Thyroid UK have received enquiries about whether people with thyroid disease are at an increased risk of coronavirus (COVID-19).
We have checked with our medical advisers and have the following statement to make:
COVID-19 is a new virus that can affect your lungs and airways and cause various symptoms, the most common of which are a cough, a high temperature (fever) and difficulty in breathing.
In people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like asthma, diabetes, cancer, heart disease and chronic lung disease the symptoms can be much worse. However, these symptoms are similar to other viruses such as a cold and the flu so having these symptoms does not necessarily mean you have the illness.
Doctors are not completely sure how the virus is spread but it is probably spread by droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes and may be caught by touching a surface, object or the hand of an infected person. How long any respiratory virus survives will depend on a number of factors such as what surface the virus is on; whether it is exposed to sunlight; differences in temperature and humidity and exposure to cleaning products.
COVID-19 can be spread by close contact (within 2 metres or less). It is not definite whether people with the virus who don’t have symptoms can infect someone else.
The incubation period is between 2 to 14 days so if a person remains well 14 days after contact with someone who has the coronavirus, they have not been infected.
At the moment, there is not enough evidence regarding people with thyroid disorders. There have been papers written about COVID-19 but they do not discuss people with thyroid disease.
Although there is no reason to believe that people with thyroid problems are at any more risk from COVID-19 than people who are healthy, it will pay to be vigilant. Wash your hands regularly and, as the Government has now advised, work at home if you can, don’t travel on public transport unless it is necessary and avoid places where there will be a lot of people such as pubs, clubs and the theatre.
Thyroid UK recommends that everyone follows NHS and government advice about reducing the risk of infection.
Our advisers will be keeping us up to date periodically and we will be updating this statement when necessary.
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