Coronavirus questions answered: How should people with asthma deal with the virus?

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In an interview on "Fox & Friends" Wednesday morning, family and emergency medicine physician Dr. Nicole Saphier answered your questions about the coronavirus pandemic.

Question: I’m the mother of a 13-year-old daughter with asthma. How are people with asthma dealing with the COVID-19?

“This is a good question because a lot of people have children that have asthma, and cold and flu season is a time of heightened awareness for them,” Saphier said.


“The data in the studies are showing us that asthma isn’t necessarily a risk factor for the more severe symptoms of COVID-19."

Saphier said that the truth is that any respiratory illness may be exacerbated in those with asthma and in the cases where there are symptoms of shortness of breath, call a doctor.

Question: Do I need to continue to sanitize surfaces once I have done it once thoroughly?

Saphier said sanitizing after every 5 minutes isn’t necessary, though sanitizing surfaces should be done more than usual.

Saphier went on to say, “I still will also like for people to be opening their windows if the weather is appropriate to allow that cross-room ventilation.”

Question: I am 65, type 2 diabetic, and I am supposed to have cataract surgery in 4 weeks. Do you recommend I delay the surgery?

Saphier said that determining whether to delay surgeries is frequently asked of health care providers.

“Cataract surgery tends to be what we consider an elected procedure because of discomfort and blurry vision. Being 65 and having chronic medical conditions does put you at somewhat higher risk of having more of a severe course of the illness.”


Saphier said that the “right thing to do” is delaying the surgery.

Saphier said that dentists and hygienists are at “extremely high risk” of contracting the infection if they were to work on someone who has the virus because transmission is airborne.

“Not only is this transmitted via respiratory droplets, we now have new studies showing that it may actually go airborne as well -- which means that it will stay airborne and be a bit more contagious.”

Saphier said that blue screen procedures, routine cleaning and screenings should be halted due to the risk of dentists and doctors who make close contact with patients.

Question: I’m a 78-year-old health care provider in South Texas. I do have a couple of autoimmune diseases … Other than that I’m active and feel healthy. Is it safe for me to be out?

Saphier responded, “The truth is with your age and having the autoimmune diseases and possibly on medications, it suppresses your immune system even further. You are considered high risk and I would strongly urge you to stay inside and really take the social distancing to the max.”

Question: I’m a snowbird who planned a car trip from Florida to Rhode Island. Should I stay in Florida or travel north?

Saphier advised against interstate travel.


“There are no black-and-white answers, but the truth is if you can stay put right now safely, then that’s probably what you should do.”

Saphier said that the virus may not linger under warm and humid weather, therefore, it is possible the virus will lose strength during seasonal temperature changes in spring and summer.

To date, the coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 200,000 people worldwide and killed over 8,000. In the United States, there have been just under 6,500 confirmed cases recorded with over 110 deaths reported.