Some with asthma worried about work return

Back2Work checklist launched
  • Deborah Condon

People with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) are being urged to be particularly vigilant when returning to work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Asthma Society of Ireland has launched a Back2Work checklist as part of its 'Life Alongside COVID-19' campaign. The checklist is designed to support people with these conditions who are returning to work, showing them how to best protect themselves in the workplace during the current pandemic.

The society runs a national advice line for people with asthma and COPD and last month, one in four users of this service were looking for additional information about returning to work and advice on safe working conditions during COVID-19.

According to the society's CEO, Sarah O'Connor, over the next number of weeks, many people with asthma and COPD will be returning to work for the first time since lockdown and some are concerned about this prospect.

In a survey of almost 2,500 people with asthma and COPD, that was conducted in April, one-quarter said that they were concerned about contracting COVID-19 from colleagues in their workplace.

"These people, who were identified as being vulnerable during COVID-19, need to take extra precautions when returning to the workplace to ensure their risk of contracting COVID-19 is minimal, and also to make sure that their condition is well managed to avoid a potentially fatal asthma attack," Ms O'Connor noted.

She said that the Back2Work checklist will help. It can be viewed here.

"We are calling on both people with asthma and with COPD to follow our checklist to ensure they are as safe as possible at work during COVID-19," Ms O'Connor added.

The checklist covers a number of areas, such as how to best manage your condition, how to stay COVID-19 aware and how to ensure your workplace is safe.

A second version of the checklist is also available to employers here. This will help them to put measures in place to ensure those with asthma and COPD remain safe in the workplace.

For more information on the Asthma Society, including how to contact its advice line and Beating Breathlessness WhatsApp patient support service, click here.


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