COVID caveat: I write about COVID-19 all the time, in this column and on my Facebook page. I came across something recently that concerned me about the theoretical long-term consequences.
If you’re not a young adult and your memory is intact, you know you once thought you were invincible. You threw caution to the wind, at least some of the time — which is exactly what many young adults seem to be doing when it comes to social distancing with COVID.
They may be thinking, well, if I get it, no biggie. I’ll survive just fine. And perhaps they will — survive the initial COVID-19 event, that is. But what they’re not considering is that some viruses we survive still have long-term consequences.
Let’s take HPV, the human papillomavirus. You can get it through sex in you teens or 20s. Most get over it, but some don’t. Some women get cervical cancer from it — five, 10, 20 or 30 years later. And some men develop penile cancer or head and neck cancer (from oral-genital sex) in their 50s and 60s, years after getting HPV initially.
The same may be true for the novel coronavirus. In other words, getting over COVID-19 may not mean getting over COVID-19. We don’t yet know if there are long-term consequences from this nasty viral terrorist.
My spin: Social distancing counts. Wash your hands. Wear a mask because it protects others, shows good citizenship, and it may protect you. Stay well.
This column provides general health information. Always consult your personal health care provider about concerns. No ongoing relationship of any sort is implied or offered by Dr. Paster to people submitting questions. Any opinions expressed by Dr. Paster in his columns are personal and are not meant to represent or reflect the views of SSM Health.
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