Are seasonal and food allergies a risk factor for severe COVID-19 cases?

April 10, 2020

As we continue to confront the COVID-19 pandemic, the allergy season is now underway. Medical experts believe environmental allergens like grass and tree pollen may make your respiratory system more fragile, suppressing your immune system and making it easier to catch COVID-19 or increasing the severity of the virus's symptoms and impact on your health. 

As noted by Dr. Lakiea Wright, a specialist in allergies and immunology at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, “when you have allergies, there's inflammation. You inhale your allergen, say pollen, through your nose. And that's why you have nasal itching, runny nose and watery, itchy eyes," she said. "That creates a lot of inflammation that can weaken your body's barriers, and it might be easier for viruses to come in." As we have come to learn, those individuals with chronic health conditions and compromised immune systems due to inflammation are at higher risk for severe COVID-19 infections. 

At Flow Health, we offer Allergen360, a proprietary laboratory test for environmental and food allergens. It not only measures IgE, an antibody produced by the immune system generally in response to allergen exposures, but also measures IgG4, an antibody that may be produced and help your immune system block IgE antibodies from causing symptoms. 

Knowing what you are allergic to can help you avoid environmental (or dietary) triggers that cause inflammation and thus weaken your immune system and ability to fight off COVID-19. If you are experiencing seasonal allergies (symptoms without a fever), or even if you do have a fever and experiencing classic seasonal allergy symptoms such as itchy eyes, itchy nose, and/or sneezing - speak with your doctor about getting an Allergen360 or different allergy lab test. 

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