COVID-19 symptoms and how they differ from Asthma symptoms

Posted by designerjulie @designerjulie, Mar 19 11:16pm

I have a cold and exercise induced asthma and have noticed lately that I have had a cough and chest heaviness. How do I tell if it’s something I should be tested for vs something I can use an inhaler and asthma medication for?

@designerjulie – if you have a cold and no fever but cough and chest congestion please use your asthma inhalers and call your doctor to discuss your symptoms And whether you need testing. No matter what the cause of asthma you will probably feel better after inhaler use.

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@designerjulie Welcome to Mayo Connect. I hope you will find us a helpful group in your search for answers at this trying time.
As for whether you need a doctor's care, absent fever or other symptoms, you should not go to the doctor. If you get worse and develop a fever, you should call your doctor – current recommendation is to stay home, call and get advice.
If you use your regular asthma meds and any others you are prescribed, and they do not help, you should call for advice. Be sure to take your temperature before you call, because the triage nurse will ask you for an exact current reading.
Do not be surprised if you call and are told to stay home, that you will not be tested for Covid-19 right now. In many places, test components are in short supply, and only certain people are being tested. This does not mean you are being denied care – simply knowing whether or not you are positive doesn't change the treatment. Treatment is rest, fluids and isolation. In general only those with pneumonia symptoms are being seen and possibly hospitalized.
I have asthma and bronchiectasis, a chronic lung disease. My pulmonologist and primary care provider both told me to maintain my treatment regimen faithfully, on the theory that keeping my lungs as healthy as possible will help me fight any virus or infection I may encounter. And to stay away from people to avoid catching the virus.
If you live where Spring is beginning, you may be feeling the effects of increasing pollen in the air, is that possible? Also, it is possible for increased feelings of anxiety to make asthma symptoms feel worse, and these are certainly anxious times, so it is important not to panic.
Stay positive, stay safe, and come back to us if you have more questions.
Sue

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@designerjulie, Hi, and Welcome to Connect. I also have exercise induced asthma. I really notice it during the spring allergy season and during periods of high humidity. I have an emergency inhaler that I use as needed year round. I also have a daily steroidal inhaler that I use from March until late October which coincides with the weather conditions where I live.
I have been aware of sinus drainage and some developing upper chest congestion which is normal for me this time of year, but a bit more concerncing roght now. Yesterday I became very aware of my breathing while walking up an uphill stretch of walking. (my indication to get back on the daily RX) This morning I began to use my daily RX Breo and already I can feel my faint chest congestion loosening.

My pulminologist and I have decided together that this ia a plan that works for me. And he sees me annually, and is always open to me contacting his office if I have any concerns. I think that it would be worthwhile for you to make a phone call to his office, and to mention this to him, possibly thru his nurse. Will you consider doing this? I would be interested to hear what he suggests for you.

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@designerjulie, It's been a while since you posted and I am wondering how you are getting along. Did you decide to contact your doctor? What did you learn? Has your cough/cold eased any?

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@rosemarya

@designerjulie, It's been a while since you posted and I am wondering how you are getting along. Did you decide to contact your doctor? What did you learn? Has your cough/cold eased any?

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I have decided to take the advice of his nurse and others here, and began using my inhaler regularily, and also have medication for the cough, when it get's bad. It's been helping.

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@sueinmn

@designerjulie Welcome to Mayo Connect. I hope you will find us a helpful group in your search for answers at this trying time.
As for whether you need a doctor's care, absent fever or other symptoms, you should not go to the doctor. If you get worse and develop a fever, you should call your doctor – current recommendation is to stay home, call and get advice.
If you use your regular asthma meds and any others you are prescribed, and they do not help, you should call for advice. Be sure to take your temperature before you call, because the triage nurse will ask you for an exact current reading.
Do not be surprised if you call and are told to stay home, that you will not be tested for Covid-19 right now. In many places, test components are in short supply, and only certain people are being tested. This does not mean you are being denied care – simply knowing whether or not you are positive doesn't change the treatment. Treatment is rest, fluids and isolation. In general only those with pneumonia symptoms are being seen and possibly hospitalized.
I have asthma and bronchiectasis, a chronic lung disease. My pulmonologist and primary care provider both told me to maintain my treatment regimen faithfully, on the theory that keeping my lungs as healthy as possible will help me fight any virus or infection I may encounter. And to stay away from people to avoid catching the virus.
If you live where Spring is beginning, you may be feeling the effects of increasing pollen in the air, is that possible? Also, it is possible for increased feelings of anxiety to make asthma symptoms feel worse, and these are certainly anxious times, so it is important not to panic.
Stay positive, stay safe, and come back to us if you have more questions.
Sue

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Thank you for the response. Feeling much better now.

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@astaingegerdm

@designerjulie – if you have a cold and no fever but cough and chest congestion please use your asthma inhalers and call your doctor to discuss your symptoms And whether you need testing. No matter what the cause of asthma you will probably feel better after inhaler use.

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Thank you for your response.

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@designerjulie

I have decided to take the advice of his nurse and others here, and began using my inhaler regularily, and also have medication for the cough, when it get's bad. It's been helping.

Jump to this post

@designerjulie, The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) has a fabulous page dedicated to Coronavirus (COVID-19): What People With Asthma Need to Know. They update it regularly.

– Coronavirus (COVID-19): What People With Asthma Need to Know https://community.aafa.org/blog/coronavirus-2019-ncov-flu-what-people-with-asthma-need-to-know

I thought the information was very thorough and easy to understand. You may also be interested in this discussion about allergies and antihistamines that @cavstat started.
– Allergies, Antihistamines and COVID-19 https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/antihistamines-and-covid-19/

What physical activity are you able to do that doesn't trigger your asthma?

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