COVID-19: Smokers among those at risk

Izah Azahari

Viruses like the COVID-19 mainly attack the lungs and it was noted that smokers and vapers as well as senior citizens are more at risk when infected by COVID-19.

Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar explained that most smokers and vapers would have spoiled cilia – little hair-like appendages that control the movement of secretions and brings dust particles back out of the lungs, and damaged cilia will not be able to protect the inner parts of the lung.

Those suffering from lung problems such as asthma also have a higher risk when infected as individuals suffering from asthma already have pre-existing problems to their lungs. Being infected by the virus will add on to the risk compared to those who do not suffer from asthma.

Similarly, those suffering from heart problems will also have higher risk as the heart controls blood flow and pressure. An infected lung will harden, said the minister, and this will attribute to complications to the flow of blood in the heart, especially to the lungs.

“When this is high, it will be difficult for the heart to control the blood flow, especially when the infection has spread throughout causing sepsis,” said the minister. “So those with risks, especially those with lung or heart problems and even kidney failure must know how to distance themselves from those at risk to the COVID-19 infection.”

The minister said the best advice for these at-risk individuals is to stay at home unless it is necessary to go out, as well as to always take their medication.

Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar. PHOTO: AZIZ IDRIS