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Young adults with asthma more stressed during the COVID-19 pandemic

Published: November 13, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected young adults in several ways with both physical, as well as mental, health consequences. Asthma has been suggested to be a risk factor for poorer mental health, but it is unclear if young adults with asthma experience more stress and anxiety in relation to COVID-19.

In a cross-sectional study published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, Ekström and Mogensen et al. assessed COVID-19 related anxiety and stress among 1,644 young adults (mean age 25 years) from the Swedish population-based BAMSE-study. Anxiety, perceived stress, and symptoms of asthma and allergic rhinitis were assessed by a questionnaire including the validated perceived stress scale (PSS-10), approximately six months into the pandemic. Levels of anxiety and stress were evaluated in relation to asthma or allergic rhinitis, as well as level of asthma control.

The results showed that around half of the young adults reported increased anxiety due to COVID-19. Participants with asthma expressed more COVID-19 related concern about their own health compared to participants without asthma (39% compared to 29%, p=0.002). Individuals with asthma also reported more contact with online healthcare and more perceived stress, and this was more pronounced among females and young adults with uncontrolled asthma. In contrast, no increase in anxiety or stress was observed among individuals with symptoms of allergic rhinitis. The results emphases the importance of awareness among health caregivers regarding COVID-19 related health concerns among young adults with asthma for appropriate support and care of these patients.

The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice is an official journal of the AAAAI, focusing on practical information for the practicing clinician.

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