If you’re obese and have had, have, or believe you have COVID-19, I have some more bad news for you: you may have to extend your 14-day quarantine period.
A group of Italian researchers has recommended that obese individuals stretch their self-isolation time to 28 days instead of the regularly recommend 14. This is due to several factors that may contribute to obese people being more contagious than the general population.
Unfortunately, obese folks are also at a higher risk for COVID-19 than their leaner counterparts. Because the condition is usually marked by inflammation and other health problems like heart disease and diabetes, this demographic may need to exercise extra caution.
Using past influenza pandemics for information, the researchers suggest three reasons why obese individuals are more contagious and likely to contract the condition.
First, they suggest that obese people take longer to shed the virus than leaner people. That means it is inside them and being released for a longer period.
The team also pointed out that viral infections tend to take obese people longer to fight off. They point to data suggesting that it takes obese people longer to produce an adequate immune response to treat such infections.
Lastly, there is also data showing a correlation between body mass and infectious virus in exhaled breath. Because obese people may breathe heavier than leaner folks, they may exhale more virus in droplets—one of the ways the virus is transmitted.
Because of these various factors, the researchers recommend a self-isolated period of 28 days for probable or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in obese individuals.
If you’re overweight, this is important news that could help keep your family, friends, and community safe. In the meantime, finding ways to limit inflammation, lose some weight, and improve heart health is recommended.
You can achieve these benefits by eating a more healthy diet and increasing levels of physical activity around your home.