condition makes him worried.
“I’m worried about having asthma and how that could make things complicated very quickly,” he said on Twitter. “I’m very worried about what’s happening in the world, If I’m being honest.”