5 things putting you at higher risk for COVID-19

The COVID-19 vaccination has made it so that the world can slowly begin to open back up. And while that may be the case and American cases are declining, there are still new diagnoses every day.

So, when will it actually be safe to go out in public without a mask? How do we maintain the downward trend in cases and begin to go out into the world a little more freely, without putting ourselves at risk? Are fully vaccinated people able to develop long-term symptoms, even if they aren’t showing as much risk with their diagnosis?

With so many questions still out there, we have put together a quick list of some things that may (still) be putting you at higher risk for COVID-19.

1. Dehydration

This should be an obvious one, but making sure you stay fully hydrated by getting the recommended amount of water for your body chemistry and age group can work wonders on the body. Water helps to flush out your system and rid your body of toxins. In this way, it supports the immune system, helping you to fend off viruses and unnecessary sickness.

One of the simplest things you can do to help ward off COVID-19 and other diseases is by keeping that water bottle handy throughout the day. If you have been diagnosed with COVID, keep the water bottle by your side to help deter effects from virus-induced bowel movements and nausea.

2. Stress

As we all know by now, stress can really mess with the chemistry of your body. Stress of any type — free radicals and damaging chemicals, or mental stressors — can cause massive inflammation and block the productivity of the body’s functioning systems.

In this way, it can cause your body to stop fighting disease and pollution in as effective a manner as it once could. A few minutes of mindfulness or yoga in your day can help to optimize your body’s capabilities to fight these stressors and serve as a way to physically experience stress levels go down.

3. Sleep Issues

You may have heard this your entire life from your parents, but it holds some real truth. You need to make sure you’re getting the recommended amount of sleep on a regular basis. Sleep deprivation inhibits your immune system and can lead to an array of issues, including heart failure, anxiety, erratic blood pressure, and digestive problems. Because of the way it can weaken the immune system, sleep patterns (or lack thereof) have been linked to higher chances of contracting the virus.

Without your recommended sleep, cortisol cannot be fired off consistently throughout the day to keep your body’s natural clock, or circadian rhythm, working. Lack of sleep is linked to numerous physiological and mental conditions, including memory loss.

According to the National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute, “Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.” Not only that, but many people recovering from COVID have reported bizarre sleep issues, which scientists are slowly identifying as long-term symptoms of the virus.

4. Poor Diet

What most health risks and issues boil down to is an unhealthy diet. Ensure that you are (at least semi-regularly) getting whole foods into your routine. A diet that incorporates whole grains, high fiber, and protein content, and raw foods are your best bet for a healthy lifestyle.

Each food uniquely contributes to the way your body functions and expels energy. Eggs, salmon, greek yogurt, leafy greens like spinach and kale, and roasted chicken are incredible, flavorful options to choose from, among many others. Plus, they are packed with antioxidants, which help to rid your body of those physical stressors (like chemicals) that can aid in blocking your immune system response.

5. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Recent studies suggest that patients with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) may be at greater risk for contracting COVID-19. People who suffer from PCOS are born female and have ovaries that are susceptible to developing pockets of follicles that cause (often) painful cysts.

They often have excess male hormone levels in their system and are more susceptible to obesity as well. Because of the hormonal imbalance — caused by outside stressors like free radicals over time, and often genetically linked — people with PCOS often have volatile, unpredictable periods and often have a difficult time conceiving, or may not ever have that ability.

While people who are diagnosed with PCOS often develop diabetes because of a higher risk of insulin resistance and are more susceptible to heart disease, high blood pressure, lowered levels of Vitamin D, and cancer of the reproductive organs. Though women who suffer most from the disease are largely thought to be in an age group that should have a lower risk for COVID-19, PCOS patients have been linked to some of the most severe and long-lasting cases.

As is always the case, keep track of any health concerns or symptom patterns you may be experiencing. Even if you have had the vaccine, everyone’s bodies respond differently to prevention.

Keep up with daily exercise, and make sure to stay up to date on tips and tricks that could affect your career coming out of the pandemic with The Ladders.