Difficulty breathing, coughing, tightness in the chest, shortness of breath: these are common symptoms for more than 22 million Brazilians who have asthma. This May 3, the World Day to Combat the disease that causes inflammation of the airways or bronchi is celebrated.
According to DATASUS, a database of the Ministry of Health, annually, chronic illness causes about 350 thousand hospitalizations in the Unified Health System (SUS), being the third or fourth leading cause of hospitalizations.
“The manifestations range from mild illness, for example, occasional wheezing, dry cough when you have a cold and an infection, to people with severe symptoms, where shortness of breath is daily, wakes up at night with shortness of breath, needs use different medications for control, dry cough and chest pain”, explains Diego Henrique Ramos, pulmonologist at Rede D’or and MIP Saúde.
With the covid-19 pandemic, this situation worsened. According to a study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, the coronavirus can worsen disease control in children.
Sars-Cov-2 is also pointed out as a factor that can trigger asthma in those who do not yet have it, in cases of long-term covid – as the “new, recurrent or persistent” clinical manifestations after infection with the virus are called.
Larissa Alves, 21, developed asthma after a succession of poorly cured bronchitis in childhood. Last year, she was diagnosed with Covid-19. During the period of isolation, the marketing assistant did not experience any complications – the reflexes, however, appeared days later.
“After I had covid-19, I started to feel more difficulties than usual. I felt much more shortness of breath. I work with my voice, and on a daily basis, this shortness of breath bothered me, it seemed to be worse than before. That’s when I started to have post-covid asthma attacks”, he reports.
“I looked for a pulmonologist and did a pulmonary function test. I explained that I had covid, that I felt the asthma stronger. And he identified that the asthma had worsened, and changed my medication”, he recalls. The specialist’s option was to prescribe a more potent drug for Larissa.
“Today I use a stronger inhaler than the previous one. My asthma is controlled, it appears when I do a lot of physical exertion, I am exposed to smoke, when I run, or I get very anxious and nervous. dry weather. The firecracker stays with me all the time, at work, at my friends’ house, when I go for walks, it’s always in my pocket, because at any moment I can have a crisis.”
Júlia Santana Toledo, 18, has been treating asthma since childhood, using a pump and other medications. It was also after the infection that she felt her symptoms worsen.
“I got better from the covid, but I started to feel more shortness of breath. I used the pump all the time, even at home, without doing anything. I went to the doctor for routine exams, at the end of 2020, months after I had covid, and during the At the appointment I started to feel very short of breath – and I was without the inhaler at that moment. I left the office, tried to breathe calmly, but I had to go to the pharmacy to look for another inhaler”, he recalls.
“It was the moment I used the inhaler the most. After a year, it passed, and I started to get back to normal. My asthma is now controlled, and I use a sublingual medication in addition to the inhaler”, she says. The focus now is on the next doses of the vaccine. “My doctor has already advised me to take the doses against covid-19, mainly because new cases are appearing. Whenever I have a new vaccine, I need to do that. It’s something that can harm me a lot.”
The treatment, according to Ramos alert, should always be prioritized and monitored by professionals with the use of inhaled medication, such as the firecracker, mentioned by the interviewees.
“Asthma is a disease that causes chronic inflammation, so we will use medication that has an anti-inflammatory effect. the intensity of the disease”, he explains.
“Some other comorbidities should also be treated to avoid crises, among them the main ones, rhinosinusitis, chronic rhinitis, and gastroesophageal reflux”, he adds.