By Allergen Bureau

How do COVID-19 lockdowns impact people with allergy?

While we’re not completely sure of the connection between mental health and allergies, associations have been shown between allergic conditions and anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Given the increased stresses of the past 12 months, researchers have sought to identify psychological impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic for people with allergic diseases.

A cross-sectional survey was carried out in Mexico with over 4,100 participants, from April 1 to 15, 2020 during a period in which the country was entering phase 3 of the pandemic response and most of America was under quarantine. Forty per cent of respondents were living with allergic disease while the remainder comprised the control group. Those with allergies were divided into subgroups of those with conditions affecting the respiratory system, such as allergic rhinitis and asthma, for comparison with those with non-respiratory allergies, such as drug and food allergy, urticarial, and atopic dermatitis.

People living with allergies reported higher scores than their non-allergic counterparts regarding symptoms of PTSD; they also had higher depression risk scores. Those with respiratory allergies had a higher risk of depression symptoms compared to those with non-respiratory allergies. Further insights from the study can be found in the Open Access publication in the World Allergy Organization Journal.

The study authors hope the results will help clinicians acknowledge how the additional stresses brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic are affecting people with allergies and, in-turn, enable better clinical support and care to improve a patient’s overall well-being.

Reference: Gonzalez-Diaz et al. 2021. World Allergy Organization Journal. DOI: 10.1016/j.waojou.2021.100510