Mbabane: The Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS) has advised that asthmatic people should seek documentation from the Ministry of Health, confirming their condition so that they can be treated appropriately where the wearing of masks is concerned.
Asthmatic people, who did not want to be disclosed, expressed their concern that the mandatory wearing of masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic has made matters worse for them because they were being suffocated by the protective clothing.
*Fikile Gama said being the winter season, even before the outbreak, she finds it difficult to breathe, especially in the mornings and evening, and now with the introduction of masks, this condition will worsen. Gama told Independent News that while she was queuing to purchase groceries at one of the big chain stores in Mbabane, she almost collapsed after gasping for air for almost an hour because she wore the mask.
Deputy Police Information and Communications Officer, Nosipho Mnguni, said providing documentary proof of such a condition with the relevant signatures would prevent opportunists from taking advantage of the situation and getting away with breaking the regulations. Mnguni said she understood that asthmatic people were most vulnerable in the wake of the pandemic, being a respiratory sickness and that government should seek practical means to differentiate them from others.
Drawn for comment, Minister of Health, Lizzie Nkosi, said the matter was sensitive and required putting heads together as health care professionals and seeking a solution, asking that a message be sent to her on Monday. The message was sent, but two days later she did not respond, neither did the ministry’s director, Vusi Magagula.
Information gathered online issues that the best action asthmatic people can take is to follow the following simple asthma management steps:
- Keep taking their preventer inhaler daily as prescribed. This will help cut their risk of an asthma attack being triggered by any respiratory virus, including coronavirus.
- Carry their reliever inhaler with them every day, in case they feel asthma symptoms flaring up.
- Download and use an asthma action plan to help them recognise and manage asthma symptoms when they come on.
- Start a peak flow diary, if they have a peak flow meter. If they don’t have a peak flow meter, they should think about getting one from their GP or pharmacist, as this can be a good way of tracking their asthma and helping to tell the difference between asthma symptoms and COVID-19 coronavirus symptoms. It can also help their medical team to assess their over the phone or video.
- If one smoke it’s vital to quit, as smoking may increase one’s risk of catching coronavirus and having worse symptoms.
Information as gathered from the web also says people who are prescribed regular asthma preventer medications should continue to take them throughout the COVID-19 season to maximise their chances of staying well. Stopping these medications may increase the risk of having poorly controlled asthma and risk a severe attack or even hospital admission.