Fewer Harmful COPD Flare-Ups Throughout COVID

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By Cara Murez
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, June 16, 2021 (HealthDay Information) — Public well being precautions meant to scale back the unfold of COVID-19 could have had an unintended however completely satisfied aspect impact.

They could even have benefited people who’ve chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), in keeping with a brand new examine.

In the course of the pandemic, admissions for COPD flare-ups dropped dramatically — by 53% — at College of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) hospitals.

Researchers on the UM Faculty of Drugs suspect this was the results of a drop in circulating seasonal respiratory viruses, corresponding to influenza. They theorized that stay-at-home orders, social distancing, masks mandates and strict limits on massive gatherings diminished publicity not solely to COVID but additionally to different respiratory infections.

“Our examine reveals there is a silver lining to the conduct adjustments past defending in opposition to COVID-19,” mentioned senior writer Dr. Robert Reed, a pulmonologist and professor of medication.

COPD is a bunch of lung diseases that worsen over time and make it exhausting to breathe. Earlier than the pandemic, they have been the fourth-leading reason for demise worldwide, generally triggered by tobacco smoke and soiled air. Almost half of flare-ups are attributable to seasonal respiratory viruses.

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For the examine, the researchers analyzed information from 13 UMMS hospitals, evaluating weekly admissions for COPD in 2018 and 2019, with admissions after April 1, 2020, when COVID-19 public well being measures have been launched. Investigators selected the identical six-month interval in every year for comparability — April 1 to Sept. 30.

The findings have been matched in opposition to U.S. federal information on respiratory viral tendencies between Jan. 1, 2018, and Oct. 1, 2020.

As important as was the system’s 53% drop in COPD admissions through the pandemic, there was additionally a 36% decline in weekly admissions for such severe situations as congestive heart failure, diabetes and heart attack, mentioned co-lead writer Dr. Jennifer So. She’s an assistant professor of medication and COPD specialist.

The researchers warned {that a} full return to regular could once more expose COPD sufferers to the acquainted seasonal triggers.

“If we fully eradicate masks and distancing throughout chilly and flu season, we’ll permit all these viruses which have been successfully suppressed to return raging again,” Reed mentioned in a college information launch. “There could possibly be lots of sickness.”

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He famous that the examine didn’t assess which measures tamed seasonal viruses. However, Reed added, “a easy factor like sporting a masks whereas using on public transit or working from dwelling while you’re sick with a chilly might go a protracted method to cut back virus publicity.”

So mentioned it’s a cultural norm in her native South Korea to put on masks through the winter.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has helped lots of people world wide turn into extra conscious of the position of masking and social distancing to scale back the unfold of illness,” she mentioned within the launch.

The findings have been lately printed within the preprint server medRxiv and haven’t but been peer-reviewed.

Extra info

The U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention has extra info on COVID-19 and chronic lung diseases.

SOURCE: College of Maryland Faculty of Drugs, information launch, June 14, 2021

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