More quality of life for vulnerable people. They deserve our support

Publication in: Brabants Dagblad 
Date: May 25th 2020

OPINION: The lockdown has been established to protect vulnerable people and to provide the correct care for Corona patients. The virus seems to be under control in recent weeks, but the lockdown measures have only partially relaxed. The argument is the threat of a second flu wave. However, lockdown measures appear to have negative health effects, which in turn makes us more susceptible to diseases.

It is time to support people with the right nutrition and social contacts so that the best protection and care remains available to everyone in time.

Risk of infection

Vulnerable people have not been allowed or wanted to receive a visit from family for two months. Support of informal caregivers and volunteers have disappeared. Loneliness, anxiety and sadness grow, people lose their appetite, and they exercise less and less. Healthcare workers must provide the care that would otherwise be provided with more people. Among them is the fear of becoming infected or infecting a vulnerable person who can die from the infection. The number of patients with delayed care is large. Time is lacking for care with attention, a moral conflict is growing. Anxiety lives throughout society, from young to old. Studies into the effects of the lockdown show negative health effects; eating less healthy, sitting indoors, exercising less, smoking and drinking more and sleeping worse. These are precisely the risks of developing or worsening chronic diseases. At least one in five vulnerable people was already malnourished before the lockdown. Chronic diseases and malnutrition make people more susceptible to infections.

Other measures

By phasing out the lockdown measures more quickly and supporting vulnerable people with extra nutrition, it is possible to cushion the next flu wave. For example, research shows that the right amount of vitamin D can protect people against serious flu symptoms. Vitamin D is produced by the skin under the influence of sunlight. Especially for the elderly, people with severe obesity or dark skin, the vitamin D concentration can become much too low. Supplementation [addition, ed.] can reduce the risk of severe flu. By reducing anxiety, allowing social contacts and sunlight for vulnerable people and at the same time reducing risks through extra nutrition, protection is created. The virus is less likely to erupt, there is again room for quality of life. Carla Peeters is director / founder of COBALA Good Care Feels Better. She worked for years on immunology and infectious diseases and was a director of healthcare. Carla Peeters is a member of the Economic Policy and Healthcare Committee of VNONCW-MKB Nederland.