Countries all over the world are in high alert due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Various establishments and schools closed down, and governments issued stay at home orders to limit the spread of the disease. For people with Lyme disease, this can be an extremely stressful time as they are scrambling ways to protect themselves against the coronavirus.
Lyme disease and its accompanying co-infections can make your immune system more susceptible to catching contagious diseases. If you’re suffering from the devastating effects of Lyme disease, there are ways you can do to keep your health in good condition amidst the ongoing pandemic.
How Lyme Disease Increase People’s Risk On Contracting Coronavirus
Information about the COVID-19 and how it manifests in humans are still under study since it is a brand-new threat. Therefore, there is no definitive link that says people with Lyme disease are more at risk of the pandemic. Health professionals, however, do recognize that people with compromised immune systems are more likely to contract the virus.
Borrelia Burdorferi, the bacteria that generate Lyme disease, can impair certain aspects of your body’s natural resistance. The bacteria can take refuge in your body through the suppression of your antibodies. But, your immune system doesn’t entirely shut down. Your body will launch attacks continually to eradicate both Lyme disease and other “co-infections” microorganisms.
The low-level chronic inflammation burdens your immune system. It will have fewer resources to beat any new threats coming to your body. Your body’s immune response can eventually fail, leading to autoimmunity where your body will falsely attack itself.
This sequence of events can mean that your immune system, once infected, is less prepared to defend itself from the coronavirus. As of now, there are no known treatments and cures for the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, our immune system is our only guard to protect ourselves from it.
Protecting Yourself From COVID-19
If you have Lyme disease, you must remain alert at all times and follow the necessary precautions. Listed below are some of the things you can practice to protect yourself from catching the disease.
- Practicing social distancing prevents the spread of the disease. Avoid having close contact with people who are sick or who are around with people who are ill. Since people with no shown symptoms may still have the virus, do make sure that you’re six feet away (about two arms’ length) from other people. Social distancing is particularly crucial for people who are at higher risk of getting the virus.
- Don’t go outside frequently unless it’s necessary. Avoid joining mass gatherings or visiting crowded places.
- Clean your hands often with soap and warm water. Cover all surfaces of your hands and cleanse it for at least 20 seconds. If it’s not available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer. Before touching the pathways in your body where the virus can enter, such as your eyes, mouth, nose, and ears, ensure that your hands are clean.
- Disinfect the regularly touched objects and surfaces in your home. These objects can be the tables, chairs, doorknobs, remotes, toilets, sinks, or light switches in your household. And of course, the one you’re probably holding the most while in self-isolation, your cell phone or tablet. The coronavirus can stay and live on surfaces for up to three days.
According to Jill Carnahan, MD, one of the best ways to avoid coronavirus for those with Lyme disease is through “Minimizing inflammation that can further tax your immune system.” Some of the effective ways to reduce inflammation are the following:
- Eat anti-inflammatory foods such as fresh vegetables and fruits, high-quality protein, and healthy fats. Avoid eating sugar, simple carbs, or processed oils as it can elevate inflammation. The food you consume has a significant impact on the levels of the inflammation.
- Prioritize high-quality sleep, rest with a minimum of 7-8 hours each day. Sleeping on a comfortable mattress and pillows and keeping your room dark and cold allow you to have a relaxing nap.
- Emotional stress delivers hormones that add to the inflammation. Since stressors in your life can be unavoidable, you have to find healthy ways to cope with the weight you’re feeling. There are ways to manage your stress, such as exercising, meditating, journaling, or communicating with people closest to you. Moving your body can lower the inflammation in your system.
Whether there’s a pandemic or not, practicing these ways and minimizing inflammation can help you in coping with the stressful effects of Lyme disease. You can also support your immune system by taking antioxidants, immune-boosting supplements, and keeping your digestive tract healthy. Supporting your immune system will make you feel more lively and energetic as you go through this pandemic.