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A concerted effort is needed to fight COVID-19


Wearing a mask protects a person from contracting and spreading COVID-19. But masks must be worn correctly. Exposing the nose is improper.

As I write this article, the United States is approaching a death count of more than 160,000 people from COVID-19. These numbers are quite astonishing and I cannot “wrap my head around” the loss, suffering and the misery that every death has caused. Countless families have had to say goodbye to their husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and friends. Each life lost takes a toll from us all as humans, whether we know it or not.

It is no secret that at this point we have no national strategy. How then do we protect ourselves from this pandemic? How do we prevent ourselves from becoming another casualty, from becoming 160,001?

We must not be selfish. We must start to follow all the public health recommendations suggested. We cannot put self-first. We must put others first. When I see patients in my office and out, I am constantly saying to them to pull their mask up to cover their nose. I realize that so many people do not believe that masks are needed but they are.

As the evidence comes to light about the spread of COVID-19 it is becoming clearer that you will not likely get COVID-19 from surfaces but rather person to person transmission is the more common mode. Yes, it is important to keep counters, doorknobs, and surfaces clean but that is not likely going to be your source of transmission.

The virus is spread most readily through the air. There are also people who are supper spreaders. These people have more particles of the virus in their coughs, sneezes or just speaking than most and they can really infect others. Again, they may not have any symptoms.

Again, wearing a mask is extremely important and wearing a mask properly crucial. A mask is your protection from spreading the virus and your protection from contracting the virus. Make sure it has a secure fit around your nose. Many have metal around the nose to form fit it. Make use of that metal. It is important. Make sure your mask is not too small. You want to take advantage of all the protection it can provide.

If you wear glasses, you can wear the mask under the glasses to get an extra fit. We know that the tissues of the respiratory tree are the most fruitful entrance to the body. Having a shield on is also helpful for added safety.

Other things you can do to protect yourself include taking good care of yourself. Now is not the time to sit around and gain weight. We know obesity is a risk factor for COVID-19. Now is the time to watch what you eat and do it as nutritiously as possible. Try to incorporate some physical activity into your life. I have been recommending YouTube exercise sessions for chair exercises, aerobics and other beginning to advanced workouts. All are free and download right into your home on your phone, computer or tablet.

Increase your vitamin D consumption. There have been studies that show a lack in vitamin D to be a risk factor. Watch your usage of medications for acid reflux. New data indicates that such medication usage in people with COVID-19 may exacerbate the illness. Make sure you are getting rest. Good quality sleep is so important to overall health. Seek help for feelings anxiety. Make you are address any pre-existing medical issues that would increase your risk of transmission. Get your flu vaccine when available.

Yes, the road has been tough and it may indeed get tougher. Be as proactive as you can. Resist gatherings of people for now. A concerted effort is now needed.

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