Risk is relative to all of us. However, when it is your health…

Catching the coronavirus might seem inevitable since it can be passed through the air from a person with no symptoms. It is possible to catch this disease just from being within a couple of feet of an infected person.

Who is most likely to become infected? Based on the statistics I have researched, if you are male, over the age of 65, and a smoker, you are a prime candidate. A woman over the age of 65 and not a smoker seems to separate you from the others over the age of 65.

Smoking damages the lungs and allows the disease to get a foothold into your body. Any kind of immune system challenge is enough to endanger your health and your life.

If you travel on public transportation (plane, trains, busses, subways, etc.), there is a higher risk of catching the coronavirus. Being in a car with an infected person is also a potential danger. This means that friends, neighbors, family, Lyft, and Uber might be potential things to avoid for the short term.

Smokers beware. That is a given. Even if you gave up smoking a few years ago, you still have a higher risk. Additionally, if you are more than a few pounds overweight, you are at a higher risk of catching the coronavirus. Obesity makes it worse. We are protected by our immune systems. A lifestyle that supports additional weight year after year degrades your immune system.

A sedentary lifestyle doesn’t help either. Fresh air, sunshine, low-intensity exercise helps to protect our lives. In the old days, sick people were moved outdoors, and the sunshine and fresh air seemed to do wonders for recovery.

Avoid, like the plague, doctors’ offices, care facilities, hospitals, etc. Don’t go where sick people go. Call! Don’t show up in person. Processes are being set up to be screened, tested, and assessed in a drive-through setting. Avoiding places where sick people are being treated makes it safe for you and, more importantly, safer for those being treated for coronavirus and other maladies.

If you have surgery scheduled in the next month or two, talk to your physician and surgeon about rescheduling if it makes sense. You don’t want to risk your recovery being complicated with the coronavirus.

If you are a meat and potatoes kind of person, consider changing your dietary choices. Fresh fruits and vegetables provide more nutrition than fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. You need some fats (healthy ones) and some proteins (heathy ones also), but you don’t need an overabundance of carbohydrate foods.

Awareness and education are needed by everyone – young and old alike. Know the symptoms of the common cold and how they differ from the flu and pneumonia. It is critical to get doctors’ care when needed, but it is also healthier for you to ‘phone it in’ when you are not in extremis.

The common cold is a virus, like a coronavirus. Symptoms include a sore throat, cough, runny nose, congestion, feeling tired, sneezing, mild headache, and body aches. Common influenza includes similar symptoms but also includes a fever. Pneumonia includes fever, cough, phlegm, shortness of breath, fatigue, and chest pain.

Handwashing is essential even when the coronavirus is passed through the air. Touching surfaces and then touching your face can increase your risk of catching the flu or some other unwanted illness.
The young seem to weather this coronavirus storm much better than the elderly. However, they can catch the disease, remain asymptomatic (without symptoms) and pass the disease on to their parents and grandparents.

Be cautious of having the grandkids visit their grandparents over the next several weeks. There are many video options that can be used. Many meetings are going to that option now.
Social distancing is the buzz word today. Stay away from crowds. Most large events have been canceled. Many of us are religious and can easily see 500 or more at our weekly service. I am not telling you to stay home, but if you have any symptoms, or are a potential risk, you should err on the side of safety – stay at home!

Be prepared to minimize the spraying of your germs. I was asked a question in Toastmasters not that many years ago. How do I cover my mouth in the event of a cough? I immediately began to cough and at the same time pull open the top of my shirt and cough into my chest inside the shirt keeping extra pressure on the material around my neck and face to contain as much of the expelled air as possible.

A positive mental attitude is worth its weight in gold. Negative thinking challenges our immune system with the stress hormone, cortisol. A continual bombardment of cortisol is not healthy. I suggest smiling more and occasional laughter. Forced laughter is also healthy. Once an hour is not enough.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life – Red O’Laughlin

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