The impact

Topic: The impact of COVID on women’s health

“You can’t say ‘yes’ to everything and not say ‘yes’ to taking care of yourself.” — Shonda Rhimes

The pandemic has hit everyone hard. Mental health, economic security, physical health have affected everyone. In particular, working mothers have taken on more of the household and child-care responsibility. That can have a negative impact on their health.

Women might also not be taking the time to take care of themselves. Do not think of taking care of yourself as taking away from others. Taking care of yourself first gives you the energy and ability to care for others. That’s why the flight attendant tells you to put on your mask first.

Taking care of yourself includes prevention and early detection. Prevention includes healthy lifestyle behaviors such as eating to nourish your body and moving regularly. Early detection is making sure to see your health care provider regularly and have screenings done as recommended.

For nutrition and physical activity guidance, the American Cancer Society issued new diet and physical activity guidelines in 2020. The guidelines recommend that you:

• Achieve and maintain a healthy body weight throughout life.

• Be physically active. Adults should engage in at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week. Children should get at least an hour a day of moderate to vigorous physical activity. You should also limit sedentary activity throughout the day.

• Follow a healthy eating pattern. This includes eating a rainbow of fruits, vegetables and whole grains while limiting red and processed meats, sugar sweetened beverages and highly processed foods.

• Do not drink alcohol.

The other side of taking care of yourself is making sure to get your annual screenings and immunizations. Many chronic illnesses and cancers can be prevented or treated successfully, if detected early. Regular mammograms, pap and HPV tests and HPV vaccination are part of a women’s health care routine. When to have these done depends on your age.

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women, after skin cancer. The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends that most women age 50 to 74 have a mammogram every two years.

If you have a close relative who has had breast cancer, you might begin screening in your 40s.

Topic Discussed: The impact of COVID on women’s health

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