Coronavirus and Steroid inhaler - Asthma UK communi...

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Coronavirus and Steroid inhaler

WheezyNanma profile image

Just read that anti-inflammatory drugs - such as steroids - are bad for Coronavirus as they suppress the immune system, leaving you less able to fight the virus.

I use Fostair - two puffs a day - which is a combination steroid inhaler. Do steroid inhalers give you enough steroid intake to compromise the immune system does anyone know? Or is it just the tablets like prednisone etc?

8 Replies

I was wondering the exact same thing. theguardian.com/world/2020/...

EmmaF91 profile image
EmmaF91Community Ambassador

The risk of not taking your meds to your overall ability to fight the virus is greater than the risk to your immune system. If your body is fighting to breathe because of asthma, then it’s not going to fight the virus properly. Current advice (AUK and NHS) is to take medication as prescribed. ICS in inhalers are not really strong enough to compromise the immune system (you are no more likely to catch/lengthen the corona virus than you are any other virus that’s going round in the community if you compare now to last year and the cold/flu season then... it’s just this virus is more contagious for everyone). Asthmatics are more likely to have a worse experience of corona virus because they are asthmatic, not because of the drugs they are on (our lungs unfortunately are already compromised). Plus you don’t want to end up in hosp with uncontrolled asthma because you haven’t been taking your inhalers, because that’s added strain to the system and you’re more likely to catch it in hosp than at home...

Js706 profile image
Js706 in reply to EmmaF91

I was just in the middle of typing pretty much exactly this! Even with steroid tablets its normally a long term side effect too (normally when you've been taking them longer than 3 weeks) so even a short course of steroid tablets to settle a flare shouldn't increase risks

My GP obviously doesn’t consider this an issue, I saw him on Friday with a chest infection and was recommended to increase the fostair, and gave me a week of pred with a week of antibiotics, so guess the gain outweighs the loss

poohbear59 profile image
poohbear59 in reply to Gareth57

This is exactly my position. I phoned back and spoke to my doctor yesterday after reading about dangers of anti inflammatory drugs and she said that it is most important to get my breathing right. Only then will I have strength to fight this new virus. Still wishing I want taking the extra steroids. I am on my last day of them tomorrow. She did suggest I reduce from 8 to 6 a day. Best of luck.

As you have asthma, you ALREADY have a compromised immune system.

The inhaled steroids are there to reduce/prevent inflammation which will close off your airways. It is there to help your body fight whatever infection comes your way.

All respiratory infections (eg colds or flu) will impact your already compromised immune system. Hopefully you have had a flu vaccine? (note: this will not protect you against this infection as it is not flu).

Keep taking the inhalers you have.

If you develop any respiratory infection (regardless of what it is) contact your GP in the normal way you should be doing, even if it was not this virus going around.

In the mean time, practice as far as possible social distancing: keep at least 1metre, 3 feet away from anyone who is coughing. Snap at them if they don't cover their mouth.

Wash down surfaces - have cleaning stuff with you all the time. You will be amazed at what you touch publically: ATM keypads, Point of Sale keypads; Handle when refuelling cars; Door handles whether they are turn handles or push doors; hand rails on buses/trains or escalators. Do not touch your face when outside (I know easier said than done), as it is still a bit cold, wrap your face up in a scarf to keep warm air being breathed in. This will stop your lungs complaining that its breathing in cold air.

Don't go out socialising: a lot of people in close proximity, plus all the surfaces (tables, bars, chairs, toilet/bathroom areas) could have the virus on them.

If you are able to work from home - do so. If you can't take a cleaning stuff with you, wipe down your desks, chair arms, keyboard, mouse, telephone, screen (esp power button), all door handles. Frequently wash hands and avoid touching face.

Bring packed lunch you have prepared. DO NOT share cups (bring your own and label it).

Don't panic - just plan and take as much control as you can. Modern society is in a much better place to fight this and reduce and flatten the infection rate curve to prevent the NHS/Medical staff from being overwhelmed. This will pass.

I have had a chest infection for 7 weeks now, after 2 lots of antibiotics and 3 lots of steroids tablets and put on fostair 200/6, the flem as at last changed colour to a white from brown/green

I have to go for a chest X-ray tomorrow.

I'm still coughing quite badly and wheezing.

It's so scary, I'm 55 yrs old.

My partner as just started with a really bad cold, he is 65 and as COPD and asthma, I'm really worried for him.

One more thing we can all do to help our immune systems as well as making sure we keep our asthma’s well under control, is to relax and find ways to reduce stress as this can have a knock on effect on our immune systems. Also a balanced diet with plenty of vitamin c and zinc, and I’m not talking supplements as some of these can interact with medication so it’s best to talk to your doctor or pharmacist first before taking them. I’m talking food, a balanced diet with plenty of vitamin c and zinc will help your immune system. And a strong immune system beforehand will make it harder for the virus to start with, and a strong immune system throughout will hopefully help make short work of it.

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