FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – It has been close to a year our lives have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the beginning, health officials have encouraged washing hands, wearing masks, staying away from others, and sanitizing. With the safety and precautionary measures in place, how does this impact our immune systems? WANE 15 spoke with Doctor Matthew Sutter, Allen County Health Commissioner, to get the facts.
Sutter says there is not scientific evidence that show the measures put in place have negative impacts on our immune systems. “Obviously there are psychological effects to the social distancing due to the changes that we’ve seen over the last year. That’s almost unavoidable in a pandemic no matter what you do. From my perspective, the best ways to mitigate it is to try and reduce loss of life, to try and reduce the number of people are hospitalized or disabled from this disease, and get through it,” Sutter says.
Many have dealt with stress due to the pandemic. There are health repercussions that come with stress as well. “Part of that is the fact that there is a global pandemic. Part of that is the fact that this is a disease that is spread through normal human contact, by close contact within six feet for 15 minutes. It’s what we normally do when we chat or when we socialize, it’s part of a normal human behavior. It’s hard to wear a mask it’s hard to socially distance. I totally get that. So there will be effects with that. The question is, are those effects greater than the spread of this disease and in my opinion, just absolutely not. This is a very infectious very dangerous disease. We’ve seen more than 400,000 deaths in the United States this year which is a huge number,” Sutter says.
For children, there is some evidence that the COVID-19 pandemic has lasting impacts on their health. “If they are in too clean of an environment they might be more likely to have allergies or develop asthma,” Sutter says. He says that evidence is small.