Allergic Disease Does Not Affect COVID-19 Severity in Hospitalized Patients

A history of allergies did not appear to worsen outcomes among 275 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, according to a study presented at the virtual 2020 American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology Annual Scientific Meeting.

“Over the 2-month period when we examined the charts, we found the severity of disease didn’t seem to differ between COVID-19 patients with allergies versus COVID-19 patients without allergies,” said allergist Dylan Timberlake, MD, who was the lead author of the study.

To determine COVID-19 severity, the researchers considered factors such as intensive care unit (ICU) admission, length of stay, the need for supplemental oxygen, and intubation. Among hospitalized patients with COVID-19, 43% of those with allergic disease required ICU care compared with 45% of patients without allergic disease. Supplemental oxygen was required for 79% of patients with, and 74% without, allergic conditions.

“In looking at the outcomes for patients based on allergic diseases, such as allergic rhinitis, asthma, eczema, and food allergy, we didn’t find significant differences in the numbers of interventions needed for those with allergies versus those without when it came to COVID-19,” said allergist and study coauthor Mitchell Grayson, MD.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a known risk factor for severe COVID-19, affected more patients with allergies (39%) than patients without allergies (17%) in the study. But after statistically controlling for COPD and its link to more severe COVID-19, the researchers found a statistical trend that suggested protection in patients with preexisting allergic disease—though not asthma.

—Jolynn Tumolo


With or without allergies, outcomes similar for hospitalized patients with COVID-19. News release. Arlington Heights, Illinois: American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology; November 13, 2020.