Actions to combat the COVID-19 pandemic: the lung health perspective

A summary of an editorial article published in the European Respiratory Journal

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a unique opportunity for countries across the globe to share resources and experiences to control the pandemic and improve lung health. This article provides actions that can be used moving forward for patients, healthcare professionals and in the community.

What does the article discuss?

The authors are all members of the Global Alliance against Chronic Respiratory Diseases (GARD, They are frontline healthcare providers and researchers from over 80 countries, who are working to reduce the burden of long-term lung diseases. They have used their hands-on experience and lessons learned from the pandemic to share a series of recommendations.

What are the recommendations?

  • For patients:
    • Remote consultations via video call can help reduce anxiety levels and help people manage symptoms of their lung condition more independently.
    • All organisations working to support people with long-term lung diseases should share key, science-based information. Information should be easy to understand by people of all abilities; infographics are an effective way to do this.
  • For healthcare professionals
    • More research needs to be done to help healthcare workers to advise how people recovering from COVID-19 can manage any long-term symptoms at home.
    • Frontline healthcare workers have been using social media, such as Whatsapp and WeChat, to share information about the pandemic with each other. This has been  very useful, but public health authorities should help monitor this moving forward to stop them from becoming overloaded with information.
    • The ability of healthcare systems in different locations to be prepared for situations like the COVID-19 pandemic varies a lot. These inequalities affected healthcare workers and need to be addressed.
  • For the community
    • Most countries on lockdown have experienced a short-term drop in air pollution levels. This has shown that it is possible to cut down the dangerous levels of air pollution that were seen in some areas before the COVID-19 pandemic. This should be built on moving forwards.

Why is this important?

The authors say that they hope their practical suggestions can not only help to combat the COVID-19 pandemic but also improve the state of healthcare across the globe.

You can see a full list of all the recommendations in the original research paper.

Read the original research paper:

Title: A Global Respiratory Perspective on the COVID-19 Pandemic: Commentary and Action Proposals