COVID Testing: Do Smokers Get More Severe Symptoms of COVID-19 if Infected?

As a society, we are aware that smoking is essentially considered bad for our health, but what is the correlation between smoking and COVID-19? Nearly a year after the pandemic began more and more data has become available and the data is not favorable for smokers. This is because it has been found that smokers are at a higher risk for hospitalization and even death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has listed smokers as high-risk groups. 

Smokers Are High-Risk

Newer smokers were found to be less at risk than heavy smokers and previous smokers. Some studies found that those smokers who had quit also showed risk factors. People with a history of smoking had a 2.25 percent higher chance of being hospitalized for COVID-19. This may not sound like a high percentage but considering how dangerous COVID is even a small percentage is far too large to risk. 

Why are smokers at higher risk? The answer may be deeper than simply smoking. 

Typically, the smokers who had severe outcomes had underlying issues like hypertension and were older typically in their 70s. As we now know, high-risk groups include those with pre-existing conditions and older groups of people. So with this in mind, it is actually the smoking that makes you a high-risk patient. That is still up for debate, however, and more research needs to be done. 

COVID testing has become more widely available and it is the only surefire way to know if you have the virus. If you are showing symptoms possibly linked to the Coronavirus it may be time to seek COVID testing. 

Smoking And COVID-19 Symptoms

Researchers have found that smoking agitates COVID-19 symptoms because of its own disease-causing effects. Smoking is the leading cause of lung disease and COVID-19 attacks the respiratory system. It has been found that COVID-19 in smokers blocks the activity of the immune system Messner proteins called interferons. The interferons are critical for the body’s immune system response. They trigger infected cells to produce proteins to attack the virus. Smoking reduces interferon response in the airways. 

These lead to COVID symptoms being much worse in smokers. The research is focused on cigarette smoking and may not ring true in other types of smokers. If you are experiencing symptoms you will need to schedule COVID testing. The classic triad of symptoms is what smokers have been experiencing. The triad consists of cough, fever, and breathlessness. 

When to Seek Help

As a smoker, you may be shocked by the information that has come to light. Be sure to take precautions and stay safe. Stay six feet away from others, wear a mask and practice good hygiene. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you should seek COVID testing: 

  • fever
  • nausea
  • headache
  • vomiting
  • chills
  • shortness of breath
  • loss of taste
  • loss of smell

Schedule a COVID-19 Test at UrgentMED Today

If you test positive for COVID-19, you should quarantine immediately. High-risk groups should be especially careful and if symptoms worsen you should seek emergency medical attention. 

If you need COVID-19 testing, visit our website to see where one of our nearest locations is for you.