Though anyone can develop a COVID-19 infection if they are exposed to Coronavirus, health officials stress that some groups of people — namely the elderly and those with underlying health issues — are at greater risk for severe infection if they should contract the virus.
Lyme disease patients would be included in the “underlying disease” category. Over 300,000 Americans are diagnosed with Lyme disease every year, particularly during the summer months.
These patients could be adversely impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic in the U.S.
Following are some FAQ’s about Lyme disease and how COVID-19 can potentially affect Lyme disease patients.
Q: Why are Lyme disease patients considered to be at higher risk? A: Patients who have Lyme disease have a severely impacted immune system. A big component of Lyme disease is a hyperactive immune system that is always in a state of inflammation.
The coronavirus turns our own immune system against us. It activates our immune system to over-produce different cytokines, which further activates the immune system. Coronavirus causes a cytokine storm and overproduction of cytokine, causing much of the damage we see in coronavirus patients, such as lung damage and pneumonia. The inflammation could be a component of the cardiovascular and neurological dysfunction, such as headaches and other neurological manifestations that we see in coronavirus patients as well.
Lyme disease patients are faced with similar neurological symptoms, like coronavirus patients, such as pain, headaches, and brain. People who have Lyme disease are more susceptible because of their inability to fight off disease. Their immunity isn’t as strong in killing viruses and microbes. People with Lyme disease are at a greater risk of incidence and severity of coronavirus.
Q: What concerns do you have as tick season ramps up, coinciding with the ongoing coronavirus epidemic? A: We have to be very vigilant this tick season to prevent Lyme disease; more so than any other year. We also have to take a more proactive stance in our treatment and prevention of coronavirus. In addition to wearing masks and tracking the virus, there is a whole area of medicine that is not being seen. There are many natural compounds that have been shown to help coronaviruses.
Q: What can be done to support those with Lyme disease at this time? A: With Lyme disease, you’re not just dealing with an imbalanced and overactive immune system, but there are also other unhealthy systems in the body. You need to work on all aspects of overall health. One way to support good health is to improve the gut microbiome, which plays a profound role in keeping the gut and immune system healthy. It’s important to test vitamin levels and identify deficiencies, as so many people have deficiencies and don’t realize it. It’s essential to test vitamin D levels and take a supplement if you’re suffering from a deficiency. Lower vitamin D levels have been associated with greater likelihood of developing Coronavirus.
Blood tests measure the baseline levels of cytokines to see who is at risk.
Q: What are some supplements you generally recommend for immunity? A: Zinc and quercetin in combination have and anti-inflammatory and antiviral effect. Vitamin C has been proven to have a positive effect on Coronavirus patients as well – both orally and intravenously.