The outbreak of novel coronavirus – a virus that causes respiratory symptoms – has a lot of Canadians with asthma worried.

Asthma is already a disease that can cause trouble breathing, and catching the virus could make things worse, experts warn.

Around 3.8 million Canadians have asthma, according to Asthma Canada.

Having asthma doesn’t put someone at greater risk of catching the novel coronavirus though.

“At this time, there’s no data to suggest that people with asthma are more likely to contract COVID-19,” said Vanessa Foran, CEO and president of Asthma Canada.

“They’re not more at risk for catching COVID-19,” agreed Dr. Shawn Aaron, a respirologist at the Ottawa Hospital and spokesperson for the Canadian Lung Association.

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“The risk for actually contracting the infection is the same as anyone else.”

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However, he said, “If they do get the infection, there is somewhat more risk that the infection may be severe and may tend to ultimately lead to hospitalization compared to the average person with COVID-19.”

“These people have underlying lung disease and if their lung function is already somewhat compromised because of the asthma,