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The Official National Department of Health COVID-19 Support Service: 060 012 3456 (WhatsApp)

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What You Should Know About COVID-19 & Asthma

Leading medical insurance providers in SA, Affinity Health, looks at the connection between COVID-19 and asthma and how you can protect your family.


What is the Link between COVID-19 and Asthma?

While we are all at risk of contracting COVID-19, some groups are more likely to develop severe illness due to the Coronavirus. Included in this group are those with asthma.


Research suggests that while having asthma does not increase your chances of contracting COVID-19, it can exasperate your symptoms because you already have underlying respiratory problems.


Those with moderate-to-severe or uncontrolled asthma, and those in the older age bracket, are more likely to be hospitalised with complications from COVID-19, according to CDC.


This risk increases even further when combined with other comorbidities, such as hypertension, dyslipidemias, diabetes, and obesity.


Asthma remains a major global challenge for public health. The condition affects about 272 million people of all ages; it is one of the most common chronic disorders worldwide.


The Global Asthma Report shows an estimate of 18.5 deaths per 100,000 asthma cases, South Africa is ranked 25th in the world for asthma prevalence and fifth for asthma mortality.


How does the new Coronavirus spread?

The Delta variant is a strain of the Coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Currently, the delta form is responsible for the majority of COVID-19 infections worldwide. It’s two times more contagious than previous SARS-CoV-2 strains, which means it’s spreading swiftly.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), symptoms of the Delta variant may appear two to 14 days after coming in contact with the virus. Many people may not have any symptoms at all but can still spread the virus.

Symptoms may include:
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Tiredness and weakness
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting

Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health, recommends asthmatics take extra precautions to avoid contracting the virus, such as wearing a mask, handwashing, social distancing, avoiding those who are sick or showing symptoms, and vaccination. To avoid asthma exacerbations, people with asthma should also continue to take their prescription medications.


“While initial case studies published early in the pandemic did not appear to implicate asthma as a risk factor, today we know that a large cohort of patients who have been hospitalised with COVID-19 demonstrate a high prevalence of asthma. As such, asthmatics should practice maximum hygiene and minimal personal interaction,” adds Hewlett.


The Affinity Health Chronic Essential option provides medication for up to 24 chronic medical conditions as per the Affinity Health Chronic Medication Formulary, including asthma. Members are required to register for this Benefit and may be subjected to a waiting period.

Learn more about the Chronic Disease Benefit

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health aims to provide premier quality, affordable medical insurance to South Africans. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service when they are faced with injury or illness. We work to deliver innovative solutions that are simple, cost-effective, and proven, so our cover is structured to ensure that you get exactly what you need. For more information, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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