This is in no way to be taken as medical advice, but rather information that can be used to discuss options with your doctor. Always seek medical advice before trying something new for your health.
You may be thinking if I have thyroid disease, am I immunocompromised or at greater risk to have a worse experience with COVID-19. Me too so I put together some resources for us thyroid warriors to help ease our anxiety. Right now the most important thing is being with family and loving them, not worrying about the worst-case scenarios.
Finding The Right Information
First, you need to ensure you are digesting the right information. I listen to the same trusted professionals that helped me discover that I had thyroid disease. I also really like the medical professionals that Joe Rogan has had on his podcast. Not all news is created equal so be careful what you listen to.
How Can COVID Spread?
At this time it is known that COVID spreads through cough droplets as you would see with other viruses like the flu (1). Medical experts do not know if anyone has tested positive with COVID that got the virus from packages or handling groceries but I think it is better to error on the safe side (1).
Are those with Thyroid Disease at greater risk?
According to the British Thyroid Foundation, having thyroid disease is not known to be at an increased risk of viral infections (1). Also, having thyroid disease does not categorize you as immunocompromised (1). Basically, the part of your body responsible for regulating your thyroid is not related to fighting infections (1).
Who is at an increased risk?
Immunocompromised is someone like my mom that has pancreatic cancer undergoing chemotherapy. Other conditions include diabetes, AIDS, other cancers, and people taking medications that lower your immune system (1).
How can you strengthen your immune system?
So let me say if you have an autoimmune condition, you should be trying everything to strengthen your immune system. Why not? We all should want to live healthier and happier lives.
I don’t know about you but I hate going through thyroid flare-ups. I can’t imagine anyone loves being in pain and feeling like crap. Here is a list of good tips to help you build up your immune system:
Get plenty of sleep. Lack of sleep has been shown in medical studies to increase diseases such as depression, anxiety, and cardiovascular issues to name a few (2).
Also, lack of sleep is associated with obesity that has been shown to not be good if you contract COVID-19 (1,3). One reason New Orleans is seeing higher numbers is that they have a higher population of people that are obese, diabetic, or have hypertension (3). Next time you decide to reach for ice cream, think again and try to make a healthier treat like frozen bananas.
Optimize your vitamins
What I mean by this is to make sure you are taking your vitamins and that you are on the right dose. There are some vitamins you do not want to take too much of like Vitamin D. Work with your doctor to ensure you are aiming for your sweet spot.
Wash your hands and just have good hygiene. I am in the hospital a lot with my mom because she cannot drive herself. I take her about once a week to her chemo treatments and other testing she needs to have done.
Ways I practice good hygiene when I am out in public, not just for myself but for those with compromised immune systems, include: wearing a mask, being very careful using the restroom, wash hands often for 2 minutes and get underneath my fingernails, and limit what I touch with my hands. Another thing I do is carry Clorox wipes and clean everything around me and my mom.
Exercise if you can but don’t over do it.
Here are some ideas:
- Family walks or walk by yourself to clear your mind
- Ride a bike
- Hopscotch with your kiddos
- Play with your dogs
- Mow the lawn
- Clean the house
- Run up and down the stairs
- Take a hike
- Throw an at-home dance party
- Lift weights
- Stretch (very important!)
- Virtual yoga
- Jump rope
These are all great ideas that will get you moving.
Drink plenty of water. I have a huge water bottle and I aim to drink 2 a day. Any more and I pee all night! If you are not sure how much water you should be drinking, ensure you talk to your doctor.
Eat nutritious meals
Make sure you are eating the color of the rainbow. I always like to make my dinners colorful by adding carrots, greens, or corn. You can also cut up colored bell peppers and cook them up with your main dish. Your family can make it a game and count all the colors you eat throughout the day.
Watch Sugar Intake
Avoid sugar because it is not good for your immune system.
Check out my article on Low Dose Naltrexone. According to lowdosenaltrexone.org, trials are underway to see if it is a medicine that can help fight COVID-19 (4).
Stop or limit alcohol. I do not drink and I know I feel better because of it. If you have a problem with drinking, read my article on addiction and get help.
COVID-19 can attack your lungs and if you are smoking, you are not putting yourself in a good position to live if you contract the virus. If COVID-19 does not scare you then keep smoking and see what happens.
Worrying about what would happen is going to increase stress and the chances of you getting sick. Be present and enjoy this time with your family.
To make sure you are reading the right information, ensure you visit these sites:
- World Health Organization – Advice for the public
- Centers For Disease Control – COVID-19
- World Obesity – COVID-19
- American Thyroid Association – COVID-19
- Society For Endocrinology – COVID-19
If you have other resources, leave them below to help our thyroid community!