Asthma and Covid can have relatively similar symptoms at first.

On this World Asthma Day, Europe 1 takes stock of what can make it possible to differentiate the symptoms of asthma or allergy from those of Covid, as well as the right actions to adopt. 

Runny nose and more smell, is it Covid or asthma?

The latter is a disease that affects more than 4 million people in France.

Effective treatments exist and yet a large majority of people with asthma continue to suffer in their daily lives because their asthma is not sufficiently controlled.

In this time of Covid, there are also many patients who co-base the symptoms of allergies with those of the coronavirus.

On this World Asthma Day, Europe 1 summarizes the main things to know to make the distinction.


 - Coronavirus: follow the evolution of the situation Tuesday, May 4

The differences: infectious context, stiffness, feverishness

With the appearance of pollens, patients with respiratory problems are flocking to pulmonologists like Marc Sapène, president of the Asthma and Allergies Association. They are lost and wonder if they have allergies, asthma or the coronavirus. "They have a blocked nose, sneezing, they do not feel very well so they ask themselves the question", summarizes the specialist.

A reaction all the more normal "that with a blocked nose one loses the sense of smell", recalls the doctor.

"And since everyone has heard it was a symptom of Covid, they are wondering if they have it."

Most often these are false alarms.

Certain elements must be able to put on the track "in the Covid there is an infectious context, we have aches, we are feverish", he explains.

"At the slightest doubt, we get tested and that allows us to decide," adds Marc Sapène.

The Asthma and Allergies Info service toll-free number on 0800.19.20.21 can also refer patients.

Taking the treatment is a barrier gesture

Even though both Covid and asthma affect the airways, "asthmatics, when it comes to moderate asthma, are not particularly at risk. It is not an aggravating factor, nor for what is the risk of catching the virus, nor in terms of a risk of severe form, "explains Dr. Sophie Grieu, allergist in Paris, member of the Asthma & Allergies Association.

They do not present any risk for vaccination either. 

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"On the other hand, in cases of severe or poorly controlled asthma, patients become at risk" of catching Covid, she explains.

An observation to which Marc Sapène subscribes.

"When the mucous membrane is inflammatory, viruses enter more easily inside the body and there is a greater chance of being contaminated. So message for asthmatics and allergics: do your treatment well."

The treatment against allergy or asthma becomes like a barrier gesture against the Covid.

Even more for people with asthma who take corticosteroids inhaler.

According to a study conducted by English researchers, this treatment would further prevent patients from developing a severe form of Covid.