Information about the Corona pandemic for patients with allergic diseases

Here you will find recommendations and statements from German specialist societies or allergy experts relating to questions that may be important to you considering the global Corona pandemic.

How to distinguish Coronavirus infection from allergy or asthma?

The Centre for Rhinology and Allergology in Wiesbaden has designed an illustration showing the differences and similarities between respiratory allergies and various viral diseases

(http://allergiezentrum.org/images/presse/pressemitteilungen/PM_COVID19undAllergien17%20032020.pdf)

Differences in the symptoms of allergies / asthma, COVID 19, influenza flu and viral common cold infections (according to scientific research of Allergy Centre Wiesbaden); translated from German by Allergopharma.

If you are unsure or need clarification, we recommend you contact your treating physician or a specialist (at first by phone). For patients living in Germany a specialist in your area can be found on our patient portal at

(https://www.allergie-freizeit.de/tools/facharztsuche/)

Are patients with pollen allergy at higher risk of getting infected or come down with the Coronavirus with?

There is a statement concerning this point by Professor Dr. med. Karl-Christian Bergmann, the chairman of the Foundation for German Pollen Information Service (Stiftung Deutscher Polleninformationsdienst)

(http://www.pollenstiftung.de/aktuelles-einzelansicht/corona-virus-und-pollenallergie/14fee58a5fa14ca87b235dac1f544aa5/).

„The answer is NO. People suffering from hay fever do not have a reduced immunological defense, they are not “immune-compromised”, and their defense against bacteria and viruses is considered normal. Pollen-allergic patients have an increased immunological reaction to airborne pollen. They produce antibodies against allergens of the pollen which can be detected in the skin by allergy testing or in the blood. This is not a sign of a weakened immunological defense system.”

Should patients with pollen allergy currently change their medication?

There is a recommendation from Professor Dr. med. Karl-Christian Bergmann, the chairman of the Foundation for German Pollen Information Service (Stiftung Deutscher Polleninformationsdienst)

(http://www.pollenstiftung.de/aktuelles-einzelansicht/corona-virus-und-pollenallergie/14fee58a5fa14ca87b235dac1f544aa5/).

„In the current situation of the spreading Coronavirus pandemic, pollen-allergic patients should use the same hay fever medications that they have used so far.”

Should intra-nasal corticosteroid sprays currently be discontinued?

In this matter, there is a recommendation from the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI)

(https://www.eaaci.org/resources-list/resources/4698- eaaciariastatement.html)

“With the current knowledge, intra-nasal corticosteroid sprays can be continued in allergic rhinitis and during the pollen season at recommended dose. Stopping local intra-nasal corticoisteroid sprays is not advised as immunosuppression has not been proven and more sneezing after stopping them may lead to more spreading of the coronavirus. Moreover; unnecessary SARS-CoV-2 testing and doctor´s visits may be avoided by sufficient treatment of allergic airway problems; since patients may confound allergic induced nasal symptoms and cough with signs of virus infection.”

Should a specific immunotherapy (allergen immunotherapy - AIT) be stopped due to the current Corona pandemic?

Concerning this matter, the German Society for Allergology and Clinical Immunology (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Allergologie und klinischer Immunologie, DGAKI) gives the following recommendation (https://dgaki.de/):

“AITs should be conducted according to current summary of product characteristics and the package leaflet of the corresponding AIT products. AIT in the form of injections (subcutaneous immunotherapy, SCIT) or in the form of (sublingual) drops or tablets (sublingual immunotherapy, SLIT) can be continued in symptom-free and healthy patients. The therapy regimen should not be interrupted.

When signs of infection are present such as fever, unclear cough or reduced general condition, AIT should be suspended and continued at a later (symptom-free) time. If the SCIT is interrupted, dose adjustment will be performed by the treating physician according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. The restart of a SLIT should be performed under medical supervision.“

Prior to your next doctor's appointment, we recommend you contacting the medical practice by phone in order to organize your visit properly under the current conditions.

Are there recommendations for asthmatic patients using inhaled corticosteroid considering the current Corona pandemic?

The German Society for Pneumology and Respiratory Medicine (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Pneumologie und Beatmungsmedizin e.V., DGP), the Association for Pediatric Pneumology (Gesellschaft für Pädiatrische Pneumologie e.V., GPP) and the Society for Pediatric Allergology and Environmental Medicine (Gesellschaft für Pädiatrische Allergologie und Umweltmedizin e.V., GPA) have published a statement referring to this matter

(https://pneumologie.de/fileadmin/user_upload/Aktuelles/2020-03-16_Statement_Asthma_und_COVID-19_F.pdf).

“The German asthma specialists recommend that children and adults with asthma should not change or even stop adequate and individually adjusted anti-asthmatic inhalation therapy (especially ICS therapy) for this reason. The risk of a dramatic worsening of asthma due to change in anti-asthmatic therapy could lead to (otherwise unnecessary) doctor`s visits or hospitalization - including possible contacts with COVID-19 patients. This condition would be more threatening for the individual asthma patient than a possible, but still not proven risk of promoting coronavirus infection (SARS-CoV-2).

Therefore, a successful inhalation therapy in asthmatic patients should be continued without any changes, especially considering the current Coronavirus pandemic.

All other hygiene and precautions recommended by the Robert Koch Institute, including the avoidance of social contacts, must of course also be followed by asthmatic patients.”

Is there evidence that the risk of pneumonia increases when using inhaled corticosteroids to treat asthma?

Professor Dr. med. Karl-Christian Bergmann, the chairman of the Foundation for German Pollen Information Service (Stiftung Deutscher Polleninformationsdienst) has also commented on this question

(http://www.pollenstiftung.de/aktuelles-einzelansicht/corona-virus-und-pollenallergie-stichwort-kortison/73e5e543a649fcb02486a3d8fd85188a/).

“Both with allergic asthma caused by pollen, animal hair, house dust mites or other allergens and with non-allergic asthma, there is no correlation between the inhalation of corticosteroids and the occurrence of pneumonia. Inhaled corticosteroid is used to reduce asthmatic inflammation in all forms of asthma and is the most important substance in maintaining good lung function in these people.”

 

Please stay healthy and get through the Corona crisis safely!