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COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

In December 2019, a new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) started spreading. It can cause an illness called COVID-19. Some people may have mild symptoms, while some may have complications – like severe pneumonia – which can lead to death.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), common COVID-19 symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • Feeling tired and weak
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea or vomiting

If you have these emergency warning signs, call 911 or go to the emergency room immediately:

  • Trouble breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest that doesn’t go away
  • Newly confused
  • Can’t wake up or stay awake
  • Cyanosis which is tissue color changes on mucus membranes (like tongue, lips, and around the eyes) and fingertips or nail beds – the color appears grayish or whitish on darker skin tones and bluish on lighter skin tones

This list may not include all symptoms. Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after coming in contact with the virus. If you have any symptoms that are severe or concerning, call your doctor.

How Can I Tell the Difference Between Asthma, Seasonal Allergies, a Cold, COVID-19 (Coronavirus), the Flu, a Cold, or RSV?

There are some symptoms that are similar between these respiratory illnesses and asthma. This chart can help you figure out if you may be feeling symptoms of asthma, allergies, or a respiratory illness like COVID-19, the flu, or a cold. If you have a fever and a cough, call your doctor right away. If you have seasonal allergies, there are things you can do to treat at home.

Information is still changing. We will update this chart as new evidence comes out.


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What Do I Need to Know About the COVID-19 Vaccine?

Everyone ages 6 months and older can get the COVID-19 vaccines for free with no out-of-pocket costs in the United States. The currently available vaccines include Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine (called COMIRNATY® [koe-MIR-nah-tee]) for ages 6 months and older; Moderna COVID-19 vaccine (called spikevax™) for ages 6 months and older; Johnson & Johnson (made by Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine for ages 18 and older; and Novavax COVID-19 vaccine for ages 18 and older.

A chart that shows who can get the COVID-19 vaccine

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Additional primary shots of the Pfizer and Moderna (for ages 6 months and older) vaccines are recommended for some people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised.

The CDC recommends that people ages 5 and older get booster shots after completing the primary series, or first dose(s). Adults can get any of the vaccines authorized in the United States. The CDC only recommends the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in certain situations. If you had a severe reaction to an mRNA (Pfizer or Moderna) vaccine dose or don’t have access to a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, then you can get the J&J vaccine.

Most people can get the COVID-19 vaccines with no issues. Allergic and adverse reactions are rare.

Talk with your doctor before you get a COVID-19 vaccine if you have a:

  • Moderate or acute (short-term) illness
  • Current case of COVID-19
  • History of severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) to a vaccine (not including COVID-19 vaccines) or injectable medicine
  • History of a severe or immediate allergic reaction to previous dose or any ingredient (also called “excipients” or “components”) of a COVID-19 vaccine
  • History of an allergic reaction to PEG or polysorbate

The vaccine reduces the chance of getting COVID-19. It can also reduce the severity of your symptoms if you get the disease. Continue to wear a mask in public indoor places, even if you are fully vaccinated. Keep physical distance and wash your hands to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

More information from AAFA about the COVID-19 vaccines: COVID-19 Vaccines: the Latest Information for People With Asthma and Allergies

COVID-19 Resource Center

As COVID-19 impacts the U.S., you may wonder what that means for people with asthma and allergies. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) has put together some educational resources and tips to help you stay healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): What People With Asthma Need to Know: This blog post gives general information on COVID-19. It has the latest guidance from the CDC and helps people with asthma understand their risk, prevention, and what to do if you catch it.

The COVID-19 Vaccine: the Latest Information for People With Asthma and Allergies: Everyone age 5 and older can get a COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. Booster shots and additional shots for people who are immunocompromised are also available. Read this blog post about the vaccines to learn more.

What People With Asthma Need to Know About Face Masks During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Face masks are an important part of protecting ourselves and others against the coronavirus. But how do face masks affect people with asthma? What are the best options for people with asthma, especially if your job requires them? We answer many of the questions you may have concerning asthma and face masks.

Managing Asthma at School During the COVID-19 Pandemic – AAFA’s COVID-19 and Asthma Toolkit for Schools: Schools face challenges while trying to teach in person while preventing the spread of the coronavirus. Tactics to prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 may impact staff and students with asthma. AAFA has created a COVID-19 and Asthma Toolkit for Schools to provide supplemental guidance to assist schools as they develop their policies and procedures.

Please Don’t Stop Taking Your Asthma Medicines Due to the Coronavirus – a guest blog post from Dr. Mitchell Grayson: Some information has led to confusion about if asthma medicines can increase your chance of getting COVID-19. Dr. Grayson addresses these concerns and why it’s still important to take your asthma medicines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

DANGER! Don’t Nebulize Hydrogen Peroxide and Breathe It to Try to Treat or Prevent COVID-19 – Some people are breathing in hydrogen peroxide through nebulizers to try to prevent or treat COVID-19. This is a dangerous practice. Learn why this can be harmful to your lungs.

Cleaning Your Hands With Soap Vs. Hand Sanitizer: What Is Best to Protect Yourself From COVID-19 and Other Illnesses?: Keeping your hands clean is one of the easiest ways to reduce the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. It can also help help protect you from flu, colds and other respiratory infections. Learn the right way to wash your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

Protecting Your Hands From Eczema During Coronavirus and Flu Outbreaks: Frequent and proper handwashing is a critical part of protecting yourself from COVID-19. But if you have eczema, washing your hands often can lead to uncomfortable eczema flare-ups. Dr. Jonathan Silverberg, a member of our Medical Scientific Council, answers questions on how you can protect your hands while protecting yourself from COVID-19.

Why Healthy Indoor Air Quality Is Important When Spending More Time Indoors Due to COVID-19: Indoor environments can contain asthma and allergy triggers. And many of us have been spending more time indoors because of COVID-19. But there are steps you can take to reduce your exposure to those indoor triggers.

COVID-19 Guidelines for Schools and the Impact on Kids With Food Allergies: COVID-19 has caused many schools to change their policies and procedures, such as where children will eat lunch. This article includes guidance for parents and school staff on managing food allergies while reducing the spread of the coronavirus.

Kitchen Creativity: Managing Food Allergies During the Coronavirus (COVID-19): Food supplies have been affected because of COVID-19. For people with food allergies who already have limited allergy-friendly food choices, this can create additional challenges. This blog post offers some creative kitchen ideas for a time when supplies may be limited.

You can find more information about COVID-19 from these sites:

How has COVID-19 affected you and your family? AAFA would like to hear your story. As someone with asthma and allergies, what have your experiences been during the COVID-19 pandemic? The more we learn, the better we can serve people with asthma and allergies.If you would like to provide support or share your experiences with COVID-19, please email gro.afaa@seirots.

Medical Review: Content summarized from which was reviewed on July 2022 by Mitchell Grayson, MD

Is it Asthma, Allergies, a Cold, COVID-19, the Flu, or RSV?
A chart that shows who can get the COVID-19 vaccine