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Healthier Together: Young adults and COVID-19

Posted at 12:51 PM, Jul 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-31 14:51:49-04

Recently there's been an increase in COVID-19 cases among younger adults and older teens, but experts say there are ways to help stop the spread.

In Healthier Together, Dr. Amy Khan, Executive Medical Director for Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah, says while most older teens and young adults are not likely to have serious conditions or symptoms, they are likely to spread the virus to roommates, friends, family members and maybe even potentially coworkers.

Dr. Khan says it's a common misconception to think younger adults can't get sick. They account for nearly four percent of the patients currently hospitalized for coronavirus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says smoking has been highlighted as a medical vulnerability that will potentially put people at a higher risk. Older teens and young adults may be more likely to be vaping or smoking, so they could potentially have more severe illness.

According to a recent study in the Journal of Adolescent Health, cigarette use or eCigarette use among those 18-25 doubles their vulnerability to COVID-19.

Dr. Khan says, "The good news is that persons can stop smoking or vaping or cut down or change their habits and immediately reduce their risk for more severe infection." She goes on to say, "It's important to avoid excess alcohol use or drug use. Not only does that compromise our immune function, but it can really impair peoples' judgment so they're less likely to really practice those respiratory practices that would really reduce their risk of transmitting disease or acquiring infection."

Dr. Khan points out that you can still socialize and connect in a socially distanced way. Just remember to take precautions to keep those you'll be in contact with safe.

Fox 13 and Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah would like to hear from you. Email your health questions and story ideas to healthertogether@fox13now.com.