Men at Greater COVID-19 Risk Because of Attitudes Toward Health
Friday, June 26, 2020
SEATTLE - Many men believe they're less vulnerable to COVID-19, and that has consequences for how safe they really are during the pandemic.
A new survey conducted in the U.S. and U.K. finds women are more likely to wear face masks than men. Family medicine physician Dr. Scott Itano with Kaiser Permanente Washington says the issue is what he calls "toxic masculinity" - viewing manliness through a traditional lens in which men have to be brave and self-reliant at all times.
"They're less likely to be vulnerable or show signs of weakness," says Itano. "And I think wearing masks and seeking care from a doctor, to them, feels like showing a sign of weakness or being vulnerable."
Unfortunately, he says, this mind-set could come at a high cost. According to Washington State Department of Health data, 54% of COVID-19-related deaths have been men.
Starting today, face masks are required in public in Washington.
Itano says people don't just put themselves at risk when they don't follow proper precautions to avoid novel coronavirus exposure - they risk other people's lives, too.
"Even though a person might be a young, healthy 35-year-old man,," says Itano, "he could have grandparents or loved ones, or friends who are immunocompromised or at high risk for complications."
Itano says men's COVID-19 attitudes extend to how they manage their health in other ways. He says it's often difficult to get men to come in for check-ups.
He suggests they seek out the right doctor for them.
"Ask your buddies who they go to for their medical care and check bios online," says Itano. "Most systems and doctors have online profiles, where you can read about them and find someone you think you might get along with."
He adds it isn't helpful to be confrontational about COVID-19 or self-care in general. Itano usually thanks his male patients for making the effort to come in and see him.
get more stories like this via email
Roughly one in eight Nebraskans who have experienced hunger is a child. The state has a chance to help their families afford groceries, but must 'opt …
If you live in a flood prone community, soil health from nearby farmland may have something to do with it. Ag voices in Wisconsin say government-…
A Virginia group is working out ways to reforest former mines across Appalachia. The state has several hundred thousand acres of mine land, which …
When a Texas woman began her six-year journey to adopt, she hoped to affect one child's life. Felicia Lewis, an adoptive parent, is now making a …
Many parents complete their families through adoption, and November has been the month to encourage awareness, recognize those still waiting to be …
Wildlife advocates are pushing back on a bill in Congress which would remove federal wilderness protections from some Montana land. There are …
The Arizona Governor's Office of Resilience and industry leaders discussed clean energy investments in the state at Honeywell's facility in Phoenix Mo…
Women, LGBTQ, and minority farmers in Ohio face compounding stressors, according to a study from Ohio State University. Researchers surveyed and …