Assessment and management of adult patients with an acute asthma exacerbation during the COVID-19 pandemic
According to the most recent national data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), asthma is a chronic respiratory disease that affects approximately 8%–9% of the U.S. population and roughly 300 million worldwide. CDC data from 2019 shows 3524 deaths from asthma as the underlying cause. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been challenging for healthcare providers to treat asthma exacerbations due to similarities in symptom presentation. Due to the high transmission rate of COVID-19, and variation in symptoms, many primary care providers have integrated telemedicine to deliver care. Utilizing telemedicine in the clinical setting integrates social distancing, reducing the exposure and transmission rate of COVID-19 while offering patients the ability to be examined. Although telemedicine can provide care for patients in remote areas, decrease travel time and deliver care for patients with COVID-19 symptoms, many healthcare providers and patients have not had much experience with this type of technology. The purpose of this article is to provide a framework that primary care providers can use to effectively screen, evaluate and treat patients with acute asthma exacerbations during the COVID-19 pandemic.