LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - As the numbers of coronavirus rise in the U.S., doctors are warning those with asthma and other respiratory issues should be vigilant to keep themselves and those they love safe.
As with any respiratory illness that’s spreading in the community, whether it’s the flu or eventually coronavirus, people with asthma have to be cautious.
12-year-old Miles Hunter has a medication list and a structured routine to deal with his asthma and respiratory issues. He says he’s been hearing about coronavirus.
“I was on the phone with my cousin,” Miles remembered, "and she was like, ‘Have you heard about the coronavirus?’ and I was like, ‘No,’ and she’s like, ‘Really?’”
Since then Miles and his mom Kendra Hunter have seen news clips about coronavirus and the scary images of people wearing masks from China to Italy and now the U.S.
Kendra says all viruses are concerning to her when it comes to her son’s health.
“Miles has always struggled with different respiratory things you know when he was an infant he had pneumonia,” Kendra said.
Both Miles and Kendra are hopeful both education and prevention continue to keep asthma patients like Miles and others in high-risk categories safe.
“The more we can learn about something the better," Kendra said.
A Louisville doctor wants to make sure his patients understand the risks and take prevention seriously. Calls and questions about coronavirus led Family Allergy and Asthma Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Sublett to put out an informational letter to help those with asthma and their caregivers know more about COVID-19.
“We started getting a lot of questions, actually, last week,” Sublett told WAVE 3 News.
Asthma and chronic immune deficiency patients have a higher risk of exposure to the respiratory virus. Allergies and even a common cold can cause asthma to flare up.
“So a virus like this that does hit the respiratory tract and particularly the lungs makes it more likely that you may have an asthmatic that has a problem,” Sublett said.
He said the key to avoiding the increased dangers is keeping asthma under control. He suggests having regular checkups and following basic hygiene recommendations like good handwashing will help greatly.
Sublett says patients with asthma should get the flu vaccine because the flu continues to cause problems for asthmatics.