Home / News / India /  Risk of Asthma attack doubles with lifting of Covid curbs, finds study

Risk of Asthma attack doubles with lifting of Covid curbs, finds study

The study saw that when restrictions were lifted, fewer people wore face coverings and there was more social mixing, and subsequently a higher risk of Covid-19 and other acute respiratory infectionsPremium
The study saw that when restrictions were lifted, fewer people wore face coverings and there was more social mixing, and subsequently a higher risk of Covid-19 and other acute respiratory infections

  • Exacerbations or asthma attacks, are the major cause of illness and death in this condition. Asthma affects more than 5 million people in the UK and more than 300 million globally

A research that was published in Thorax and presented at British Thoracic Society meeting has revealed that patients who suffered from Asthma now ran double risk of a severe attack after Covid-19 restrictions were removed. 

The study saw that when Covid-19 restrictions were lifted, fewer people wore face coverings and there was more social mixing, and subsequently a higher risk of Covid-19 and other acute respiratory infections. The research also found that Covid-19 was not significantly more likely to trigger asthma attacks than other respiratory infections.

Exacerbations or asthma attacks, are the major cause of illness and death in this condition. Asthma affects more than 5 million people in the UK and more than 300 million globally. Symptoms include breathlessness and chest tightness as well as wheezing and coughing.

In April 2021, when social mixing restrictions and the need for face coverings started to be relaxed, 1.7 per cent of participants reported having a severe asthma attack in the previous month. In January 2022, this proportion more than doubled, going up to 3.7 per cent.

The study analysed data from 2,312 UK adults with asthma, participating in Queen Mary's COVIDENCE UK study between November 2020 and April 2022. Details on face covering use, social mixing, and asthma symptoms were collected via monthly online questionnaires.

Professor Adrian Martineau, lead author of the research and Clinical Professor of Respiratory Infection and Immunity at Queen Mary University of London, said: "This research shows that relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions coincided with an increased risk of severe asthma attacks. Our study was observational, so it can't prove cause-and-effect. But our findings do raise the possibility that certain elements of the public health measures introduced during the pandemic - such as wearing facemasks - could help in reducing respiratory illnesses moving forward".

Dr Florence Tydeman, first author on the paper, added: "It is also reassuring to see that Covid-19 was not significantly more likely to trigger asthma attacks than other respiratory infections in our study participants."

The study is the first to compare the influence of COVID-19 versus other respiratory infections on risk of asthma exacerbations. And it is one of few studies that looks at the impact of lifting national restrictions on people with asthma. 

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