I was talking to a friend of mine today with a medically fragile child. She is understandably scared of her daughter getting Covid19. She was going through the list of procedures that she is going to through after being in public to protect her child from a virus that can literally be anywhere. Then I had an idea – it is similar to those of us with celiac disease and gluten.
With celiac, we are used to being outsiders in a world that is not set up to handle our food needs fighting an almost invisible enemy that is everywhere – gluten. With Covid19, we are currently fighting an invisible enemy that is everywhere.
The Covid19 virus is rapidly spreading through communities. Most people aren’t sure where they are picking up the virus anymore. They could get it from a door knob, shopping cart handle, or virtually anywhere. They took all the right precautions, like social distancing and hand washing but are still getting sick. Sometimes we get glutened and we don’t know how. We felt like we took all the right precautions and still got sick. We talk to servers and request gluten free menus, and ask all the right questions. Yet we still get sick.
Some people say we are overprotective and that a little gluten won’t hurt. We know that’s not true, but we hear it a lot. Now the answer is that a little bit of coronavirus won’t hurt either.
For most of those with celiac, getting glutened is not fatal. It is just a part of life that we live with. For most getting the Covid19 virus won’t be fatal, it might just be a part of life we have to live with moving forward.
Getting diagnosed as an older adult puts people more at risk of dying from the disease. Often times people diagnosed after 60 have other associated celiac illnesses, like osteoporosis, a colon cancer, or worst case EATL. Maybe the celiac didn’t kill them, but it made them sicker than they should be. Same with Covid19, the fatality rate is significantly higher for those over 70. The virus doesn’t kill them, it’s the associated pneumonia.
The first signs of Covid19 and celiac disease are gastrointestinal distress. The gastrointestinal distress isn’t all the time in either disease, but it is in a large portion of patients.
Covid19 and celiac disease are diseases of the T-Cells releasing a significant number of cytokines. In celiac, this cytokine release causes nausea, vomiting, and damage to the small intestine. In Covid19, this cytokine release causes fever, dry cough, and potentially pneumonia.
I’m sure there are more, I just can’t think of any. This is a little bit tongue in cheek and a little bit of reality. I feel like most of the public health guidelines for staying safe are already implemented in a large way in our house. Wash your hands before eating because they might have gluten on them. Put dishes and silverware in the dishwasher after using because they may have been cross contaminated. Now put them in the dishwasher because you might have Covid19 and it might have gluten on it. We are used to being sick for an unknown reason and fighting an invisible enemy. That’s just how I saw it.
Let me know if you see any more similarities between Covid19 and celiac.
Covid19 is very serious. Please stay safe out there. Wash your hands, implement social distancing, and follow the directions of your public health officials regarding additional steps to prevent the spread of Covid19.