World, Health

Expert: Respiratory patients at extra risk due to virus

Patients of respiratory illnesses like asthma, COPD must take more care in social distancing measures, says pulmonologist

Hatice Senses   | 02.04.2020
Expert: Respiratory patients at extra risk due to virus

ISTANBUL

Patients of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) should be especially careful not to contract the novel coronavirus, as respiratory problems can prove lethal for COVID-19 patients, a Turkish doctor said on Thursday.

Dr. Nesrin Ocal, a pulmonologist at the University of Health Sciences in Istanbul, said people with such health conditions were at higher risk and should use their medication regularly.

"COPD ranks third among death causes worldwide, yet people can live long years with a well-prepared treatment […] As for asthma, it does not have a high age average, unlike that of COPD, and has a lower death rate," she said.

However, she warned that spring would also mean an increase in pollen -- a significant asthma trigger.

It is of crucial importance that these patients pay extra care to implement social distancing precautions, she said, adding they should not use separate items from other members of their household such as towels and glasses.

"If you observe high fever, coughing or shortness of breath, make sure you see a doctor before it's too late," she said.

The novel coronavirus has so far claimed 277 lives in Turkey while total registered cases stand over 15,000. There are near 1,000 patients receiving treatment in the intense care unit, also 333 patients have fully recovered.

After first appearing in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December, the virus has spread to at least 180 countries and regions.

The global death toll from the virus has hit over 48,300 with nearly 952,100 confirmed cases and almost 202,500 recoveries, according to the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

*Writing by Ali Murat Alhas

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