Patients on inhalers, nasal sprays need to continue them: Expert

Dr G Aruna
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Dr G Aruna

Highlights

  • During the pandemic, it is better to avoid nebulisation outside and personal nebuliser should be used
  • In ‘long Covid’ cases, cough and breathlessness may last for about 2-3 months Since masks and vaccines are only interventions, everyone should go for vaccination, says Dr G Aruna

Tirupati: Though people with asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) are not at an increased risk of acquiring Covid infection, the problem is that diagnosing the disease in them becomes difficult as they frequently have cough and breathlessness and are not easily motivated to go for a Covid test.

The Professor and Head of the Department of TB and Chest Diseases at Ruia Hospital Dr G Aruna told The Hans India that in case of any doubt such patients should consult a doctor.

Clearing various apprehensions which many people encounter, she said that the asthmatic, COPD and allergic rhinitis patients who are on inhalers and nasal sprays should continue to use them even if they test Covid positive. A recent study done abroad showed that the inhaled steroid Budesonide which is routinely used for asthma and COPD patients improves oxygen saturation levels in Covid patients drastically and leads to quicker recovery.

To a question, she said that the cough and cold of asthmatics and sinusitis patients can be differentiated from Covid cough and cold only by one of the Covid tests. Referring to anaemic patients, the doctor made it clear that there is no risk for them becoming more hypoxemic due to Covid. However, they may be more breathless than a non-anaemic Covid patient.

Dr Aruna advised that it is best to avoid nebulisation outside during these pandemic times and better to have one's own nebuliser. About the long term damage to the lungs in some Covid patients, she said that in such 'long Covid' cases, cough and breathlessness may last for about 2-3 months or longer.

Those patients who develop chronic respiratory failure with Covid are sent home with 'Domiciliary oxygen therapy'. Most patients' lungs improve in a month or two while doctors also prescribe drugs to decrease the ongoing fibrosing process in the lungs.

She made it clear that the mask is the best intervention to protect from Covid and those who feel discomfort and breathless with masks have no option. Even a face shield without a mask cannot prevent the entry of virus through the nose or mouth. Such individuals should stay at home as much as possible.

Though for all types of patients, a saturation of 94 per cent rings an alarm bell but for Covid patients it indicates that either there is Covid pneumonia in the lungs or the dreaded acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

That is the reason for taking 94 per cent as the cut-off. Since mask and vaccination are the only interventions in the kitty now that can prevent any further 'waves', every person has to come forward to get vaccinated, she underlined.

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