Autoimmunity in the time of Covid-19

I wrestled with myself for a while about writing anything on this topic. On the one hand, it feels a bit inane to write about anything else right now. On the other hand, I don’t want to appear as if I’m riding the Corona-wave to try to gain attention and hits on my blog.

But I reminded myself that when I started this blog, one of the primary objectives was to be a place where folks could learn about autoimmunity / Hashimoto’s, and to be a place where you could feel comfortable asking questions and adding your thoughts and experiences to the discussion.

So with that in mind, I asked myself how I – someone who is by no means an expert in infectious disease, or even autoimmunity, someone who is just a woman with Hashimoto’s trying to find my way to health and vitality – could add something positive or helpful at this moment in time.

So, I thought I would share what I know, share the resources I’ve found useful, and share honestly what I’m doing at this time.

The big question: Does having an Autoimmune disease make me immunocompromised? Am I more at risk?

The short answer – from what I have learned and understood – is “mostly no.”

My understanding is that having autoimmune disease generally means your immune system is already amplified. We’re generally advised NOT to take supplements or treatments that are meant to boost the immune system further, because it can lead to more damage to the systems and organs that are under attack, and a flare-up in symptoms.

BUT those folks who have very amplified immune systems may be taking immune suppressing drugs, and this could make them more vulnerable to catching infection. So that’s where the risk comes in.

What I am doing

I personally am not taking immune supressing drugs, so I do not feel more at risk that anyone else, and perhaps less so since theoretically I have a boosted immune system.

So, the precautions I’m taking to avoid catching or spreading Covid-19 are just to follow the WHO / CDC / Health officials recommendations, primarily:

  • Social distancing;
  • Washing my hands a lot;
  • When out, I’m taking our small supply of disinfectant wipes with me and wiping whatever surfaces I must touch as well as my own hands before and after.

However, I also want to minimize any autoimmune flare-ups at this time as well, so other steps that I am taking include:

  • Trying to manage/reduce my stress as much as possible, since stress exacerbates my symptoms big-time. I’m doing this by:
    • Sleeping more than usual (SO nice to get up when I wake up and not because the alarm tells me to);
    • Not overexposing myself to scary news on my social feeds; spending more of my reading time on educational material, and spiritually encouraging material;
Social distancing in the wild!
  • Taking this time as an opportunity to do many of the things that the usual pace of life tends to get in the way of, like baking, crafts, reading, organizing some of my household space, playing games and watching movies with the family, and watching some shows that have been on my “must watch” list for a long time.
  • Keeping in touch and reconnecting with friends and family.

  • Eating nutrient dense foods, staying gluten-free.
  • Getting light to moderate exercise.
  • Getting outside for a little bit each day.

Resources

Check out my compilation of articles and tweets related to Autoimmunity and Covid-19. Right now, I’ve only got a few things posted, but I will be adding to this as I come across good resources, so check back now and again.

If you’ve come across some good material, please feel free to post it in the comments.

For now, I’ll leave you with this beautiful poem that has been making the rounds on social media. I don’t know who Kitty O’Meara is and nothing conclusive was found with a quick google search, but I love the sentiment and hope if anything good could come from this situation, this could be it:

“And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply.

Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.

And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.

And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.”

~Kitty O’Meara

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