Autoimmune Conditions After COVID-19

Your body’s immune system is responsible for protecting and defending you against infections. It does this by producing immune responses to fight them off. With autoimmune conditions, your immune system has a hard time figuring out what is and isn’t foreign. Additionally, your immune system works in overdrive to get rid of what doesn’t belong. As a result, your immune system attacks itself.

COVID-19 affects your immune system. In some people, the infection causes their immune system to dysfunction even after they’ve recovered. Hence the different long-term effects. Survivors of COVID-19 report one or more of these autoimmune or inflammatory conditions.

Guillian-Barre Syndrome

Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) is one of the autoimmune conditions that COVID-19 survivors report. GBS is a rare autoimmune condition where the body’s immune system attacks the nerves. Viral infections are the leading cause of GBS. People with other autoimmune syndromes are at risk for GBS. But so are otherwise healthy individuals. We don’t yet know if GBS increases the risk of a COVID-19 infection or worsens outcomes after an illness.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Progressive muscle weakness, including respiratory and facial muscles
  • Paralysis
  • Neck or back pain
  • Long-term fatigue

Pediatric Inflammatory Multisystem Syndrome

The pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome (PMIS or sometimes MIS-C) is not an autoimmune condition. But it is an inflammatory condition that only affects children. We don’t know what causes this syndrome. However, there is a connection between PMIS and COVID-19. Healthcare providers noticed this syndrome in some younger children with COVID-19. PMIS causes inflammation of different body parts and organs, such as the eyes, kidneys, heart, and even brain. Children may experience one or more of these warning signs or symptoms.

Symptoms and Warning Signs

  • Red eyes
  • Chest, neck, and abdominal pain
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath