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COVID-19 & Celiac Disease

We understand there is a growing concern from Celiac’s everywhere in regards to the Coronavirus and how it can potentially affect us.

With Coronavirus (COVID-19) being a fairly new known virus affecting the lungs and airways, it is currently being stated that those at a higher risk are older adults and those with chronic medical conditions. This includes heart disease, diabetes and lung disease.

Are People with Celiac Disease at Higher Risk for Coronavirus?

Celiac Disease Research & Treatment centers are working diligently to determine the overall increased risk to those with Celiac Disease and the potential of contracting COVID-19.

The Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Celiac Research and Treatment, Dr. Alessio Fasano states:

“People with celiac disease are not considered immunocompromised, but may be more susceptible to COVID-19 if they have “active celiac disease.” Fasano continues with, “If celiac disease is well-treated then susceptibility is the same as in the general population.”

Columbia University’s Celiac Disease Center has received many queries concerning the risk of individuals with Celiac Disease and COVID-19 virus. At this time, they are stating there is no data concerning COVID-19 outcomes in Celiac Disease, but this is due to the lack of research and data.

Celiac Disease is a chronic medical condition that appears to increase the risk of infections with pneumococcal bacteria and an increased risk of worse outcome with influenza infections.

Those with Celiac Disease, especially older individuals, could potentially have a small increased risk of COVID-19 infection. It is recommended to follow the advice of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that’s been provided to the general population, including proper hygiene & hand washing, and practicing proper physical distancing.

In addition, it is important that those with Celiac Disease ensure they are current with vaccinations and have follow up medical care appropriate for the disease.

The Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University has initiated an international registry focused on coronavirus infection in celiac disease patients.

How to Prepare and Stay Safe from COVID-19

Due to individuals with Celiac Disease potentially having an increased risk of contracting COVID-19, it is recommended that you take extra precautions to stay safe.

Stock Up on Supplies

There is a growing concern for Celiac’s everywhere about maintaining a gluten free diet during these difficult times. Now is more important than ever to keep to your gluten free diet.

Strive to keep at minimum two full weeks of gluten free meals & food to avoid having to waver simply to eat.

Physical Distancing

This is being beat into our heads by everyone, everywhere. Take the necessary precautions to keep space between yourself and others.

It is recommended a minimum of 6 feet. Limit close contact and wash your hands often.

Keep Clean & Wash Your Hands

Washing your hands and avoiding touching your face is fundamental to avoiding contracting COVID-19. Wash your hands with antibacterial soap and water often. Every time you switch an activity, wash your hands for 20 seconds.

Sanitize Everything

We can’t yell this loud enough, sanitize, sanitize, sanitize. Anything coming into your home needs to be cleaned, including your groceries. This can be done using sanitization wipes, cleaners or soap and water. Fruit, vegetables, packaging, they can all be viable sources for COVID-19 transfer.

Review Product Labels

During pandemics, products may receive adjustments to ingredients used in making or production. It is important to be cautious and review product labels even on things that were once deemed safe. Access to certain ingredients may be limited, leaving companies in position of replacing, and adjusting their processes.

Stay Home

During a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, it is very important to stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed. This includes avoiding crowds and out of town travel. If others can assistance with collecting essential items, lean on them to do so.

COVID-19 Symptoms to Watch For

Concerned you may have COVID-19? Let’s just say, you are NOT the only person worried.

People may be sick with the virus for 1 to 14 days before developing symptoms. COVID-19 spreads primarily through contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze. It also spreads when a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth.

The most common listed symptoms of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. The more severe cases also commonly exhibit difficulty breathing. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment.

The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Fatigue

These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Seek medical advice if you develop symptoms, have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or live in an area with ongoing spread.

Frequently Asked COVID-19 Questions

Are people with celiac disease “immunocompromised” and thus at higher risk for coronavirus?

Those with Celiac Disease who are commonly healthy are not immunocompromised, meaning they are not at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19. However, those who are immunocompromised are less effective at fighting off germs like the flu and COVID-19, meaning their risk is greatly increased.

If you are taking corticosteroids and other immunosuppressant medications, you are at increased risk for coronavirus. These medications are often used to treat other autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, which those with celiac disease are at higher risk of also having. Speak to your doctor!

Does hand sanitizer contain gluten and is it safe for people with Celiac Disease?

Great news, MOST hand sanitizer is commonly gluten free and safe for those with Celiac Disease to use, but please read labels. As long as you do not apply it to an open wound and you’re taking care to not ingest it, hand sanitizer should be safe.

I have Celiac Disease and need to go see my doctor, should I?

Many appointments are being moved to prevent COVID-19 transmission, and if the appointment is not urgent, moving it may be the best idea for now. Speak to your doctor and see what they recommend for you at this time.

Looking for additional Gluten Free, Celiac Support

*Reminder - We are not health professionals. We are just individuals like you wanting to learn about Celiac Disease and sharing our research.