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Food allergies may be correlated with lower COVID-19 infection risk

Food allergies may prevent you from enjoying certain foods, but they could also prevent you from catching COVID-19

SHARE Food allergies may be correlated with lower COVID-19 infection risk
An illustration for the omicron variant.

Illustration by Alex Cochan, Deseret News

A study funded by the National Institutes of Health found that people with food allergies are at a lower risk of COVID-19 infection.

Researchers concluded that food allergies, diagnosed by a doctor, could reduce risk of COVID-19 infection by about half, according to CBS 8 in San Diego.

Does asthma increase risk of COVID-19? “Asthma does not increase risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Food allergy is associated with lower infection risk, while BMI is associated with increased infection risk,” said reporting on the study from Fox 9 in Minnesota. “Understanding how these factors modify infection risk may offer new avenues for infection prevention.”

Participants: The study included over 4,000 people in 1,400 households that had at least one person under the age of 21.

  • Research took place in over 12 U.S. cities between May 2020 and February 2021, before vaccines had rolled out to the majority of the country.

Children and COVID-19: Children under the ages of 12 are just as likely to become infected with COVID-19 as teenagers and adults are, the study reported.

  • However, it was noted that 75% of children with COVID-19 were asymptomatic.
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci commented on the study, saying that the findings “underscore the importance of vaccinating children and implementing other public health measures to prevent them from becoming infected with SARS-CoV-2, thus protecting both children and vulnerable members of their household from the virus,” per NIH.

How do allergies fight against COVID-19? One of the researchers of the study explained how type 2 inflammation, a characteristic of allergies, reduces a protein found on the surface, or receptors of airway cells, according to Fox 9.

  • “SARS-CoV-2 uses this receptor to enter cells, so its scarcity could limit the virus’ ability to infect them. Differences in risk behaviors among people with food allergy, such as eating out at restaurants less often, also could explain the lower infection risk for this group,” NIH said, per Fox 9.