The medical community has focused in recent months on the virus at the core of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, but now its broader impact is beginning to come under scrutiny.
One area of concern is the effect of coronavirus-related stress on the human body. Common stressors include fear of contracting the virus or losing loved ones to it, sheltering at home, sudden job loss, caring for children who would normally be in daycare or school, and overall uncertainty about the future. Will this stress contribute to a spike in other health issues, including herpes zoster (HZ)?
The CDC acknowledges that the COVID-19 outbreak may be stressful for individuals, and that “fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children.”1
While noting that people react differently to stressful situations based on their personalities, backgrounds, and communities, the CDC identifies populations that are most vulnerable. “People at higher risk for severe illness, such as older adults, and people with underlying health conditions are also at increased risk of stress due to COVID-19,” it states.1
In fact, the elderly,…
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