Some people with no history of asthma experience asthma symptoms several months after recovering from COVID-19. This may be due to the long-term effects of the infection on your respiratory system.

The long-term effects of COVID-19 are still unclear. Many people experience symptoms for months or even years after recovering from infection. This is known as post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection, post-COVID conditions, or simply “long COVID.”

The infection’s effects on the body may also cause people to develop new, persistent conditions. There’s ongoing research into people developing autoimmune diseases due to COVID-19.

The hallmark symptoms of COVID-19 are often respiratory, meaning they affect the lungs. In many cases, they may resemble asthma symptoms, such as:

So can COVID-19 cause some people to develop persistent asthma symptoms long after recovery? This article reviews the current research into potential links between COVID-19 and asthma.

There are reports of people developing asthma after recovery from COVID-19. A small 2021 case study examined 46 people without a history of allergies or asthma and found that many showed asthma symptoms 1–6 months after recovery.

One small 2022 study involving children hospitalized for COVID-19 found that about 41.5% of them developed asthma-like symptoms. But that study also found that the risk of developing asthma was higher in children with a family history.

This may be due to the long-term effects of COVID-19 on the airways in your lungs. Asthma is due to inflammation in the airways of your lungs. This causes them to tighten and makes breathing more difficult.

Another study from 2022 suggested that the inflammatory effects of COVID-19 on the lungs can last long after recovery from the infection. Researchers found evidence of these effects 3–6 months after recovery but found that they usually resolved after a year.

Is wheezing common after COVID?

While wheezing is a hallmark symptom of asthma, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America notes that it isn’t a common symptom of COVID-19.

But there are reports of people experiencing wheezing as a symptom of long COVID. A small study from 2020 found that 11.5% of telemedicine patients reported wheezing 6 weeks after COVID.

A larger 2022 study found that wheezing was a new symptom in only 0.4% of children 90 days after visiting an emergency department for COVID.

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Research suggests that asthma isn’t a risk factor for more severe COVID-19 infection. But some research also suggests that people with asthma may be at increased risk of long COVID and may experience worse asthma symptoms.

A 2022 study found that people with asthma were at a higher risk of specific symptoms for up to 180 days, including:

A smaller 2022 study found that, even with mild to moderate COVID symptoms, some people with asthma developed worse symptoms in the long term. This worsening of symptoms was enough to require a change in medication.

There are isolated reports of people developing asthma or having an asthma attack after receiving the COVID vaccine.

Studies examining the safety of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine found that 1 person out of 2,013 people under 5 years old had asthma after vaccination.

There are also case reports from 2021 and 2022 of people experiencing asthma attacks after receiving the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. The latter study noted that repeated vaccination may be a risk factor for an asthma attack, as the event occurred after the person’s third dose.

Still, these adverse events are extremely rare. COVID-19 vaccines are usually safe, and the benefits may far outweigh the risks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that eligible people stay current with their COVID vaccinations.

Known risk factors for asthma

According to the American Lung Association, risk factors for asthma include:

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Some people may develop persistent asthma symptoms after recovering from COVID-19. This is likely due to the long-term effects of the infection on your respiratory system. These effects can also cause people with asthma to experience worsened symptoms for months after infection.

There’s currently no way to predict whether you’ll develop asthma and no way to prevent it. Still, people at greater risk of the disease may wish to avoid manageable risk factors like smoking and exposure to pollutants. Also, you can stay up to date on your COVID-19 vaccinations to reduce your risk of infection and long COVID conditions.