Guidelines

South African Thoracic Society statement on obstructive airways disease and COVID-19

R van Zyl Smit, C Feldman, G Richards, S Abdool-Gaffar, U Lallo, I Kalla, C F N Koegelenberg, K Dheda

Abstract


Summary

• Asthmatics do not appear to have increased susceptibility to COVID-19.

• Uncontrolled severe asthma may be associated with worsened COVID-19 outcomes, especially in asthmatics managed with oral corticosteroids.

• Risk mitigation measures such as hand hygiene, social distancing and wearing of face masks must be observed at all times.

• Asthma should be managed as outlined in local and international guidelines.

• Ensure an adequate supply of medication, and inhaled corticosteroids should not be withdrawn.

• Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is associated with severe COVID-19 disease and poor outcomes.

• Maintenance of background medication is important to avoid exacerbations of COPD.

• Vaccination against influenza is strongly advised for all patients with asthma and COPD.

• Vaccination against pneumococcal infection is advisable for patients with COPD.

• Patients with obstructive airway disease on oral corticosteroids and/or with impaired lung function should take stringent safety precautions

This statement will be updated when more data become available.

Asthma and COPD occur commonly in South Africa. SARS-CoV-2 is a novel coronavirus, which can result in COVID-19-associated severe respiratory infection with respiratory failure and the need for mechanical ventilation. The South African Thoracic Society has prepared a guidance statement to assist clinicians and patients with asthma and COPD during the current epidemic.


Authors' affiliations

R van Zyl Smit, Division of Pulmonology, Department of Medicine and UCT Lung Institute, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

C Feldman, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

G Richards, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

S Abdool-Gaffar, Kingsway Hospital, Amanzimtoti, South Africa

U Lallo, Durban University of Technology, Enhancing Care Foundation and Busamed Gateway Private Hospital, Durban, South Africa

I Kalla, Durban University of Technology, Enhancing Care Foundation and Busamed Gateway Private Hospital, Durban, South Africa

C F N Koegelenberg, Division of Pulmonology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

K Dheda, Centre for Lung Infection and Immunity, Division of Pulmonology, Department of Medicine and UCT Lung Institute and South African MRC/UCT Centre for the Study of Antimicrobial Resistance, University of Cape Town, South Africa Department of Infection Biology, Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK

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Cite this article

African Journal of Thoracic and Critical Care Medicine 2020;26(3):117-118. DOI:10.7196/AJTCCM.2020.v26i3.111

Article History

Date submitted: 2020-09-16
Date published: 2020-10-13

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