Good Saturday, everyone! As things around us start opening up and life looks to be going back to somewhat “normal,” let’s think about what we learned in the last few months.

The COVID-19 is just one of many diseases, past and future, to affect our world. We must take a look at our health and environment. We were warned repeatedly to the health risks involved for anyone 60 years and older.

Globally, for the first time in 2018, the age group of 65 and above outnumbered the age group of children under 5 years. It is predicted that by 2050, this same older group will outnumber adolescents and youth ages 15 to 24. We are an aging world. This means we have to be better prepared to protect and serve this aging older group of citizens.

Health at any age must be taken more seriously. We cannot go around being terrified over a disease. The coronavirus is a very debilitating disease. The healthier you are, the better your body will respond. Fast food, sugary drinks, excessive alcohol consumption, lack of exercise and lack of sleep do not help our bodies defend itself nor help us age well. Smoking is something everyone should think seriously about giving up. Weak lungs and patients being on a ventilator was something we also heard about. Unless you want to live in fear, then you owe it to yourself to make those tough but wiser choices.

Along with us being a healthier people, we also need our environment to be healthier. When so many individuals started working from home, and drove less, we made our environment healthier, which in turn makes us, and our furry little pets, healthier.

You see, car exhaust contains soot particles, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. All of these have dangerous effects on plants, animals and humans as much as cancer-causing effects on animals and humans. Car exhaust contains gases such as carbon dioxide that contribute to global climate change also. These gases trap heat in the atmosphere, creating a greenhouse effect that contributes to the warming of the earth’s atmosphere, causing widespread climate change. You can read reports about the changes seen in other countries as well as here in the U.S. It was predicted that in China alone, 77,000 lives were saved due to the reduction in the emissions put off by vehicles.

So, let’s not drive so much. Don’t make so many trips to the store. Work from home if it is offered and you can stand to do it. Eat better, exercise, drink more water, get adequate sleep and the next pandemic may not have the effect this one did.

Give. Advocate. Volunteer. Live United.

Sherri M. Askren is president of United Way of Danville Area, Inc., 28 W. North St., Danville, IL 61832. Phone, 442-3512

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