How has COVID-19 impacted our health?

March 10, 2022

Two years after the outbreak of COVID-19 a lot has changed in our daily lives. While it seems the restrictions are a thing of the past in many countries, the impact of the pandemic on our overall health will last longer according to the experts. Not only the long-term effects of COVID-19 itself but the less visible changes and consequences after two years of intermittent lock-downs, restrictions, uncertainty, and stress.

Join us in analyzing how the virus and the pandemic have impacted our overall health with data from the Global Healthy Thinking Report, the largest consumer awareness survey to date with over 15,000 people interviewed across 15 countries worldwide.

COVID-19 made us more aware of air quality

One of the main changes COVID-19 has brought is the increase of concern about indoor air quality. While outdoor air quality has always been part of the conversation due to its connection with pollution, the breakout of COVID-19 made people everywhere more aware of the air inside their homes. Data from the Global Healthy Thinking Reports shows how 36% of people everywhere are now more concerned about their indoor air quality and only 22% perceive it as excellent. Likewise, the overall feeling is that poor indoor air quality has a negative impact on their health being “feeling stressed or upset”, “having difficulties to sleep” and “feeling physically dirty” the most common effects.

What steps are people taking to improve air quality then? The favorite regular action taken by 46% of people worldwide is circulating the air more by opening windows and doors during longer periods of time. This is followed by regularly dusting and washing bedding (37%) and vacuuming more often (30%). Strikingly, in countries like China, Japan, and Thailand, the use of air purification systems is on the rise, and running one at home is the go-to option along with ventilating more.

Mentally unhealthier after the pandemic

While many people report feeling physically about the same than before the pandemic – except for Italians who claim to feel physically worse (25%) – mental health seems to be the most affected after this global health crisis. Globally, 26% of people feel mentally unhealthier and this is peaking in Italy (39%), Brazil (37%), the UK (34%), and Spain (31%). Reportedly, those countries suffered longer lock-downs and harder restrictions1.

Strikingly, there is also a positive outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the UN, COVID-19 accelerated positive momentum in our communities to raise awareness about mental health issues and increased accessibility to support and services. Indeed, 25% of the population is now taking more care of their mental wellbeing, which seems to have become easier partly thanks to technology. As the American Psychological Association states, self-help apps are democratizing access to therapy and support services.

We have missed more dental appointments

Globally, only 21% haven’t noticed any changes to their oral health after the pandemic. The main impact COVID-19 has had on our oral health is that we have missed many dental appointments due to restrictions and lock-downs (28%). Contrastingly, people are now cleaning their teeth (27%) and using mouthwash more regularly (22%), which might be indicative of increased awareness about the importance of oral health. This is not only true for oral health, as you can read next. Read more on how COVID-19 impacted our oral health here.

We have undertaken major lifestyle changes

The global top three wellbeing changes we have undertaken after the pandemic are exercising more (33%), eating a healthier diet (31%), and improving skincare (26%). Likewise, the most popular activities to improve our wellbeing have been doing more physical exercise (52%) and having regular walk&talks with friends or family (43%).

As the virus and infection numbers grew so did our concern to boost our immunity, resulting in more and more people taking on new habits to improve their health. The favorite actions to increase immunity and improve general health are, again, exercising more (33%) and lowering the levels of stress (29%), closely followed by taking vitamin supplements (28%), eating a more balanced diet (26%) and getting more sleep (26%).

Although the past two years have been challenging, we always try to look at the bright side of life. It seems the pandemic has made us more aware of our own health and well-being, driving lifestyle changes that we hope will last over time. With our vision and solutions, we at SUNSTAR are dedicated to helping you achieve those goals and live longer healthier.

Read here the latest recommendations of the WHO regarding the COVID-19 outbreak.

Download a copy of the Global Healthy Thinking Report here.