Asthma exacerbation rates fall during pandemic
Fewer people with severe asthma attacks were admitted to hospital or seen by their GP during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to findings from papers published on the Thorax online journal.
In the first paper, researchers studied the Optimum Patient Care Database of 9,949,387 patients in England to assess weekly asthma exacerbation rates between January to August 2020, using January to August 2016–2019 as a baseline to compare results.
After March 23 the researchers found that there were almost 20 fewer episodes for every 100 patients with asthma. With regards to a health setting, the reduction was only significant for patients who did not attend hospital or require hospital admission.
“We believe that a combination of factors led to a reduction in asthma exacerbations,” said the researchers.
“These factors include changing behaviour due to lockdown measures leading to reduction in air pollution, reduced circulation of respiratory viruses, improved self-management driven by patient concerns during the pandemic and shielding by a subset of patients.”
In the second paper, researchers used official data on emergency admissions and deaths due to asthma from Scotland’s Public Health Scotland and Wales’ SAIL Databank to compare weekly rates in the first 18 weeks of 2020 with the national averages over 2015-2019. They compared trends between the first 13 weeks of 2020 compared with the five weeks post-lockdown.
Across both countries, the number of asthma exacerbations resulting in emergency hospital admission fell by more than a third (36 per cent) post-lockdown, and there was no significant change in asthma deaths.
In addition, there was a significant spike in GP prescriptions for asthma medication the week before lockdown – 121 per cent more inhaled corticosteroids and 133 per cent more oral corticosteroid prescriptions compared with the five-year average.
Common feeding feeding issues, including coloc, reflux and regurgitation, and some of the ways they can be managed
Upgrade your contraceptive consultations by exploring the interactive pack to learn about a daily oral contraceptive pill
Record my learning outcomes
Inspiring stories related to health, fitness and the pursuit of wellbeing
More like this
Pharmacies receive £250 per hour to open on Friday bank holiday
NHSE&I announce the terms for opening on the May 8 bank holiday is the same as Good Friday and Easter Monday.
1 Min Article
UEA to launch pharmacy technician course in September
The UEA’s school of pharmacy is the UK’s first higher education institute to offer a training course for pre-registration pharmacy technicians.
1 Min Article
NICE calls on commissioners to promote pharmacy services
Local health commissioners should consider promoting community pharmacies as a first port of call for health and wellbeing, NICE has said.
1 Min Article