The CDC has been more than busy.
They have relaxed some of the mask wearing recommendations.
Although their recommendations are based on the science that COVID-19 cases are declining, those recommendations have been jarring to the psyche. Are you comfortable with these recommendations? Are you ready to give up your mask? Do you trust your fellow citizens to be honest about whether they have been vaccinated?
In an unscientific poll, most people do not trust that the unvaccinated population will be honest about their vaccination status and continue to wear a mask. Unvaccinated people are at most risk of acquiring COVID-19 and thus triggering the rise of a variant. Those vaccinated have a much less chance of infection and certainly a much less chance of death but they should continue to wear a mask in public areas.
After more than a year of being told to wear the mask, many feel vulnerable without them. They display mask-less hesitancy, a very understandable phenomenon. Getting back to normal when unable to trust that those around you are following the rules will have its difficulty.
The high anxiety and stress triggered by this pandemic has resulted in an increased need for mental health care. In a recent survey, 48 percent of respondents noted an increase in stress. Sixty-one percent of respondents noted an undesired change in their weight (weight gain). Sixty-seven percent noted a change in their sleep habits with 35 percent saying they slept more while 31 percent said they slept less. Twenty-three percent of respondents said their alcohol consumption increased to cope with the stress. Forty-seven percent in the survey said they delayed or canceled health care appointments due to the pandemic.
You will still be required to wear your mask when entering healthcare facilities. What I hope will happen is that people will decrease their hesitancy in visiting their healthcare provider and seek care for their healthcare needs. For example, there have been reports of delayed diagnoses of cancers which have resulted in missed opportunities for longevity.
Be proactive and schedule your mammograms at least six weeks after obtaining your COVID-19 vaccines. These can be done safely.
Be proactive and make sure you have secured your colon health by getting your colonoscopy or other studies that are appropriate for you. These are studies that can be done safely even in this era of COVID-19.
Be proactive and make sure you are continuing your health care for your chronic illnesses. How is your heart doing? How are your lungs doing? Are your kidneys functioning well? What is the state of your diabetes? Is it well controlled? Hypertension is known as the silent killer because many do not realize they have it. Hypertension does not take a vacation. Do you know what your numbers are? Do you need to see a therapist to deal with the stress of your life? Have relationships frayed with too much together time? A good therapist may be able to help.
We will return to our “normal” life one day and hopefully sooner than later. Be proactive with your health so you come out on the other side of this pandemic in better physical and mental health than you did when we were thrust into it.
Dr. Veita Bland is a board-certified Greensboro physician and hypertension specialist. Dr. Bland’s radio show, “It’s a Matter of Your Health,” can be heard live on Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. on N.C. A&T State University’s WNAA, 90.1 FM. Listeners may call in and ask questions. The show is replayed on Sirius 142 at 5 p.m. on Wed. Email Dr. Bland at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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