Nearly a third of young adults with asthma ignore COVID guidelines, survey reveals

CIUDAD VICTORIA, Mexico — Most young adults living with asthma are aware of what they should be doing to keep themselves and others safe from COVID-19. Despite this, researchers say close to a full third still fail to keep up with relevant pandemic safety recommendations. Besides that troubling conclusion, their recent survey of 2,372 young adults also finds a fifth of asthmatics (20.4%) actually believe they’re not at risk of COVID-related suffering.

It’s well known that asthmatics are more likely to develop severe coronavirus symptoms. Until now however, no research had focused on how well asthma patients follow safety guidelines. A team led by Professor Francisco Vázquez-Nava of the Autonomous University of Tamaulipas in Mexico surveyed a group of young adults between 16 and 24 years-old living in Mexico.

Over half (53.1%) of all respondents report not following COVID-19 prevention guidelines. Twelve percent of that group are asthmatic. Among that specific group, every young adult says they are aware of the pertinent safety recommendations however, 30.8 percent admit to not actually following them. A small percentage (3.8%) don’t believe COVID-19 exists at all.

Factors including being male, not believing COVID-19 is any more dangerous for asthmatics, and being a smoker all contributed to respondents being less likely to follow pandemic safety guidelines.

Asthma patients not getting much COVID guidance from doctors

Also of note is the discovery that 44.3 percent of respondents haven’t received any special instructions from their doctors on how to stay safe during the pandemic. Another 20.4 percent did not receive any medication suggestions from their doctor to help control asthma symptoms during COVID-19.

“Our results show that a substantial percentage of asthma patients do not comply with COVID-19 mitigation measures. Moreover, an important proportion of asthmatic patients smoke and consider that COVID-19 is not a serious disease for them. It’s important that people who suffer from asthma be advised by a health professional during the COVID-19 outbreak regarding compliance with basic measures of protection against the disease and the timely use of medications for asthma control,” the study authors write in a media release.

The study is published in the Journal of Asthma.