Questions & Answers
Do persons suffering allergies have a higher risk to develop severe COVID-19?
A large proportion of the population (up to 15-20%) reports seasonal symptoms related to pollen, the most common of which include itchy eyes, nasal congestion, runny nose and sometimes wheezing and skin rash. All these symptoms are usually referred to as hay fever, pollen allergy or more appropriately allergic rhinitis. Allergic rhinitis is commonly associated with allergic asthma in children and adults.
Allergies, including mild allergic asthma, have not been identified as a major risk factor for SARS-CoV-2 infection or for a more unfavourable outcome in the studies available so far. Moderate to severe asthma on the other hand, where patients need treatment daily, is included in the chronic lung conditions that predispose to severe disease.
Children and adults on maintenance medication for allergies (e.g. leukotriene inhibitors, inhaled corticosteroids and/or bronchodilators) need to continue their treatment as prescribed by their doctor and should not discontinue their medication due to fears of COVID 19. If they develop symptoms compatible with COVID-19, they will need to self-isolate, inform their doctor and monitor their health as everyone else. If progressive difficulty breathing develops, they should seek prompt medical assistance.