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Dublin: 3°C Saturday 23 January 2021

Asthma Society of Ireland 'inundated with calls' from people with existing respiratory illnesses

The charity’s CEO has warned that people with asthma would experience more severe symptoms if they contract Covid-19.

Image: Shutterstock/Antonio Guillem

THE CEO OF the Asthma Society of Ireland (ASI) has said the charity is inundated with calls about the impact the Covid-19 coronavirus might have on people with existing respiratory illnesses. 

The ASI has warned that members of the public who suffer with asthma or COPD will experience “severe’ symptoms if they contract the virus, and has urged the HSE to provide additional precautions that can be taken. 

“We have been inundated with calls from individuals with asthma and COPD who are extremely worried about how coronavirus will affect them if they get it and what additional precautions they can take to minimise their chances of contracting the virus,” Sarah O’Connor, CEO of the charity said. 

“Unfortunately, international data indicates if people with asthma and other respiratory conditions contract coronavirus, the health impact can be more severe. They are more likely to experience complications and to need hospital treatment.”

O’Connor urged people with asthma to be “extra vigilant in their asthma management and follow the advice set out by the HSE” as the Government and HSE continues to get to grips with the rising number of cases in Ireland. 

In addition to the advice from the HSE, the ASI has detailed tips for anyone suffering with asthma or COPD here


Covid-19 is spread through droplets caused by sneezing or coughing, or by touching a surface that someone has sneezed or coughed on within a particular time frame. It cannot be passed through your skin, and it’s thought that it’s unlikely to be airborne.

It may take up to 14 days for symptoms to show. 

The best ways to protect yourself and others from the virus are to wash hands properly and often, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue/your sleeve when coughing and sneezing, and put used tissues in a bin and wash your hands. 

Symptoms of Covid-19 include:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever
  • Breathing difficulties.

Further resources:

  • The HSE: Official advice on the coronavirus in Ireland. This is being updated based on the number of confirmed cases and how the virus spreads in Ireland.
  • The Department of Foreign Affairs: Official advice on where to avoid travelling to. Also a resource for those who are abroad.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO): The UN agency on global public health publishes statements and daily situation reports based on the latest data.
  • European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC): The EU agency on the number of cases, deaths and how it’s spreading in Europe. 
  • The Johns Hopkins University map: A heat map of the confirmed cases across the world.

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