Why Our Health is Important Now More Than Ever
I saw a social media post the other day that read in bold letters: “Don’t forget that you can still get ‘regular’ sick during a pandemic.” It was a fantastic reminder that even if COVID-19 is changing how we live our daily lives, it shouldn’t change how we maintain our overall health, especially since it can impact not only ourselves but our communities. Let’s delve into some of the reasons why!
Prevent contraction of illness
The most straightforward reason why you should keep yourself healthy is to prevent contraction of the virus by boosting your immune system to become better equipped to fight off acute diseases caused by viruses and bacteria. This includes maintaining a nutritious diet filled with essential vitamins and minerals, hydrating to improve circulation and immune response, getting plenty of sleep to allow your body to build up infection-fighting cytokines, and staying active to slow the aging of your immune system. You can also prevent infection externally, by washing your hands regularly, refraining from touching your face, wearing a mask, sanitizing your phone and other regularly used items, and social distancing.
Decrease burden on the healthcare system
Staying healthy can keep you from having to go to a hospital or clinic, where there is a heightened possibility of being exposed to other sick people and contracting a nosocomial infection, or an infection “of the hospital.” Not having to visit a doctor will also alleviate strain on the healthcare system. The biggest concern is the risk of running out of adequate health care services, especially since many healthcare professionals are under extreme pressure on the front lines of COVID-19 (say a prayer for medical staff!). The goal is to make sure that the number of people in the hospital at any given time does not exceed the healthcare system capacity, which can impact EVERYONE who needs any kind of medical care, not just the people who have coronavirus.
“Healthy Body, Healthy Mind”
Avoiding illness not only helps you stay physically healthy, but mentally healthy as well. Illnesses like the flu or the common cold can activate your immune response, leading to inflammation in your body that can mimic and even cause anxiety or depressive symptoms. In addition to the physical symptoms that come with sickness, such as fever, congestion, or respiratory issues, illnesses such as COVID-19 can lead to exhaustion and a lack of energy that can really take a toll on your mental health.
Protect health of other at-risk populations
Although you may not personally be in a demographic that is at risk of being detrimentally affected by this virus, many of you may have young children, older parents, or immunocompromised loved ones in your household. This comes with an immense responsibility even under normal circumstances, but in the wake of the pandemic, it is even more important to stay healthy and stop the spread to prevent it from getting passed on to the elderly, children, or immunosuppressed people. If you are a parent or caregiver, encourage those under your care to practice healthy habits so that everyone is doing their part to stay safe.
Set an Example
The best way to encourage those around you to take care of their health is to lead by example and first care for your own health. There is strength in numbers, so if we can increase the number of people in world coming together to make a difference and slow the spread of illness, we can alleviate the impact of COVID-19 in our own community.
"Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well."
—3 John 1:2