Written by Dr Miriam Stoppard OBE
Dr Miriam Stoppard has spent many years as a TV doctor including having her own show for 15 years – as well as authoring over 80 books and writing columns for the Daily Mirror. As Health and Wellbeing Advisor for Stannah, given her trusted advice we have invited her to help to answer your health-related questions during Covid-19.
Dr Miriam has also addressed the risks posed by Covid-19 to people living with, and taking treatment for, Parkinson’s Disease.
Question: I suffer with asthma. I’m nervous about hay fever with pollen levels already rising, as this aggravates my condition too. What extra precautions should I take?
Answer: As you’ve got asthma, you’re in a vulnerable group for Covid-19. You should therefore be meticulous about your basic asthma care, making sure you adhere precisely to the plan you and your doctor have worked out to keep you asthma-free.
I understand how the hay fever season must make you anxious. Your airways and lungs are already sensitive from your asthma, so inhaling pollen could irritate them. With asthma you’re probably self-isolating, which means you don’t go outside very much — perhaps just for a walk every day. When outside, be sure to adhere to social distancing guidelines and wear a mask or fabric face covering to stop you inhaling pollen. You might also prepare yourself before you go out by lining your nostrils with Vaseline; this will act as a trap for any pollen, preventing it from entering your throat and nose. To protect your eyes, wear sunglasses. There are some excellent products for hay fever available from your chemist, both for your eyes and your nose. So, it might be a good idea to have a chat with your local pharmacist and arrange to have these products delivered to you.
At home, keep the windows closed and damp dust every day. After your walk, wash your clothes in case any pollen is clinging to them and wash your hands thoroughly. Discard your mask.
If you are experiencing symptoms of the Coronavirus — high temperature, sore throat, cough — call NHS 111.