“Going viral” has taken on new meaning in the last several months. Not only are the news cycles fast enough to make your head spin, but our appetites for information have also perpetuated conflicting information surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Not intending to provide a comprehensive lesson about this health risk, here are some common men’s health myths that we should put to rest:
Myth #1: The virus does not affect healthy men (or at least not as severely).
Although less likely to be severe, this virus can easily infect even healthy young men. Unfortunately, some of these lower risk men have died from COVID-19. Just as important, men with mild symptoms can infect their friends and loved ones who may be at higher risk for a poor outcome.
Myth #2: There is not much I can do to prevent the disease.
As the months pass—and the economy declines—we are less likely to remain in a bubble. Each person must find their own way of balancing prevention and a return to normalcy. It’s all about reducing exposure. Even when social distancing is not possible, these tips can help reduce the risk of infection:
- Create space between you and others, even if it’s less than the recommended six feet. Every bit helps.
- Wash or sanitize your hands repeatedly throughout the day. This can be the single most effective way to prevent the spread of infections.
- Stay hydrated. The mucous membranes that line our oral and nasal cavities provide a barrier to viruses. However, these linings must remain moist in order to be effective.
- Ensure a proper amount of sleep and exercise to boost your immune system.
Myth #3: I should delay my routine medical care until this pandemic passes.
Medical offices and hospitals have become extremely safe environments when it comes to protecting patients and healthcare workers. Although grocery stores, restaurants, and other local businesses have taken many thoughtful precautions, healthcare facilities take it to the extreme when it comes to sanitation, screening, testing, isolation, and mask use. The risk of delaying the diagnosis and management of serious medical conditions is far greater than contracting COVID-19.
Myth #4: No one can see me smile behind my mask.
Yes, it is still worth smiling. Not only will your mask move upwards, but your eyes and upper face will reveal the happy expression. After all, smiles are more contagious than any virus.
Look for my article on “Men’s Health Summer School” in the next issue. Do you have a special man in your life you want to help keep healthy? Check out my “What Women Can do for Men’s Health” article here.
Scott D. Miller, MD, is the Medical Director of Robotic Surgery at Wellstar North Fulton Hospital. He is a urologist with Wellstar Urology in Roswell and has practiced in Atlanta for over 20 years. Wellstar North Fulton Hospital offers the Know Your Heart Screening that can determine your risk of heart disease, stroke and other serious conditions. Call 770-956-STAR (7827) to learn more or schedule an appointment.
Scott D. Miller, MD Wellstar North Fulton Hospital • (470) 956-4230 • www.ScottDMillerMD.com