It’s been over a year since the world flipped upside down. Regardless of whether or not you’ve been able to avoid contracting COVID-19, the pandemic has still likely taken some toll on your body from your skin to your brain. Your body might be suffering from all the small ways the pandemic has impacted our lives from our work schedule and hobbies to socializing. The pandemic has impacted the health of the nation and not just from the disease itself. Discover the different ways the pandemic has impacted our bodies.

woman working from home in her living room with dog sitting next to her

Brain

One of the biggest impacts on our bodies as a result of COVID-19 is the impact on our brain. COVID-19 has kept us continually worrying about whether we will contract the virus and whether one of our loved ones will suffer severe health consequences or die if they contract the virus. The impact on our mental health has resulted in nearly one in four adults, or 23%, drinking more alcohol to cope with the stress of the pandemic as reported in the American Psychological Association’s latest survey.

In a survey published in February 2021, nearly 33% of the 5,000 surveyed respondents reported depression or anxiety symptoms. Additionally, 30% reported trauma and stress symptoms related to COVID-19. The survey also reported that 15% of respondents increased substance use and 12% reported that they seriously considered suicide in the past month.

Overall, 43% of respondents reported at least one of the mental health symptoms listed above which are double in comparison to pre-pandemic numbers.

60% of Americans are also sleeping either more or less compared to pre-pandemic numbers.

Humans are naturally social creatures and if we’re not socializing virtually or at a distance regularly, it can have a huge impact on mental health. 

Hair and Skin

Another major way our bodies have changed since the pandemic began is our hair and skin. One of the most talked-about problems in regards to our skin is “maskne” or acne caused by wearing a mask.

To combat acne, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a moisturizer before and after wearing a mask and using products that don’t clog pores.  Your mask should fit comfortably and snugly. It might also be helpful to forgo wearing makeup and to always remember to use a clean mask every day.

Skin is also suffering from constant hand washing and hand sanitizer use. Moisturizing your hands after washing them can help.

Lastly, hair loss is another side effect of the pandemic due to a vitamin deficiency linked to poor eating habits. Stress and anxiety can also cause hair loss and worsen a hair-pulling disorder known as trichotillomania.

Back and Neck

Most people who worked in an office before the pandemic now work at home. Without a proper working area, people are sitting on their couches, at their kitchen tables, or even working from bed. The end result is poor posture and bad support. People are reporting backaches, wrist injuries including carpal tunnel syndrome, neck strain, and other pains and aches from sitting in front of the computer for too long.

Repetitive stress injuries usually show symptoms gradually and may not show up for months after they occur.

Heart

The pandemic has also caused a lot of people to slack off on diet and exercise regimens and skipping routine medical appointments. Many medical offices shut down for some time to accommodate COVID-19 patients. As a result, people aren’t getting the preventive care they need or the regular checks they need. People can have blood pressure or cholesterol problems without even knowing about it. Or, people are not getting their prescriptions refilled. Regardless, the pandemic is causing many people to ignore their health problems and it’s affecting their hearts.

Weight

Some people have lost weight during the pandemic while others have gained weight. Most people have experienced the latter. Six in ten Americans have experienced some type of weight change since the beginning of the pandemic. An international study of 7,700 adults found that 27% of respondents have gained weight since the beginning of the pandemic. Fewer than 20% of respondents lost weight.

Muscles

With the closure of gyms and weights sold out in stores, it’s been challenging for people to find a way to consistently exercise. Sitting the majority of the day can weaken the back muscles and cause lower cross syndrome—a condition that occurs in the gluteus medius and causes numbness in your backside or butt area as well as hip and back pain. Walking and stretching regularly can help activate your butt muscles.

Feet

One of the benefits of the pandemic is that many women stopped wearing high heels resulting in happier feet. However, those that walk around barefoot or in socks all day, risk developing heel pain and tendinitis. Having a designated pair of cushioned shoes to wear around the house can help provide arch support and prevent foot problems.

Teeth

According to the American Dental Association, or the ADA, 70% of 2,300 nationwide dentists reported seeing an increase of clenching and teeth grinding. The increase is likely due to stress. As a result of the excessive clenching and grinding, there has also been an increase in chipped teeth, cracked teeth, and TMJ disorder symptoms such as headaches and jaw pain.

Lastly, fewer people are visiting the dentist for routine checkups and cleanings. This is resulting in delayed treatment for problems and more instances of cavities and gum disease. 

If you’re overdue for a dental cleaning, have a dental problem you haven’t yet addressed, or suffering from clenching and grinding or other TMJ symptoms, please contact us at Divine Smiles for an appointment. Our Woburn dentist wants you to maintain a healthy smile, regardless if we’re in the middle of a pandemic. Please call us at (781) 396-8558 to book an appointment at our Boston-area dental office.