Are you allergic? So be happy… because your chances of getting infected with covid are less.
Are you allergic – In order to effectively combat covid, it is important for you to know which people may be more at risk of getting infected and developing more serious disease. For this, scientists and physicians have established several risk factors for suffering from serious illness with covid 19, including old age, obesity and several underlying health conditions.
Higher body mass index also appears to be associated with increased odds of getting infected with covid in the first place, but what are the factors that can reduce one’s chances of getting infected with covid? Interestingly, research shows that having allergies can reduce one’s risk of becoming infected with COVID.
Allergies are very common. At least 400 million people around the world are affected by allergy, or fever, caused by touching something. About 300 million people suffer from allergic asthma (respiratory allergies), while food allergies affect about 250 million people.
Many people are also allergic to certain medicines. Allergic reactions can range from mild (perhaps some redness and swelling on the skin) to severe (anaphylactic shock, which can cause death).
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Atopic disease is the name given to a group of conditions caused by allergies and includes fever, eczema and dermatitis. Research has shown that people with atopic diseases are 25% less likely to be exposed to COVID.
People with atopic disease and asthma, the risk of covid is 38% lower than in people without these conditions. A separate study showed that people with food allergies were 50% less likely to be infected with covid.
Why are people with allergies less at risk? Initially we thought that people with allergies may be less likely to get COVID as they may be more isolated from others. This may be true for asthma as people with this condition were previously advised to be protected from epidemics.
But the same cannot be said for most atopic diseases, such as eczema. And can you expect people with food allergies to eat less, research during the pandemic has shown that households with food allergies had slightly lower levels of COVID risk in the community than other homes.
To be able to infect the body, SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) binds to a specific protein called the ACE2 receptor. This protein provides the entry point for the virus to infect a wide range of human cells.
Having a high concentration of ACE2 receptors increases the susceptibility to covid infection. People who smoke, have diabetes or high blood pressure (all of which are associated with a higher chance of severe COVID) tend to have more ACE2 receptors.
Meanwhile, it has been observed that type 2 inflammation – a normal immune response that can occur when exposed to infection or parasites, but also predominately in allergic conditions – reduces ACE2 in the airways. It reduces susceptibility to infection, and is thought to be the primary reason why people with allergies have a lower risk of getting COVID.
There are also several other factors that may contribute to a reduced risk of covid infection in people with allergies. For example, people with asthma tend to produce more mucus than others, which is known to cause SARS-CoV-2 in the airways. It is considered important to prevent entry in.
That’s why we see a low risk of getting Covid in people suffering from allergies and asthma. But how do these conditions affect the severity of a COVID infection? At the start of the pandemic, it was believed that people with asthma may be at higher risk of becoming very ill from COVID, as viral infections usually exacerbate asthma.
But it is now well established that mild or well controlled asthma does not increase the risk of severe disease with covid. And there is also no evidence that more severe asthma increases the risk.
Similarly, atopic disease is not considered a risk factor for severe covid. If you suffer from other diseases along with asthma or allergies, it is important to know that this can increase the severity of COVID.
Prevention is very important. The best ways to prevent covid infection include vaccination, covering the face with a properly fitting mask and maintaining physical distance. Meanwhile, if you have allergies, it needs to be managed.
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