H1N1 and celiac disease

With all the news about the H1N1 virus, I wanted to see if people with celiac disease would have to take any special precautions. I also wondered if celiac disease would put you in category with others who have chronic conditions and are more likely to have complications from H1N1.
I contacted Alessio Fasano, M.D., director of the Center for Celiac Research at University of Maryland School of Medicine to find out. Here’s what he said:

Since people with celiac disease on a proper diet are not distinguishable from the general population, no special consideration concerning H1N1 vaccination should apply.

The Centers for Disease Control website has lots of important information for the general public about the flu. Included are what to do if you get sick, conditions that put you at risk, emergency warning signs, anti-viral drugs and when to take them, and how long to stay home if you have the flu. You can also get the facts regarding the flu vaccination.

There’s another special website devoted just to flu information, including steps you can take to prevent getting it.


Here’s hoping everyone gets through this flu season with as little discomfort as possible.

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6 thoughts on “H1N1 and celiac disease

  1. Gluten belongs to a class of chemical compounds known as Lectins. Additionally, lectins are glycoproteins related to cellular recognition. Another important Lectin is Hemagglutinin. Hemagglutinin is also found on the surface of the H1N1 viral envelope. I am tempted to hypothesize that people who avoid gluten have a lower intake of lectins, and may be less likely to develop full blown flu symptoms related to H1N1.

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  2. I think that while people who have been on a proper diet for a significant amount of time, will not need to take special precautions. But there are those who have been recently diagnosed, or still have vitamin deficiencies will have to be careful. Their immune systems may temporarily be much weaker than normal.

  3. I got the virus!!!
    I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2006 and I have been
    on a gluten-free diet since then. I also have both DQ2 and DQ8. This week I had a sore throat; I started
    sneeezing, with muscle ache and
    sinus ache, fever started going up and up. I went to the doctor and after testing, yes, they figured out I had AH1N1. God!!! Thanks
    to the prompt intervention and the antiviral I am doing much better. I do not have a fever anymore. The only thing I can say is that if you have a lot of symptoms like the ones I describe or any symptom RUN to your doctor or the emergency room, remember that the
    antiviral is too time sensitive. I DO believe that I got the disease
    because I have a compromised immune system and my diet was not a big deal for this virus. I am in great shape and I do exercise on a regular basis. Mari

  4. Something else to keep in mind is that some forms of the vaccine may contain gluten. Flu vaccines are traditionally egg based, but some of the H1N1 are wheat based…so ask before vaccination!

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