British Lung Foundation. What should people with a lung condition do now?. 2020. (accessed 1 May 2020)

Asthma may not be a major risk factor for COVID-19. 2020. (accessed 1 May 2020)

National Institute for Health and Care excellence. COVID-19 rapid guideline: severe asthma. 2020. (accessed 1 May 2020)

Asthma: New COVID-19 rapid guideline

02 April 2020
Volume 1 · Issue 2


The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recently released a COVID-19 rapid guideline for health professionals working with people with severe asthma.

Asthma is one of the most common conditions affecting children and young people. It is estimated that one in 11 children in the UK have asthma, raising concerns about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on young people.

While both conditions affect the lungs and may display similar symptoms—most notably a cough—reports from the United States suggest that people with asthma do not necessarily have a raised risk of getting the coronavirus (Ellis, 2020). However, many people with asthma in the UK will have received notification from the government urging caution and, depending on their age and the severity of their condition, that they shield for the duration of the current outbreak and possibly for a period beyond.

The British Lung Foundation (2020) offers the same precautionary advice that applies equally to everyone in the UK, in terms of hand-washing and social distancing, though it advises of this distinction: ‘it may be tricky to work out whether new symptoms are due to COVID-19 or due to an exacerbation or flare-up of your condition. Typically, exacerbations of COPD, bronchiectasis and asthma are not associated with a high fever’.

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