The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has issued a timely statement emphasizing the importance of asthma awareness and standing with parents, families, advocates, researchers, and health care professionals.

The chronic lung disease causes periods of wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing, and is a major contributing factor to missed time from school and work, according to a NIH press release. Severe attacks may require a visit to an emergency room visits or end up fatal.

With the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, many people with asthma have developed additional concerns due to the virus’ effect on the nose, throat, and lungs. COVID-19 can cause more asthma attacks and lead to pneumonia or acute respiratory disease.

According to the CDC, people with asthma should continue their current asthma medications and discuss any concerns with their health care provider.

NIH has supported and conducted studies on asthma, with findings in areas such as the relationship between asthma and COVID-19, populations at risk of developing asthma, potential new treatments, genes involved in asthma, and asthma management.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) is initiating a home-based study to assess the incidence of infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the cause of COVID-19, in children and their families with the help of a caregiver. In addition, the NIAID will begin an observational study in patients hospitalized for COVID-19 to understand if specific characteristics of the immune response influence or reflect the severity of infection.

Possible new treatments have been tested for neutrophilic asthma, a particularly severe form that responds poorly to the standard asthma therapy of corticosteroids.

The National Asthma Education Prevention Program is coordinating the 2020 focused updates to the 2007 Asthma Management Guidelines designed to improve the care of people living with asthma as well as help primary care providers and specialists make decisions about asthma management, according to a press release. Several topic areas will be addressed, including reducing indoor asthma triggers, treating allergies by exposure to low doses of allergens by mouth or with shots, and using inhaled medications when needed.


NIH statement on World Asthma Day 2020. NIH. Published May 5, 2020. Accessed May 5, 2020.