Updated: March 31, 2020
The coronavirus (COVID-19) is dominating the news the past few weeks as more cases are being reported around the world. We reached out to one of our medical advisers to ask whether individuals affected by ectodermal dysplasias have any special considerations to take in regard to the virus. Here’s what we learned about coronavirus and ectodermal dysplasias.
After careful review of the literature related to ectodermal dysplasias, respiratory disease and COVID-19, there is no available study to assess specific risks of COVID-19 in individuals affected by ectodermal dysplasia syndromes.
The medical literature documents abnormalities of respiratory mucous production in individuals with hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia (HED), and perhaps other ectodermal dysplasias.
Individuals with HED are about twice as likely as the general population to have symptoms compatible with asthma, and there are multiple reports in the literature of individuals with HED with recurrent pneumonia and/or bronchiectasis (inflammation and widening of bronchi and bronchioles). Therefore, there is likely an increased risk of more severe infection involving the lungs with COVID-19 infection in these individuals.
Individuals with HED and immune deficiency (and anyone else with immunodeficiency) are at increased risk of more severe respiratory infection, including pneumonia, with COVID-19 as compared to the general population.
Those affected by HED and many other of the ectodermal dysplasias are known to be at increased risk of upper respiratory infection, otitis media (middle ear infections) and sinusitus with common respiratory infections, and are therefore more likely to have these upper respiratory infections as a result of COVID-19 infection.
Prevention and Treatment for Coronavirus and Ectodermal Dysplasia
At this point, in the United States, there is no specific recommendation for special treatment of patients with ectodermal dysplasias other than prudent recommendations to prevent acquisition of any respiratory illness:
- make sure you have received flu vaccine, unless medically contraindicated (rare);
- wash hands frequently;
- cover your cough (preferably in front of elbow, not hands).
If you have been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19; if you have traveled to affected provinces in China or in contact with individuals who have recently returned from there, and you develop fever, cough sore throat, you should contact your health care provider.
In this instance, please do not go to a medical facility without calling first, so they can reduce the potential risk of spread to others at the facility when you do arrive there.
For more information about COVID-19, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
You can also learn more about coronavirus and ectodermal dysplasias by reading our blog on taking care of your high risk loved ones.