A recent study conducted in the UK suggests that the overactive immune system associated with allergic diseases such as asthma and hay fever may have a positive side-effect in the form of greater protection from COVID-19 in the initial stages.
The 10-month study, involving around 15,000 people, was carried out between May 2020 and February of this year, and checked how many, and what kind of, respondents ended up getting COVID during the period.
The authors asked participants to provide information about their age, household circumstances, job, lifestyle, weight, height, longstanding medical conditions, medication use, vaccination status and diet and supplement intake upon enrollment in the study in an online questionnaire.
15,227 people, with the majority women and nearly 95% who identified their ethnic origin as White filled out at least one follow-up questionnaire and 14,348 people completed the final questionnaire. The average age of the participants was 59.
In total, 446 cases of coronavirus were recorded, or nearly 3% of participants. Thirty-two people were admitted to the hospital. Those with atopic diseases like eczema and those with hay fever or rhinitis had a 23% lower risk of contracting the disease.
Including people who suffer from asthma, there was a 38% lower risk of infection, even after accounting for the use of steroid inhalers. Contrary to past studies, the researchers found that older age, male sex and other underlying conditions were not linked to a higher risk of infection.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: EVERYDAY HEALTH
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