Patients should continue taking routine allergy and asthma medications – including corticosteroids – during the coronavirus pandemic, say leading allergists. In fact, getting symptoms under control early in the allergy season may be the safest action at this time.

Not only are asthma sufferers at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness, but breathing difficulties may be mistaken for COVID-19 symptoms, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

“It is important to control your allergy and asthma symptoms as they may lead to misdiagnosis of COVID-19,” stated the organization.

Well-controlled asthma may also help to prevent or reduce exacerbations that could lead patients to seek emergency care, increasing the risk of exposure to COVID-19. In addition, there is no evidence to support stopping corticosteroids at this time, including inhaled and intranasal corticosteroids, noted the ACAAI. These medications will not increase the risk of getting the COVID-19 infection, nor will they lead to worse outcomes in people who contract the disease, it said.

The group’s members have reported an uptick in patients questioning the safety of corticosteroids medication. This comes after U.S. and world health authorities warned against the use of systemic corticosteroids in hospitalized patients treated for viral infections. Allergy and asthma sufferers do not use these drugs in a comparable way, ACAAI said. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommend that individuals with asthma continue to take their routine medications, including corticosteroids.