The COPD Foundation released practical recommendations for patients living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who may have concerns about the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) infection.
Using a Q&A format, the Foundation explained that COVID-19 is a new disease that is caused by a novel strain of coronavirus that is different from the common cold, influenza, or pneumonia. COVID-19 emerged in late 2019 in China and is now present in multiple countries, including the United States.
The first case of community-spread of COVID-19 in the United States was reported on February 26, 2020 and the virus has been confirmed in numerous states, with more cases expected to be identified. The risk for contracting COVID-19 in the United States is low, but people with COPD and other lung conditions are at an increased risk for severe outcomes if they become infected, which is also true for seasonal influenza and pneumonia. The Foundation urged patients to take prompt action if they suspect that they have any type of respiratory infection.
In terms of what people with COPD can do to prepare for further spread of COVID-19 and/or potential home isolation, the Foundation recommended taking steps similar to those for natural disaster or other emergency preparations. They included links to the Disaster Preparedness Plan Booklet in both English and Spanish, and recommended refilling medications as soon as possible (having at least a 30-day supply on hand). Patients should also contact their oxygen supplier (if applicable) to inquire about preparation in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak in their area. Patients who rely on visiting nurses or aids should ask if there are established plans for ensuring prevention practices.
If a patient’s primary pharmacy runs out of their COPD medications, the Foundation recommended checking with their healthcare provider for alternative medications and reminded patients that medications have different dosing indications and half-life kinetics.
For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Sullivan, Jamie. A coronavirus update for the COPD community. COPD Foundation. February 28, 2020. Updated March 3, 2020. www.copdfoundation.org/COPD360social/Community/COPD-Digest/Article/1553/A-Coronavirus-Update-for-the-COPD-Community.aspx. Accessed March 4, 2020.