Asthma Australia has been monitoring the COVID-19 situation since it began in 2020.

 

If you have asthma and get COVID-19: 

If you have uncontrolled asthma:

Research has found that people with uncontrolled asthma may be more likely to develop severe symptoms and be hospitalised. This includes people with asthma who: 

  • Have been hospitalised in the past 12 months 
  • Have needed a course of oral corticosteroids for their asthma in the past 12 months (e.g. prednisone or prednisolone tablets) 

If either of these apply to you, talk to your doctor about how you can get your asthma under control to reduce your COVID-19 risk. For more information about asthma you can also call us on 1800 ASTHMA (1800 278 462) or email asthmasupport@asthma.org.au. 

What is good asthma control? 

Good asthma control means you: 

  • Have symptoms no more than 2 days a week 
  • Use your reliever no more than 2 days a week 
  • Aren’t limited by your asthma 
  • Don’t get symptoms at night or when you first wake up 

To learn more about good asthma control see: http://asthma.org.au/treatment-diagnosis/live-with-asthma/talk-asthma/  

Asthma and COVID-19 Risk

A lot of research has emerged since the start of the pandemic, showing that people with asthma are not at a higher risk of getting COVID-19. In fact, some reports even suggest that people with asthma may generally be less likely to get COVID-19! 

We now understand that having severe or uncontrolled asthma may be a factor that worsens COVID-19 outcomes. If you have recently been hospitalised because of your asthma or needed a course of oral steroids, you may have severe or uncontrolled asthma. 

COVID-19 Symptoms 

Most people with COVID-19 will only have mild symptoms. It may be hard to tell the difference between COVID-19 symptoms and your normal asthma symptoms. If you’re unsure and your asthma medicines don’t seem to be working as well as they should, talk to your doctor and get tested for COVID-19. 

During the first week of having COVID-19, symptoms are often quite mild, such as sore throat, cough and fever. 

Some people may have the virus and never show symptoms at all. The virus is most easily passed on to others during the first week of being sick.  

During days 4–9 of feeling sick, symptoms can worsen, with more breathlessness and cough. Stomach symptoms (e.g. pain, diarrhoea) occur in around 10% of patients.

If you have COVID-19 and/or asthma symptoms, you can also see a respiratory doctor in person at a GP respiratory clinic, free of charge. To find a list of clinics in your state see:  https://www.health.gov.au/initiatives-and-programs/coronavirus-covid-19-gp-respiratory-clinics  

COVID-19 VACCINES AND ASTHMA 

Being vaccinated against COVID-19 is the best way to reduce your risk of severe disease 

All Australians over the age of 5 years old are eligible to have a COVID-19 vaccine. If you or your child have asthma, you should feel confident to get a COVID-19 vaccine.   

There are four vaccines approved for use in Australia:  

AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria)   

Moderna (Spikevax)   

Novavax (Nuvaxovid) 

Pfizer (Cominarty)   

Asthma Australia strongly supports the COVID-19 vaccination program.  

If you have any questions, speak to your doctor or call us on 1800 ASTHMA (1800 278 462).   

Easy Vaccine Access (EVA):

Have your COVID-19 vaccine and booster as soon as you can. Especially if you have severe asthma.  

If you need help making a COVID-19 vaccine booking, SMS ‘Hey EVA’ to 0481 611 382.  A trained call agent from the National Coronavirus Helpline will call you to help book your COVID-19 vaccination. Learn more about EVA here. 

COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters:

Boosters help to maintain your protection against COVID-19. 

You are eligible for a COVID-19 booster dose if you: 

  • Are aged 12 to 15, and: 
    • Have a weak immune system, or 
    • Have a disability with complex health needs, or 
    • Have severe, complex, or multiple health problems that increase the risk of severe COVID-19
  • Are 16 years and older, and 
  • Had your initial COVID-19 vaccine doses (known as ‘primary dose course’) at least 3 months ago

An extra winter boosteris now also recommended for people aged 16 and over that are at increased risk of severe illness. This includes people with severe asthma. People at higher risk of severe illness should have their winter booster as soon as possible. You can also choose to have a winter booster if you are aged 30-49 years without risk factors. The extra winter booster should be given 3 months after their first booster dose. 

Booster doses increase your protection against: 

  • Getting sick with the virus that causes COVID-19 
  • Severe disease 
  • Dying from COVID-19

All booster doses are free. 

Last reviewed July 2022

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Still have more questions about asthma and COVID-19?

Speak to an Asthma Educator today by calling 1800 ASTHMA |1800 278 462 

They operate 9:00 am – 5:00 pm Monday to Friday, alternatively, you can book a call here and we’ll have someone call you back as soon as possible during business hours. 

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