MONDAY, April 20, 2020 (HealthDay News) – Smokers and vapers who get COVID-19 are more likely to experience complications, so this might be a good time to stop, said the Society of Thoracic Surgeons.
An initial study from China looked at 78 COVID-19 patients who were hospitalized. The researchers found those who had a history of smoking had a 14 times greater risk of requiring higher levels of care, needing a ventilator, and / or dying.
The death rate of COVID-19 in China is higher in men than women, and smoking rates are higher in men in that country might be the reason why.
“Because COVID-19 is a virus that mainly attacks the lungs, anything that harms the lungs can weaken the patient and produce a more severe effect if the person is infected. It is known that smoking produces worse outcomes in people with pneumonia or influenza, and we learned that smoking can pose a significant risk to those suffering from COVID-19, “writes chest surgeon Dr. Matthew Steliga in the patient guide from the community.
He points out that smoking thickens the mucus that lines people’s airways, making it more difficult to clean inhaled fungi, bacteria, and viruses.
“This leads to more particles and infectious agents trapped in the lungs and more difficulty in cleaning this material,” wrote Steliga, who practices at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. “Those who smoke have a greater chance of getting a respiratory infection, and when someone is infected, it is more difficult to recover from it. Even the occasional cigarette or cigarette smoke is associated with an increased risk of acute respiratory syndrome.”
And, he warned, electronic cigarettes are no safer than traditional cigarettes.
They can suppress immune function, and some research shows that vaping damages mucus clearance and the body’s ability to fight infections, Steliga said.
“We do not have clear long-term data on the use of e-cigarettes and COVID-19, but it was agreed that the best way to avoid complications from COVID-19 is to keep your lungs as clean and natural as possible,” he said in a public news release.
The World Health Organization has more information smoking and COVID-19.
SOURCE: Society of Thoracic Surgeons, news release, 14 April 2020
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