I knew it was sexy to have eczema, allergies and asthma. I knew it was my superpower to have an immune system that was on hyper lookout. Being a superhero can be life threatening in certain circumstances, like coming into contact with an allergen, but it could be protective in other situations, like the Covid virus!
Check out this article from The School of Medicine and Public Health in Wisconsin in the US, Respiratory allergies and allergic asthma may have protective mechanism in Covid-19.
There I was shielding in the early stages of lockdown, on advice from my doctor and later on being told it was ‘probably safe’ for me to venture out if I was careful and that I didn’t have a higher risk because of having asthma. With no real evidence for either course of action I remained very nervous of mixing and did most of my shopping online and relied on the kindness of friends, neighbours and family.
Not a bad thing anyway, I stayed safe and as far as I know didn’t even come into contact with anyone who had the virus, let alone catch it.
You can read my blog about Covid-19 vaccine, anxiety and my skin, where I discuss my fears of having anaphylaxis or a skin flare up after having the covid vaccine.
Atopic patients are having better outcomes to Covid
The cells in our body react to viruses and our immune response is what eventually helps the body overcome the virus. People with eczema have more pathogens on their skin, making them more inflammatory, the redness, itching, swelling and pain is caused by TCells which release cytokines. These are little messengers which travel around the body communicing how the body should respond.
People with eczema remain on high alert and in an inflammatory state. They somehow produce more Ige antibodies and receptors. It makes people more prone to allergic reactions but something interesting happens with Covid.
Watch the video, Carolyn can explain it way better than me.
Basically Covid binds to the ace2 receptors which are in short supply for people with atopic conditions. It makes it hard for Covid to replicate.
For once having eczema looks like it has a benefit to you from the point of view of Covid!
Eczema patients are 3 times more likely to have no or mild symptoms to Covid!
Also boost your Vitamin D as this will help.
This makes me much less anxious.
Follow the Eczema Channel on YouTube for more fascinating insights.
Remain careful, vigilant and responsible
This new research won’t make me complacent. I won’t be rushing out and being careless but it does take away some of my deep fear, that I will react really badly and also that if I did get ill I would need steroids to save me, which could put me back into the worst of topical steroid withdrawal.
I also have a terrible fear of hospitals, that they’ll give me something that will give me allergic reaction. I have had two unexplained anaphylactic reactions in hospital due to something in drips that has never been explained. I also fear the food because hospital food is not great if you have allergies.
I have been double vaccinated though so I do feel much safer, knowing that the likelihood will be that I’ll get some protection from that also and would not get so ill.
“Respiratory allergy, asthma and controlled allergen exposure were associated with significantly reduced gene expression in a protein that the coronavirus uses to infect cells with COVID-19.”
University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.
Allergen exposure leads to significant reduction in Covid virus symptoms
The study, published online April 22 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, suggests a possible reason why people with respiratory allergy and asthma do not seem to experience some of the more severe and life-threatening manifestations of the COVID-19 disease.
Researchers used data from three different cohorts of children and adults to determine whether asthma and respiratory allergy are associated with reduced ACE2 expression in airway cells. In all three studies, total RNA was extracted from nasal or lower airway samples. Within the cohort of children (n=318), moderate and high levels of allergy were associated with progressively greater reductions in ACE2 expression. Children with high levels of allergy and asthma had the lowest ACE2 expression. In the adult cohorts (n=47), allergen exposure led to significant reductions in ACE2 expression as well.
What do you think about this research? Does it make sense?
Having allergies and allergic asthma protects us from Covid-19
I think it’s amazing to think that having allergies and allergic asthma could actually protect you from getting the covid virus.
Does it make you feel any safer?
Obviously the virus can still be passed on even if one isn’t unwell so caution and safety must always be followed. But I now feel much safer and Just a little bit smug that for once my allergies and asthma make me a little bit special, and little bit safer.
For once it’s cool to have allergies and asthma. I bet you now wish you did too!
Jacquie Broadway says
Very very interesting Ruth, thank you. Your reaction to drips in hospital was probably due to an allergy to corn from which dextrose is made. My father nearly died after a routine hernia operation reacting violently to the drip. His repair disintegrated and the whole repair had to be done again, this time he had salts. It has been round my wrist ever since and I have survived 2 new hips on salts.. I am stuck with the vaccine because I react to the flu jab so no hope with the Covid. I have asked for a skin test but been refused so hope my acute air born allergies carry me through. xx Jacquie
Ruth Holroyd says
Hi Jacquie, Thanks for your lovely comment and I hope you atopic tendencies do indeed carry you this and many more viruses. I’m not sure about the hospital reactions because I don’t think I’m allergic to corn, I can eat corn flour and sweetcorn. I wonder whether that was caused by latex, even though it was on my notes, I suspect they overlooked something but would never admit it. You just want to know what causes something though don’t you?