Medical Expert Advice for Lung Patients

“Regardless of your underlying chronic lung condition, the guidelines for protection from COVID-19 are the same.  Continue to take your medications as prescribed, follow hygiene guidelines, do your best to keep active, and stay at home as much as possible to avoid possible exposure and infection.” 

Dr. Christopher Carlsten, Division Head, Respiratory Medicine, UBC

 

WHAT EXPERTS SAY

Continue to take medications as prescribed. If you do get the virus, and you’ve carried on with your health regimes, your lungs are most likely functioning as well as they can be. If you’re having an acute crisis of your lung disease and your action plan includes Prednisone, take it. 

Remember, clinics offer check-ups by phone. If you have a regular appointment that you cannot miss, go but be careful to maintain physical distance from other people. Bring your hand sanitizer with you and sanitize your hands frequently. 

Make every effort to stay active at home. Exercise will make you more effective at using oxygen and give you extra physical and emotional capacity to do your daily activities - and it’s good for your mood and it passes the time. 

Do not stock up on emergency equipment. If you have not been prescribed oxygen, do not buy oxygen concentrators. If you contract COVID-19 and oxygen or ventilators are needed, you need to be in a hospital. Do not hesitate. 

Minimize pollution exposure. Avoid burning candles or incense, and smoking and second-hand smoke. Decrease or eliminate your use of scented personal or cleaning products.  If you’re looking at an air purifier, avoid ones that produce ozone. If you are using a HEPA-filter for room air purifying, keep it well maintained. Keep the humidity in your home under control. Dust and clean often.

Be cautious about alternative remedies. We caution against the use of steam as it may cause burns. Warm liquids like chicken soup may make you feel better, but are not a cure. The use of high dose supplements is not recommended; as they may negatively interact with medications you’re taking. For most people, there’s no need for additional supplements if you are maintaining a healthy diet.

If you’re experiencing worsening symptoms, contact your healthcare provider. It can be difficult to tell the difference between a worsening lung condition, for example, and a COVID-19 infection as symptoms can overlap.  We tell people that you know yourself the best. If you typically feel a certain way when you have flare-ups that is probably what you have. If you have unusual symptoms, contact your health care provider or call 8-1-1. 

If you suspect you have COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider.

Generally, COVID-19 has a very particular clinical profile. Symptoms include: 

  • A new cough 

  • A chronic cough that gets worse, or a fever – greater or equal to 38°C or signs of a fever like shivering

  • Flushed skin, excessive sweating), or difficulty breathing 

  • A loss of taste or smell  

Always call your health care provider – ahead of time to explain your symptoms and receive advice – before going to visiting a health care facility so they can keep others from being exposed.

Page Last Updated: 21/05/2020