The Asthma Society of Ireland is determined to provide accurate and reliable information regarding the coronavirus to the 380,000 people in Ireland with asthma. Misinformation can cause people to make informed decisions or can cause and increase anxiety. Below you will find some of the most common myths and the truth behind each of them.

If you have any further questions, speak to our asthma and CODP nurse specialised for free. Speak to a nurse over the phone through our Adviceline service 1800 44 54 64 or send a WhatsApp message to our Beating Breathlessness Whatsapp service 086 059 0132.

Myth: Due to the coronavirus, all asthma patients will be sent an emergency asthma management “rescue pack” including medication

Fact: “Rescue packs” exist, but they are not for widespread use by asthma or COPD patients and are not recommended as part of a national healthcare response to coronavirus.

“Rescue packs”, which contain antibiotic and steroidal medication, do exist in a very limited setting. They are in very rare circumstances provided to patients who work very closely with their GP as part of a closely monitored self-management plan. They are typically provided to patients with the severest form of asthma or COPD, specifically suitable for patients who are very well versed in managing and understanding their symptoms due to the severity of their condition. 

Misuse or overuse of the medication in “rescue packs” can have a variety of unintended consequences and can involve risks of a serious nature.

Myth: Patients should stop taking anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen or cortisone as they can worsen coronavirus symptoms 

Fact: There is no evidence to suggest that anti-inflammatories worsen symptoms for patients diagnosed with COVID-19. Stopping or reducing a prescribed dose of anti-inflammatories could be harmful to the health of people with chronic illnesses, including asthma and COPD.

Do not stop taking prescribed medication or reduce dosages without first speaking to your doctor.

Myth: There is a shortage of asthma and COPD medication

Fact: The Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU), the HSE, the Department of Health and various pharmaceutical companies have reassured us that there is a good stock of asthma and COPD medications in Ireland.

There is no need to order extra medicines than you need for the coming month. This will affect the supply of medicines for others. There is no disruption to the supply of medicines. Our Irish supply chains are well-stocked, established and reliable.

Myth: 5G network towers are causing the coronavirus to spread

Fact: Viruses cannot travel on radio waves/mobile networks. COVID-19 is spreading in many countries that do not have 5G mobile networks.

COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. People can also be infected by touching a contaminated surface and then their eyes, mouth or nose.

Myth: Young people cannot become ill with COVID-19

Fact: All people regardless of age or gender can contract the virus. There are certain factors which make you more likely to become seriously ill with COVID-19 such as those identified as extremely medically vulnerable by the Department of Health.

However, all people are still at risk of experiencing severe symptoms with the coronavirus.

Even if you do not feel ill, you may still be infected with the virus and could cause it to be passed on to others. All people need to practice good hand hygiene, implement physical distancing, and remain in the home to reduce the spread. 

Myth: Antibiotics can help prevent you getting the coronavirus

Fact: Antibiotics only work against bacteria; they will not work against a viral infection such as the coronavirus. However, if you are hospitalised due to the coronavirus, you may receive antibiotics because bacterial co-infection is possible.

Researchers are working to develop a vaccine against COVID-19. Currently no vaccine exists. Vaccines against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, do not provide protection against the new coronavirus. Despite this, vaccination against respiratory illnesses is highly recommended to protect your health.