Quit for Covid - there’s never a bad time to stop smoking and quitting now has a double benefit. Smoking is a Covid-19 risk in itself because of the lung damage it causes but there’s another reason that it’s easy to overlook: each time you put a cigarette or vape to your lips, you increase the risk of giving yourself the virus if you have been in contact with it.
The weight is over - if you’ve been thinking you might like to lose a kilo or two, now is the moment. Being heavy won’t increase your chances of catching Covid-19 but if you do catch it, you’re at increased risk of more serious outcomes. The heavier you are, the greater the risk.
Understand your risk - we’re all at different levels of risk from Covid-19 which is why we need to take social distancing seriously. It’s not just about age or underlying health conditions like diabetes. Simply being male puts you at considerably higher risk. Take a man and a woman of the same age - a couple, for example. The man is twice as likely to die from Covid-19 as the woman. People from a black or minority ethnic background are at greater risk. As are people in certain jobs such as nurse, taxi driver, chef or security guard: jobs with high levels of close contacts indoors. So a black male chef with asthma is at far higher risk than a white female working from home.
Understand others’ risk - the risks you run don’t just concern you, they concern everyone you have contact with afterwards. If you go to the pub and high-five all your mates, granny goes to the pub and high-fives all your mates too even if she stays at home and watches Call The Midwife.
Wash your hands regularly - the official guidance is wash your hands like you've just chopped chillies and now want to put your contact lenses in. (OK, that’s not exactly the official guidance but it makes the same point better.) Every precaution you take reduces the risk of everyone else you come into contact with.
Don’t forget the five ways to wellbeing. Keep active, keep connected with others, keep learning, keep giving and keep noticing what’s around you. They’re all proven ways to improve physical and mental wellbeing. You can do them all while socially distancing. An outdoor class in a type of exercise you haven’t tried before ticks all the boxes.
Don’t forget your wider health. If you have medical appointments or need the dentist or optician, go. But check what arrangements they have in place beforehand. If something new arises with your physical or mental health, check your GP’s website or call to find out how to take it further. Don’t ignore it.
Haynes Men’s Health Manual by Jim Pollard is priced at £12.99 and is available soon from www.amazon.com. His booklet How To Live In A Covid World is available from the Men’s Health Forum.