The Risks of COVID-19 for Those with Autoimmune Disorders
As the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s become clear that certain groups of people are more vulnerable to the virus than others. This includes people with autoimmune disorders, who may be at an increased risk of severe COVID-19 symptoms and complications. Here’s what you need to know about the risks of COVID-19 for those with autoimmune disorders.
What are autoimmune disorders?
Autoimmune disorders occur when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells and tissues in the body. This can cause a range of symptoms and health problems, depending on the specific disorder. Some common autoimmune disorders include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, and type 1 diabetes.
Why are people with autoimmune disorders at risk for COVID-19?
People with autoimmune disorders may be at a higher risk for COVID-19 for a few different reasons. First, some treatments for autoimmune disorders, such as corticosteroids and other immunosuppressive medications, can weaken the immune system and make it harder for the body to fight off infections. This means that people with autoimmune disorders who are taking these medications may be more susceptible to COVID-19.
In addition, autoimmune disorders themselves can cause inflammation and damage to the lungs, heart, and other organs, which may increase the risk of severe COVID-19 symptoms and complications. This is especially true for people with autoimmune disorders that affect the lungs, such as interstitial lung disease.
Finally, people with autoimmune disorders may also be at a higher risk of complications if they do contract COVID-19. This is because their immune systems may be less able to mount an effective response to the virus, which can lead to more severe illness.
What can people with autoimmune disorders do to protect themselves from COVID-19?
If you have an autoimmune disorder, it’s important to take steps to protect yourself from COVID-19. This includes:
– Following public health guidelines for COVID-19 prevention, such as wearing a mask, practicing good hand hygiene, and social distancing
– Talking to your doctor about your risk of COVID-19 and any medications you’re taking that may affect your immune system
– Being extra cautious about avoiding close contact with people who may have COVID-19, such as by avoiding crowded places
– Ensuring you have an adequate supply of any medications you need to manage your autoimmune disorder, in case there are disrupted supply chains or shortages due to the pandemic
– Staying in touch with your doctor and seeking medical care promptly if you develop any symptoms of COVID-19 or have concerns about your health.
In summary, people with autoimmune disorders may be at an increased risk for severe COVID-19 symptoms and complications. It’s important for people with these conditions to take extra precautions to protect themselves from the virus and to stay in close communication with their doctors about their health during this uncertain time.