Could you believe if we told you that there would be a virus that will take control of how we live? We couldn’t either. After the spreading of a newly identified virus in 2019, SARS-CoV-2, or as we know it COVID-19, all of us have changed how we lived. We are still trying to adapt and learn. COVID-19 first understood as some type of flu. After a while, it was identified as “a respiratory virus which spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose.” The effects of this virus can change from person to person but most people infected with the virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment.
Since the new coronavirus is a respiratory virus, the patients who are considered as high risk should be extra careful. One of the high-risk group patients are the ones that were diagnosed with PF, pulmonary fibrosis.
Pulmonary fibrosis (PF) refers to a medical condition where there is scarring in the tissue of the lungs. Shortness of breath, dry cough, fatigue, and discomfort in the chest are the main symptoms. Due to the fact that the cases are mostly older ages, smokers, and have more co-morbidities such as hypertension; pulmonary fibrosis (PF) is in the "high-risk" category in the COVID-19 pandemic.
In these cases, you must stay at home to prevent the transmission of the virus due to the risk of a more severe course of COVID-19 disease.
7 Suggestions About PF
Management During Pandemic
- Get vaccinated. Don't forget your flu and pneumonia vaccines as well as the COVID-19 vaccine.
- Get tested and get treated. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, it’s important to get tested. If your test is positive, discuss with your doctor about treatment options. And start treatment as quickly as possible.
- Reopening communities doesn’t mean the virus is gone. Stay at home if possible and maintain social distancing when you need to be outside.
- Lung health emergencies are still emergencies. If you are getting worse or experiencing a new symptom, let your doctor know.
- Keep taking your prescribed medications as directed. The treatment given to you in order to protect your lung health and slow down the progression of the disease is valid as is.
- Stay connected. I know you miss your loved ones and maybe you cannot see them personally, but it is very important for your mental health to meet and talk with people who are good for you, even if it is online. Contact local online support communities or psychologists if necessary.
- Check your sources. Unfortunately, misinformation is everywhere. Be mindful of the reliability of the sources from which you obtain your information about COVID-19 and your disease.
What Can PF Patients
Do In This Challenging Time?
In conclusion, patients with pulmonary fibrosis need to stay at home in order to prevent the transmission of the virus due to the risk of a more severe course of COVID-19 disease. However, at the same time, it is important for PF patients to regularly test their lung conditions and to discuss their results with their doctor.
So what can you do if you are advised to stay at home but also need to check in with your doctor from time to time to get your regular testing? You may choose to go to the hospital but the contamination risk is extremely high. All these challenges can complicate the disease management of PF patients. Thankfully, with technological advancement, the health sector is also improving it. Now there is a pocket-sized, ultrasonic spirometer (not the big and scary spirometer you see at the clinics) which you can use at home, do your regular tests and even contact to your doctor. With SpiroHome Personal spirometers, you can perform your spirometry tests at home with clinical accuracy, just like you are at a clinic or hospital, and share your results with your healthcare providers directly via SpiroCloud.
- “COVID-19 and Pulmonary Fibrosis FAQs.” Life with Pulmonary Fibrosis, 2021, https://www.lifewithpulmonaryfibrosis.com/covid-19-and-pulmonary-fibrosis-faqs.
- “Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).” World Health Organization, 2021, https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus#tab=tab_1.
- “Controlling Chronic Lung Diseases Amid COVID-19.” American Lung Association, 25 May 2021, https://www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/covid-19/chronic-lung-diseases-and-covid.
- “Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Advice for the Public: Mythbusters.” World Health Organization, https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters.
- “PFF GUIDANCE ON COVID-19.” Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, 1 Sept. 2021, https://www.pulmonaryfibrosis.org/docs/default-source/covid-19/pff_coronavirus-guidance_final_202159f7fad09b5d6477b7e4ff000016512a.pdf?sfvrsn=3ed8d7e7_10.