JUL 19, 2021 8:23 PM PDT

The Pandemic and Fewer Asthma Attacks?

WRITTEN BY: Alexandria Bass

Asthma sufferers: Quarantine during the pandemic may have not only helped you avoid COVID but more asthma attacks as well. A new article in The Atlantic revealed that asthma attacks plummeted during the pandemic.

While doctors across the US expected the worst from their asthma patients during COVID-19 outbreaks, they were pleasantly surprised. Drops in hospitalizations and doctor's visits for asthma from their usual numbers were reported across multiple countries in Europe and Asia as well. 

So what's to blame for this noted decrease? Scientists suspect asthma sufferers fared better than usual because of quarantine and less exposure to the more common cold and flu viruses that trigger asthma attacks. This is pivotal because it shifts importance from the more controllable common household allergens as likely culprits of asthma attacks to respiratory viruses.

Investigators had to check that reported drops in asthma attacks and hospitalizations weren't from people just avoiding medical treatment during the pandemic to avoid potential exposure to COVID. Elliot Israel, a pulmonologist in Boston, had already started studying minority patients' asthma attacks through at-home questionnaires well-before and throughout the pandemic. Data confirmed that asthma attacks had decreased during the pandemic –as drastically as by 40%. Interestingly, Israel's study found no clear correlation between this drop in attacks and changes in air pollution exposure.

Besides less exposure to respiratory viruses, other potential factors that could have contributed to fewer asthma attacks during the pandemic not ruled out by the study were better patient adherence to long-term asthma medication while staying at home for longer bouts and less exposure to chemicals outside of the home.

As masks become less common and COVID less rampant, cold viruses are starting to resurge. Only time will tell how asthma sufferers will now be affected.

About the Author
  • Alexandria (Alex) is a freelance science writer with a passion for educating the public on health issues. Her other professional experience includes working as a speech-language pathologist in health care, a research assistant in a food science laboratory, and an English teaching assistant in Spain. In her spare time, Alex enjoys cycling, lap swimming, jogging, and reading.
You May Also Like
JUL 05, 2021
Microbiology
Natural Antibiotic in Chestnut Leaves Can Eliminate MRSA
JUL 05, 2021
Natural Antibiotic in Chestnut Leaves Can Eliminate MRSA
The natural world is full of microbes, fungi, and plants that have given us valuable medicines, like tetracyclines, peni ...
JUL 05, 2021
Neuroscience
People with Autism More Likely to Self-Medicate with Recreational Drugs
JUL 05, 2021
People with Autism More Likely to Self-Medicate with Recreational Drugs
Researchers from the University of Cambridge have found that people with autism are more likely than people without the ...
JUL 08, 2021
Neuroscience
Tooth Loss Linked to Cognitive Decline and Dementia
JUL 08, 2021
Tooth Loss Linked to Cognitive Decline and Dementia
A person’s risk of cognitive decline grows with each tooth lost, says a new study published in JAMDA: The Jou ...
JUL 22, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Enhancing Myelin to Treat Alzheimer's Disease
JUL 22, 2021
Enhancing Myelin to Treat Alzheimer's Disease
Brain cells, or neurons, communicate through electrochemical signals. The electrical signals travel down a neuron’ ...
JUL 23, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
DNA Structure Affects Transcription & the Reverse May Also be True
JUL 23, 2021
DNA Structure Affects Transcription & the Reverse May Also be True
As imaging tools continue to get more sophisticated, researchers have been able to get a look at more biological process ...
JUL 26, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
A Region of Non-Coding DNA That May Help Regulate Telomere Length is ID'ed
JUL 26, 2021
A Region of Non-Coding DNA That May Help Regulate Telomere Length is ID'ed
Many types of cells have to be replenished continuously throughout our lives, and the genome in the nucleus of those cel ...
Loading Comments...