Editor’s Note on Our August 2020 Health Issue

Illustration by Pete Ryan

I’ve fallen off the wagon in the past few months when it comes to specific workouts, healthy eating, and any moderation in my alcohol consumption. Apparently, I’m not alone: “Oh, none of us have biceps now,” a friend consoled.

Health professionals countywide are concerned about how the pandemic has affected our habits. Charles Golden, pediatrician and executive medical director of Children’s Hospital Orange County primary care network, says keeping up with your health routines at home and prioritizing maintenance is crucial now. “There’s a lot going on in the world. People tend to comfort eat. Making sure we’re all being conscious about a well-balanced diet, drinking plenty of water, (and) getting exercise and sleep is even more important now.”

Golden emphasizes the basics to protect yourself from COVID-19: Wash your hands, don’t touch your face, stay 6 feet apart from others, and avoid large gatherings. “We’re going to have to think about (this) for not just the next month or two, but for the next year or year and a half,” he says. What about the lightning rod topic of face masks? “We almost laugh at how controversial it’s become. The intent is to reduce the transmission of this very contagious virus. We have a mantra in health care: ‘I wear my mask to protect you, and you wear yours to protect me.’ In most studies … mask wearing is turning out to be one of the most important ways to prevent transmission.”

Illustration by Martha Napier

In addition to preventing illness, doctors are worried about postponed well visits and maintenance. “I’m here to tell you it is safe to access your health care provider,” Golden says, citing specifics in the industry such as screenings, masks, marking territory in waiting rooms, and even outdoor exam centers. As a pediatrician, his thoughts are with kids. “I am concerned about measles and whooping cough. If kids haven’t been getting their vaccines, next year when we’re in the middle of cold and flu season, we may see outbreaks of that.”

Golden joins many experts we consulted about popular health claims (Page 114) and wellness topics for this issue. Hopefully you’ll find good advice for staying healthy in these times.

Ms. Alan Gibbons

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