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 08, 2021
Technology
Digital "Pass" for Confirming COVID-19 Infection Status Goes Open Source
JUL 08, 2021
Digital "Pass" for Confirming COVID-19 Infection Status Goes Open Source
As the world starts to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic and seek some sense of normalcy again, people still have a l ...
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 08, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
Is It Possible to Prevent Leukemia in Down Syndrome Patients?
JUL 08, 2021
Is It Possible to Prevent Leukemia in Down Syndrome Patients?
Children with Down syndrome have a significantly higher likelihood myeloid leukemia occurring in the first five years of ...
JUL 27, 2021
Immunology
Rethinking Immune Responses Involved in Skin Hypersensitivity
JUL 27, 2021
Rethinking Immune Responses Involved in Skin Hypersensitivity
A study by immunologists at the University of Copenhagen has revealed a never-before-seen immune pathway invol ...
JUL 25, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
Understanding How Mitochondrial Dysfunction May Cause Parkinson's
JUL 25, 2021
Understanding How Mitochondrial Dysfunction May Cause Parkinson's
Parkinson's disease is a complex neurodegenerative disorder. While age is a major risk factor, genetics and environmenta ...
AUG 03, 2021
Plants & Animals
Teeth Record Life's Stressful Events in Primates
AUG 03, 2021
Teeth Record Life's Stressful Events in Primates
New research suggests stressful physical and social events leave permenant lines on your teeth.
Loading Comments...