Guidance for Individuals with a Compromised Immune System

written on: April 27th, 2020

For so many individuals with compromised immune systems — from cancer treatments, diseases or chronic conditions like asthma, the COVID pandemic is especially worrisome. How can you support your immune system during this unprecedented time to help keep you and your family safe? 

Dr. Hennie Fitzpatrick, medical director of The BioMed Center New England, answers questions from our community, during a recent immune-support coffee talk hosted by Liz Wiley and our friends at The Marion Institute

Join us at 9am every Thursday in April, as we continue this virtual holistic “house call” series, and answer your questions. Reserve your place (and listen to past recorded events) here:

Questions from the community: 

I’m being treated for leukemia and also have a compromised immune system and currently can’t get my IVIG immune support. Is there anything in particular to either take or avoid? 

There are a lot of us who have some sort of immune insult or have a chronic illness, and your immune system is needing to be amped up. And of course if you’re under treatment for cancer, you are taking things that are toxic to the rest of your system in order to push back the cancer, which is an additional stress on the immune system. 

I promise you that nothing that I’m recommending can really interfere with chemo or with your recovery or anything like that. 

If you take the recommendations that we have on this sheet realize that there are really two kinds of supplements on this list: Ones that stop COVID and ones that boost your immune system. 

I have Lupus, Fibromyalgia and Asthma. Any special attention I can give myself in this time? 

Yes, this is a very, very good question. If you are on anti-inflammatory medications like prednisone, or if you’re on something that suppresses your immune system, you know you’re on these big guns to suppress inflammation that  your immune system is still very stressed.

The key is to focus on supporting and maximizing  your immune system, while taking whatever anti-inflammation you need in the meantime. Eventually even in autoimmune illness you stop the progression and the symptoms of your autoimmune disease.

I have conversations with people who have any kind of autoimmune diagnosis, and the rheumatologists or GI doctors who diagnose them say that you’ll have this forever. And it’s just not true. I’m not undermining that you have a compromised immune system with all of these illnesses, but there are lots of ways of protecting your immune system. So I would still suggest that you take advantage of our recommended supplements like vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin C, Melatonin, and elderberry. 

It takes a long time. But if you can only understand that your body can heal itself — which is not to say it won’t get these difficult diseases. I know that it’s hard. 

I have pleurisy and pulmonary edema for the last two months in my lung. I’m getting pins and needles in her upper back and has had lots of rounds of antibiotics, but my general practitioner won’t give me more antibiotics right now. I was told to go for another x-ray in a month’s time if I still have pain, especially at night. What can I do to help this problem? 

You must get COVID testing, maybe multiple times. It’s important to know if you have this because you have a risk and pleurisy means you have inflammation of the lungs. It’s not a bacterial illness so prescribing a series of different antibiotics for a virus causes harm to the immune system. 

Tamiflu is an antiviral that’s effective against flu viruses, but we don’t have anything like that for COVID. Resveratrol, Ashwagandha, ECGC, and Quercetin stop the progression of viruses like COVID infections and have clinical actions to treat the virus before it overwhelms you.

But I also feel like what you’re finding from your physician is that he doesn’t know why you have pleurisy and pulmonary edema, which doesn’t mean there isn’t a reason. It’s just not a straightforward reason. You might also want to go see a good biological doctor. 

If you have questions about your own health or your specific conditions, call The BioMed Center New England — which remains open for phone calls and telehealth consultations.  

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