As the number of COVID-19 cases grow, hospitals throughout the US are reporting shortages of albuterol, a life saving medication for asthma sufferers.

These inhalers have suddenly become a first line of defense for emergency room physicians treating patients who possibly have COVID-19 and are in respiratory distress. In the wake of this massive shift in demand, pharmacists and emergency room physicians from across the country are seeing shortages, the American Pharmacists Association confirmed to ABC News.

“We are deeply concerned about the albuterol inhaler shortage, as it is now being widely used to treat COVID-19 breathing issues,” the American Pharmacists Association’s Ilisa Bernstein told ABC News. “Patients, young and old, have long relied on albuterol inhalers for asthma and other breathing disorders. It’s important for asthmatic patients to have these inhalers on-hand to manage sudden onset of symptoms.”