Impact of Allergic Rhinitis and Asthma on COVID-19

Pavankumar Kamat


November 11, 2021


  • Allergic rhinitis (AR; in all ages) and allergic or non-allergic asthma (in those aged <65 years) were associated with a lower risk of COVID-19 infection, but not with the severity and mortality of COVID-19.

  • Asthma was linked to an increased risk of COVID-19 hospitalisation across all ages.

  • Long-term medications for AR and asthma did not show any effect on COVID-19 infection, severity and mortality.

Why this matters

  • Findings warrant more attention towards education and primary care of elderly asthmatic patients diagnosed with COVID-19, including active treatment of comorbidities.

Study design

  • A study included 70,557 adult participants from the UK Biobank who were tested for SARS-CoV-2 between 16 March and 31 December 2020.

  • The effects of AR and asthma on COVID-19 infection, hospitalisation and mortality were evaluated.

  • The effects of long-term AR and asthma medications on the risk of COVID-19 hospitalisation and mortality were assessed.

  • Funding: West China Hospital, Sichuan University, and others.

Key results

  • Patients with AR (of all ages) had lower positive rates of SARS-CoV-2 tests (relative risk [RR], 0.75; 95% CI, 0.69-0.81), and this benefit was consistent after adjustment for confounders (RR, 0.78; 95% CI, 0.71-0.85; P<.001 for both).

  • Men with AR (RR, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.65-0.85) vs women with AR (RR, 0.80; 95% CI, 0.72-0.90; P<.001 for both) had lower susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2.

  • Asthma showed a protective effect against COVID-19 infection in younger participants aged <65 years (RR, 0.93; 95% CI, 0.86-1.00; P=.044), but this effect was non-significant in elderly participants aged ≥65 years (RR, 1.02; 95% CI, 0.95-1.1; P=.59).

  • Patients with asthma had a higher risk of COVID-19 hospitalisation (RR, 1.42; 95% CI, 1.32-1.54; P<.001).

  • AR and asthma did not show any association with COVID-19 mortality.

  • Long-term medications for AR and asthma did not show any associations with COVID-19 infection, hospitalisation, and mortality.


  • Risk of selection bias.


Ren J, Pang W, Luo Y, Cheng D, Qiu K, Rao Y, Zheng Y, Dong Y, Peng J, Hu Y, Ying Z, Yu H, Zeng X, Zong Z, Liu G, Wang D, Wang G, Zhang W, Xu W, Zhao Y. Impact of Allergic Rhinitis and Asthma on COVID-19 Infection, Hospitalization and Mortality. J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2021 Oct 30 [Epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1016/j.jaip.2021.10.049. PMID: 34728408  View full text

This clinical summary originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.


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