The coronavirus has left lasting damage on the lungs of people who recovered from the infection.

Three years since the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus and numerous studies later, there is still not much clarity on the reason leading to complications from the virus. The infection continues to deteriorate various organs in the body, including the lungs, brain and heart.

For those suffering from chronic respiratory diseases like asthma, pneumonia, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) it can become dire. Dr Vaishali Lokhande, Consultant, Internal Medicine, Apollo Hospitals, Navi Mumbai, lists a few damages that Covid can cause in the lungs.

"Covid can cause permanent changes in the lungs in the form of fibrosis or scar formation that can hamper the oxygenation capacity, increase risk of tuberculosis and fungal infections in especially those needing steroids," Dr Lokhande said.


Ask your doctor to help you cope with the asthma triggers.

Asthma, a long-term condition that can affect children and adults, causes breathlessness due to the narrowed air passages in the lungs when inflammation or tightening of muscles occurs around the small airways.

As people with asthma are at the highest risk of Covid, experts said that patients must have the necessary things at home to treat asthma symptoms like cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, and tightness in the chest.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said that asthma claimed 455,000 deaths in 2019, and affected around 262 million people around the world. India accounts for more than 13 per cent of the global burden of asthma, with over 34.3 million people suffering from respiratory illness, according to the Global Burden of Disease report recorded between 1990 and 2019. It was also reported that India witnessed 13.2 per thousand deaths due to asthma.


Dr Harish Chafle, Consultant, Pulmonology and Critical Care of Global Hospitals, Mumbai, said that respiratory viral infections are the primary cause of asthma exacerbations. "For patients at risk of asthma, or with existing asthma, viral respiratory tract infections can have a profound effect on the expression of disease or loss of control," he added.

While Covid can be alarming for asthma patients, some tips can come in handy during this crucial time.

Keep inhalers handy: Patients should continue to use inhalers regularly to control the condition and avoid the risk of an attack. Invest in a nebuliser at home and make sure it is used by only a limited number of people.

Keep your doctor in the loop: Speak to your health expert about the most effective inhaler for you. Some experts may recommend inhalers that come with steroids (corticosteroids), so don't hesitate to follow the prescribed medications. Always consult your doctor before stopping or changing your medications.

Know the triggers: The triggers can differ from one person to another. While some are affected by pollutants, dust and pollen in the air, others start showing symptoms when the weather is chilly or the air is cold or even due to smells. It's important to know what triggers your condition.

Be attentive: Record your asthma symptoms since they can coincide with influenza, flu and Covid.

Other tips to follow.Agencies

These are some basic tips, but anxiety and the stress of the immediate environment can also trigger an asthma attack. Be mindful and ask your doctor for tips to be able to cope better.

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