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Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause disease in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections, from the common cold to more severe diseases, such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is called Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).

To date, there have been no studies or reports to suggest that patients with celiac disease have an increased risk of COVID-19 disease compared to patients without celiac disease.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition that presents as a lifelong intestinal reaction to dietary gluten. Although celiac disease affects the immune system, patients with celiac disease are not considered immunocompromised. Exceptions may be malnutrition, low weight, administration of immunosuppressive drugs, or other serious illness.

People with celiac disease are advised to get the flu and pneumococcal vaccines because there is evidence that people with celiac disease are more at risk of bacterial infection that causes pneumonia. This applies to all people with celiac disease, whether or not they are on a gluten-free diet.

As there is no cure for celiac disease, the person should follow a gluten-free diet to manage their health and the same recommendations as others when it comes to preventing the transmission of COVID-19. These include staying at home whenever possible, limiting close contact with others, frequent hand washing, and avoiding touching the face. Hand sanitizers are safe for those with celiac disease, most of which do not contain gluten. In addition, research has found that gluten cannot be absorbed through the skin. If you do not apply the sanitizer on an open wound and you are careful not to ingest it, the hand sanitizer should be safe for you.

If you want to find out if dogs can tolerate gluten, check out our article on this topic: Can gluten cause problems in dogs?

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