The corona virus and food intolerances

The corona virus SARS-CoV-2 has been underestimated for a long time and has changed the world as we know it with breathtaking speed. Drastic measurements have to be taken to contain the spread of the disease. Now many of our users feel insecure and want to know whether they have to fear a more severe course of the disease.


Although there are still major knowledge gaps regarding the virus and many uncertainties remain, several risk factors for a more severe course of disease have been identified so far according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ecdc):
  • hypertension
  • diabetes
  • cardiovascular disease
  • chronic respiratory disease
  • immune compromised status
  • cancer
  • obesity
To date, neither allergies nor food intolerances are considered to be risk factors. Allergies are mostly caused by an overreacting immune system and not by a weakened immune system, which is considered to be a risk factor. Nevertheless, you should check the pages of the ECDC, the CDC, or other national health agencies regularly, because there may be new insights over time.

No increased corona risk for people with pollen allergies

According to the European Centre for Allergy Research Foundation (ECARF), people who suffer from pollen allergies don't have a higher risk for a more severe course of the disease either, but in cases that require medication it is highly recommend to maintain or resume your current treatment.

Asthmatics should know that the virus can exacerbate complaints and trigger attacks, even when there haven't been any symptoms for a longer period of time. Affected individuals who paused their long-term therapy should contact their pulmonologist and resume their treatment.

Emergency medication should be on hand, even if it hasn't been needed for years, and you should make sure that it is not past its expiration date. But don't worry: According to the latest data, properly medicated asthmatics don't have an increased mortality risk in comparison to other patients in the same age range (source The Guardian).

If you smoke, quitting is probably the most effective single measure you can take in order to decrease the risk. Don't underestimate the damage passive smoking can cause either.

Precautionary measures

Stay up-to-date with the current situation, so you're always informed about the newest measures and developments.

And although younger people (under 50 years old) experience far less complications than elderly people, you should be prepared just in case you need medical attention:
  • Have your medical records ready.
  • Familiarize a family member or a close friend with your medical history.
  • Designate a health care proxy.
  • If you consider yourself as a risk patient, combine several small purchases into one large purchase in order to minimize social contacts.
  • If you have to follow a highly restricted diet or need special food items keep a stock of suitable foods. Although there is no general risk of food shortages, it doesn't mean that special items won't be out of stock.
  • If you suffer from pollen allergy regularly consult a pollen calendar to minimize stress while you are sick.
  • Keep a stock of essential medicines, so that you don't have to buy them when you are actually sick.
If you experience symptoms such as shortage of breath, a dry cough or a fever, make sure to contact the emergeny number in time. The loss of your sense of smell and taste may also be an early sign of infection. If you belong to a risk group and notice a sudden change to that effect, make sure to get tested for COVID-19.

Where can I get information about COVID-19?

Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation and uncertainty about the disease out there, and it is more important than ever to identify reliable sources. At the moment, many laymen are interpreting complicated medical studies and the press is leaping from one dramatic headline to the next. We will try to provide some reliable sources of information instead.

We have a high opinion of the German virologist Drosten, who regularly takes part in an easy to understand podcast and explains current developments in plain and comprehensive terms. English subtitles can be generated with the video player controls.


The heavy burden COVID-19 puts on health systems will definitely have a negative impact on the diagnosis and treatment of people with severe food intolerances. A high proportion of the clinical capacities will be needed to care for corona patients at risk and many treatments deemed as "unneccesary" will have to be postponed. At the same time, many people avoid going to the doctor, because they are afraid to get infected by the corona virus. The situation is likely to remain difficult for months to come.

For this reason, you should follow the general rules of hygiene and social distancing as closely as possible. But even if you belong to a risk group (e.g. cardiovascular diseases), do not unnecessarily delay visits to the doctor! Finally, stay calm and don't let the panic get to you, but also make certain arrangements so you're prepared should the need arise.

Why do we care so much about this topic?

We have been developing our price-winning "Food Intolerances" app since 2011 and we are happy to share our knowledge with you. Check it out:

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