autoimmune flare


Covid – 19 is like a houseguest that’s overstayed his welcome – you know the old saying, houseguests and fish stink after 3 days?  Well, Covid has definitely started to stink.  And if you’ve got AD, you may be wondering if getting Covid can trigger a flare in symptoms.  Just what you need, right?

Can this virus actually trigger an autoimmune flare?  Let’s find out!

How Does An Autoimmune Flare Work 

An autoimmune disorder occurs when your body’s immune system mistakenly identifies its own cells as foreign and attacks them. This eventually leads to chronic inflammation in your body, which can have serious consequences on your health. It’s believed that certain triggers, like stress or certain foods or environmental factors, can cause an “autoimmune flare”—an exacerbation of the condition.

Therefore, it makes sense that individuals with an autoimmune disorder would be more susceptible to illnesses like COVID-19 because their immune systems are already weakened or compromised. In fact, recent studies have found that people with autoimmune disorders have a higher risk of developing severe cases of COVID-19 and experiencing more severe symptoms.



autoimmune flare: can covid-19 trigger a flare

Can COVID Trigger An Autoimmune Flare

The relationship between COVID-19 and autoimmune flares is still being studied; however, it appears that certain factors can influence your risk of developing a severe autoimmune reaction after coming down with the virus. These include having a weakened immune system due to other chronic health conditions, being over 40 years old, or taking certain medications that suppress the immune system (e.g., prednisone).

According to some studies, people with lupus are more likely than others to experience serious complications from COVID-19—including death—so it’s essential that they take extra precautions to protect themselves while the pandemic rages on.

However, what we do know is that our stress levels have been much higher since COVID-19 hit; studies have consistently shown that when we experience extreme levels of stress or trauma, our bodies are more likely to enter a period of inflammation and increased susceptibility to infection.

So, while being infected with COVID-19 itself may not necessarily trigger an autoimmune flare directly, it could certainly increase your risk of experiencing one due to the elevated stress levels caused by the pandemic.


What Should I Do If I Experience A Flare With Covid

The best way to prevent an autoimmune flare is by taking steps to boost your immunity before you get sick with COVID-19. Eating a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals can help keep your body strong and resilient against infection.

It’s also important to get plenty of rest and exercise regularly to maintain good physical health. Additionally, avoiding stress as much as possible can help reduce your risk for developing severe symptoms if you do contract the virus.

Also, check with your doctor for help in reducing inflammation and managing symptoms like pain and fatigue.  You don’t need to tough it out alone.  Get some help from your healthcare practitioner!


Autoimmune disorders can be tricky things; they often present unique challenges for everyone that experiences them.  If you have preexisting autoimmune conditions such as lupus or RA, it’s especially important to take measures now to reduce your risk for experiencing an autoimmune flare in response to contracting COVID-19 later on down the road.

Simple things like eating a nutritious diet full of vitamins and minerals along with getting plenty of restful sleep each night are both key components of boosting immunity against infection—so don’t forget them!

However, it is clear that women over 40 who suffer from an autoimmune disorder should take extra precautions when it comes to protecting themselves against the novel coronavirus since they may be at higher risk for both infection and flares due to their existing health conditions.  By following these simple tips now, you can give yourself a better chance at staying healthy throughout this seemingly never-ending pandemic!

Have you experienced a flare due to COVID?  What did you do to calm things back down?  Please share your experience in the comments below!


***Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice***



  • Susan Taylor, RDN LD

    Meet Susan, registered dietitian / nutritionist and fellow autoimmune warrior who is dedicated to helping women with autoimmune disease get their groove back. With the right diet and lifestyle changes, Susan empowers her clients to take control of their health and feel their best. When she's not busy saving the world you can find Susan strolling along the beach, jet-setting to new destinations, and soaking up quality time with family & friends.