Allgery News

Asthma Is Absent Among Top Covid-19 Risk Factors, Early Data Shows

It was recently reported in the journal Lancet (think of it as the British version of the New England Journal of Medicine) that there has been a puzzling ABSENCE of asthma in patients with severe Covid-19. The condition does not even make the top ten list of comorbidities, which in New York, in order, are hypertension, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, coronary artery disease, dementia, atrial fibrillation, COPD, kidney disease, cancer and congestive heart failure. The reasons are unclear, although one possibility is that ongoing use of asthma controller medications might actually have some sort of protective action. If so, this is without known precedent. So, this is a critical time to use one’s maintenance asthma medications as advised. A task force within the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology has been following the Covid-19 story very closely and providing very timely updates. (Drs. Banks and Andrews are Fellows in the Academy.) The bottom line is to continue all usual aspects of asthma therapy.

From The New York Times: Asthma Is Absent Among Top Covid-19 Risk Factors, Early Data Shows Despite warnings that asthmatics were at higher risk for severe illness from the coronavirus, asthma is showing up in only about five percent of New York State’s fatal Covid cases.

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The Infection That’s Silently Killing Coronavirus Patients

It appears to be time for households to purchase a fingertip pulse oximeter, with many available on Amazon for $40-60. If you wonder why, please track down a well-written piece in the New York Times by Dr. Richard Levitan on April 21, in which he describes the curious way that corona virus pneumonia compromises oxygenation even while carbon dioxide is adequately exhaled. Most of our sensation of being short of breath is driven by carbon dioxide levels. So, with Covid-19 infection CO2 levels might be normal while oxygen levels are becoming dangerously low. That person might be in real danger while not feeling too poorly. We are all being advised to contact our health care providers when faced with symptoms and wondering if it is time to seek ER assessment. Knowing one’s “pulse Ox” can be a very critical determinant! Normal readings are typically 94-99. These inexpensive devices are accurate. Last month Dr. Banks purchased the “Innovo Deluxe…” pulse oximeter ($41.99) to have at home, and it works fine, although it prefers rather subdued lighting. Just get any one of these devices now! And stay safe.

From The New York Times:
The Infection That’s Silently Killing Coronavirus Patients
This is what I learned during 10 days of treating Covid pneumonia at Bellevue Hospital.

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FDA Alerts of Perrigo's voluntary albuterol inhaler recall

[9/21/2020] The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is alerting health care professionals and patients of a voluntary recall of all unexpired albuterol sulfate inhalation aerosol manufactured by Catalent Pharma Solutions for Perrigo Pharmaceutical Company in Minneapolis, due to possible clogging of the inhaler resulting in patients not receiving enough or any medicine. This recall is to the retail level. FDA urges patients to continue using the inhaler they have on hand.

The albuterol inhaler delivers medication into the body through the airway and lungs, where it opens the airways to treat asthma and other conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Patients could face health risks if their rescue albuterol inhaler malfunctions and does not relieve symptoms in an emergency situation. FDA advises patients to: immediately seek emergency care if needed; use their Perrigo inhaler they have on hand, as needed and as directed by a doctor; have extra inhalers or an alternative treatment available in case of malfunction, as some of these recalled inhalers stop working after several uses; and contact their health care professional or pharmacist with questions.

FDA reminds health care professionals and patients that albuterol inhalers are available through additional manufacturers.
Perrigo informed FDA it has received several thousand complaints about its product. Most of the complaints were for clogging and failure to dispense enough medicine. The manufacturer of Perrigo’s albuterol inhaler, Catalent, stopped producing and distributing the albuterol inhaler products on August 21, 2020, and is currently investigating the malfunction.

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