Coping with COVID-19
Your Lungs and COVID-19
There has never been a better time for smokers to quit and for individuals to protect their health by avoiding use of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.
We all know that smoking increases the risk for respiratory infections and weakens the immune system. It is a major cause of a number of chronic health conditions, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, (COPD), heart disease and diabetes. There is growing evidence that vaping is harmful to your lungs. These factors put conventional smokers, and those that vape at greater risk when confronted with the coronavirus.
We all know that the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 attacks the lungs. This could be an especially serious threat to those who smoke tobacco, marijuana or who vape. Evidence has shown that exposure to aerosols from e-cigarettes is harmful to the cells of the lung. The lungs ability to respond to infection is diminished. Those with compromised lung function or lung disease related to smoking are at a higher risk for serious complications associated with COVID-19.
Now more than ever, it is more important for smokers to quit and for youth and young adults to stop using all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to protect their health. If you need a reason to quit look no further than COVID-19.
Resources to help smokers quit
- 1-800 QUIT NOW: call for free support
- Truth Intiative: COVID-19: the connection to smoking and vaping, and resources for quitting
- NJ.Gov: E-Cigarettes and Vaping
- NIH: COVID-19: Potential Implications for Individuals with Substance Use Disorders
- smokefree.gov teen: Quit Vaping
Teens, Social Distancing and Anxiety
It may sound like teens are enjoying being in quarantine. Minimal school work, time to sleep in, Netflix, video chatting and spending time on their phones. However, for many teens this is not the case. They’re struggling with being stuck at home and unable to socialize with their friends. Many are missing special milestones such as prom, graduation and college tours. Some miss group sports, extracurricular activities, plays and musical performances. These are events they have been looking forward to, and not having them is affecting many. The COVID-19 pandemic and constant media attention is causing a great deal of anxiety for many teens (and adults, too).
When it comes to social distancing, your teen is probably already adept to using tools that help them feel connected during this time. However, when teens hear about friends and others that are not practicing social distancing, it can be very challenging for you as a parent. Teenagers are impulsive and feel invincible. Regardless of age anyone can get the virus even if they don’t experience any symptoms and they could pass it to someone else. Continually remind them that they are not just protecting themselves by staying home but they’re protecting their family, their grandparents, and their community at large by helping to stop the spread of the virus.
To help your child deal with this stressful time here are some things you can do:
First and most important is to keep the lines of communication open. Your teen may act is if they aren’t worried, however, they may have questions and concerns. Let them know they can discuss anything with you. Acknowledge that this is a difficult time.
Vitamin D is good for everyone. Go outdoors for a walk while maintaining social distancing from others. As the weather warms have lunch in the backyard, or take a drive for a change of scenery.
Limit their exposure to media reports regarding the pandemic.
Enjoy some family time together. Pull out old baby pictures and tell them stories about their childhood, their first tooth, first time they tried real food and other fun times. Pick a night for family board games or movie night.
Encourage your teen to keep a daily journal or make a video of this unprecedented time in history. It will be something they will have to share in future years.
Your teens will probably spend more time with you during this pandemic than they ever will again.
Enjoy this time of bonding and make the best memories you can during this unusual situation.
Additional information that we hope you will find helpful:
- Harvard Health Study: Keeping teens home and away from friends during COVID-19
- Childmind: Supporting Teenagers and Young Adults During the Coronavirus Crisis
- HenryFord LiveWell: How Social Distancing Can Affect Teenagers
- Psychology Today: How to Talk to Teens & Young Adults About Social Distancing
Staying Sane in the Midst of COVID 19
Concerns about the spread of COVID-19 have turned our daily lives upside down.
A growing number of employers are allowing their employees to work remotely, schools and daycare centers are closed, and Governors are putting states on lockdown. Here in Marlboro and in many other places even parks are off-limits. In the midst of all of this change, most of us are rightfully concerned about our health and well-being.
As the news reports are telling us there’s no disputing that social distancing is vital to curbing the spread of COVID-19. Our goal is to help you maintain some sense of normalcy during this time, particularly when we are socially isolated from friends and extended family.
Instead of fixating on what you can’t do, we want to give you some tips to focus on what you can do during this unsettling time. By attending to different aspects of your health and well-being you will remain grounded during times of change, it also enhances your ability to help others.
A few ideas:
- Limit the news. Watching the news all day can increase anxiety levels. Pick a time, morning or evening
- Try some stress management techniques: meditation, deep breathing or keeping a journal
- Stay in touch with friends and family via, phone, online games and video chats
- Eat well
- Purchase pastas, rice, frozen foods, canned produce, beans and lentils – long shelf life
- Help limit the spread by online grocery shopping and home delivery
- Take an inventory of your pantry and get creative in the kitchen
- Exercise is critical for both your mental and physical health. Go for a walk, run or bicycle ride
- If you have children living at home get them involved too. Make it their PE portion of the day. Break out that old hula hoop, jump rope or freeze dance, your options are endless
As we all navigate this new normal, consider how you can use your time mindfully. Perhaps go back to that old hobby you used to love or develop a new one. Pick up that book you’ve been wanting to read and didn’t have the time for and if you’re really feeling ambitious clean out that closet, attic or garage you’ve been meaning to get too!
Here are some additional links we think you might find helpful:
Whatever you decide, focus on the things you CAN do to contribute to you and your family’s health and well-being.
Stay safe, stay healthy!