Information comes from ACAAI. The original article can be found here.
As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the United States and the world, allergists are hearing from their patients – those with allergies and especially those suffering from asthma. They are worried that having asthma means they’re at increased risk for developing symptoms from COVID-19 if they are exposed. They also wonder if their symptoms will be more dangerous if they have the virus. In addition, a recent announcement regarding a shortage of albuterol has increased anxiety throughout the country.
It is important if you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or suspect you may have COVID-19 and are using a nebulizer at home, that you know the virus may persist in droplets in the air for 1-2 hours. Therefore, you should administer nebulized albuterol in a location that minimizes exposure to members of your household who aren’t infected. Choose a location for your treatment where air is not recirculated into the home – places like a porch or patio, or in a garage – areas where surfaces can be cleaned more easily or may not need cleaning.
The allergists of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology have information and tips to share. We are making every effort to keep our information updated and will be linking to the most current news on the virus to keep you in the loop.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has listed asthma as one of the chronic illnesses that may increase the chance of a severe case of COVID-19. So, what do you need to know if you or a family member suffers from asthma? Read the points below for more information.
- Respiratory viruses are the most common trigger for asthma exacerbations (severe worsening typically requiring oral steroids to relieve symptoms).
- Not all viruses affect asthma patients equally. Some viruses such as influenza and rhinovirus are more likely to trigger asthma flares than others.
- Right now, we don’t know if COVID-19 is one of those viruses that tends to trigger asthma exacerbation.
- There is no clear evidence that patients with asthma are at any higher risk of contracting COVID-19.
- Asthma is an “underlying medical condition” that may be associated with more severe disease if you are infected with COVID-19.
- There is no evidence that asthma medications used to prevent symptoms (inhaled steroids, oral steroids, montelukast, biologics), etc. increase your risk of contracting COVID-19.
The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology recommends:
- Continuing or resuming your asthma routine that helps you control your symptoms.
- Using short acting rescue medications as needed for symptoms.
- Following your asthma action plan if you have one.
- Following CDC guidelines regarding infection control, hygiene, social distancing, etc.
- If you have an upcoming appointment with your allergist, please call to confirm. Many allergists are using telemedicine for return appointments.
- Contacting your allergist if you have questions about your medications or if your symptoms seem to be worsening or not under control.
The American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI)’s Guidance on Risk of Allergic Reactions to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine:
December 14, 2020
Allergic reactions to vaccines, in general, are rare with the incidence of anaphylaxis estimated at 1.31 in 1 million doses given. With the emergency use authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine by the FDA on December 11, 2020, the ACAAI COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force recommends the following guidance for physicians and other providers related to risk of an allergic reaction on vaccination. These recommendations are based on best knowledge to date but could change at any time, pending new information and further guidance from the FDA or CDC.
1. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine should be administered in a health care setting where anaphylaxis can be treated. All individuals must be observed for at least 20-30 minutes after injection to monitor for any adverse reaction. All anaphylactic reactions should be managed immediately with IM epinephrine as the first line treatment.
2. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine should not be administered to individuals with a known history of a severe allergic reaction to polyethylene glycol as it is a component of this vaccine known to cause anaphylaxis.
3. Data related to risk in individuals with a history of allergic reactions to previous vaccinations and/or mast cell activation syndrome/idiopathic anaphylaxis is very limited and evolving. A clinical decision to administer the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine should be undertaken by the physician or other provider administering the vaccine using their professional judgment and in consultation with the patient, balancing the benefits and risks associated with taking the vaccine.
4. Individuals with common allergies to medications, foods, inhalants, insects and latex are no more likely than the general public to have an allergic reaction to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Those patients should be informed of the benefits of the vaccine versus its risks.
5. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is not a live vaccine and can be administered to immunocompromised patients. Physicians and other providers should inform such immunocompromised patients of the possibility of a diminished immune response to the vaccine.
6. Anyone with questions related to the risk of an allergic reaction to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine should contact their local board-certified allergist/immunologist.
Frequently Asked Patient Questions About the COVID-19 Vaccine (Posted 03/24/2021)
Important information about COVID-19 for those with asthma (Posted 3/12/2020)
Asthma-specific information and recommendations from the CDC (Updated 3/17/2020)