The Surprising Factor That May Lower Your Risk For COVID-19

While it seems like catching COVID-19 if you're unvaccinated seems completely random and you can't be sure who is more likely to be infected, a U.K. study conducted between May 2020 and February 2021 found that certain health conditions lower your risk of contracting the virus that has been upending life across the globe for nearly two years.

You are much more protected against COVID-19 if vaccinated than if you choose not to get the jab, but you can expect to get breakthrough infections as new variants like Omicron appear and vaccine effectiveness wanes before you can get your booster. The good news about Omicron is that Pfizer-BioNTech released preliminary research that found three shots of its vaccine offer the same protection against Omicron that two shots offered against previous variants like Alpha and Delta (via Bloomberg).

However, the British study was conducted before vaccines were widely available, and found that some very common everyday health conditions could put your odds of contracting COVID-19 much lower than those who don't have these conditions.

Allergies and skin conditions could lower your risks of contracting coronavirus

A study of 15,227 U.K. adults conducted by researchers from London's Queen Mary University between May of 2020, when COVID-19 was still a fairly new phenomenon, and February of 2021, when vaccines were first available on a limited basis both in the U.K. and in the U.S., found that those who suffer from allergies like hay fever and rhinitis, as well as those with atopic skin diseases like dermatitis and eczema, were 23% less likely to contract COVID-19 than those who don't.

Furthermore, those who suffer asthma, a chronic respiratory condition, were 38% less likely to contract COVID-19, even if they were dependent on steroidal inhalers. The study also found that older adults with these conditions experienced no more risk of catching COVID-19 than younger adults, keeping in mind that age is a risk factor for contracting the virus and having a more severe outcome.

Right before the study concluded, The Daily Mail reported that all participants were asked a followup question to establish their ages, heights, weights, diets, and lifestyles. They also had to list what medications they were taking or whether they had received the new COVID-19 vaccine by the time the study was drawing to a close.

As of this writing, 146,000 U.K. residents have died from COVID-19, while in the U.S., which has a much higher population, 815,000 people have died from COVID-19 (via Worldometers). Most deaths in 2021 have come from the unvaccinated.