What people with asthma and COPD should know about COVID-19

Health | 30/09/2020
What people with asthma and COPD should know about COVID-19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by novel type coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). In most cases the disease will cause mild or moderate respiratory symptoms and those infected will recover without any special treatment. However, elderly people and people with underlying health conditions, such as asthma and COPD, are considered to be at greater risk of developing severe complications.


If you are suffering from asthma or COPD, you should consider the following:


1. Take care of your disease

It is important to ensure your asthma or COPD is as well managed as possible. Follow your treatment plan and keep taking your usual medications as prescribed. The use of corticosteroids has not been shown to worsen the infection or its symptoms. In case of uncertainty, consult your doctor, nurse, pharmacist or your local health authority for more advice.


2. Protect yourself by avoiding infection

Coronavirus is spread from person to person via respiratory droplets which are released when someone with the disease coughs, sneezes or exhales. Hard and soft surfaces can also harbor these droplets which can be a source of infection. The best way to avoid infection is through social distancing, especially crowds, and staying away from crowded areas. Protect yourself by washing your hands frequently with soap for 20 seconds at a time or use alcohol-based rubs and avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.


3. Stay up-to-date

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), being well informed about COVID-19 is the best way to prevent and slow the transmission of the disease. Local and global guidelines can change rapidly when new information about coronavirus and its transmission becomes available. Seek more information regularly by following the news and websites of international health agencies (e.g., WHO or ECDC) and your local health authorities such as HSE and the Department of Health.


4. If you have symptoms of COVID-19

If you have asthma or COPD and experience symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, muscle pain and tiredness, follow guidance issued by the Department of Health.


Photo by iStock


Date of preparation: August 2020 / EASYH-950


If you get any side effects, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse. This includes any possible side effects not listed in the package leaflet. You can also report side effects directly via the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) website: www.hpra.ie or email medsafety@hpra.ie



World Health Organization (WHO). https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus, accessed March 24, 2020.

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/novel-coronavirus-china, accessed March 24, 2020.

Global Initiative for Asthma. https://ginasthma.org/recommendations-for-inhaled-asthma-controller-medications/, accessed March 24, 2020.

Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease. https://goldcopd.org/gold-covid-19-guidance/, accessed March 24, 2020.

Orion is a globally operating Finnish pharmaceutical company - a builder of well-being for more than 100 years. Orion develops, manufactures and markets human and veterinary pharmaceuticals and active pharmaceutical ingredients. Respiratory diseases are one of Orion’s core therapy areas. Orion's net sales in 2018 amounted to EUR 977 million and the company had about 3,200 employees. Orion's A and B shares are listed on Nasdaq Helsinki.®

As a forward-looking pharmaceutical company, Orion continues to invest in research and development of treatment options for people with asthma and COPD. The focus is on safety and quality in each step of the product life cycle while taking care of the environment. Sustainability is entwined in the whole process from R&D through manufacturing. It is also required of Orion’s providers. Orion is committed to keeping the best possible control of the environmental impacts of their own factories by reducing energy consumption and the impact of their waste waters, among others, and is making good progress in that regard. Orion works to ensure that suppliers have procedures in place to control and reduce their own environmental impacts as well. All aspects of sustainability - social, economic and environmental - are carefully considered in the whole product life cycle, including patient use and the disposal of old inhalers.