Young adults need to take COVID-19 seriously

September 10, 2020 | by Adam Schriedel, MD
Categories: Healthy Driven Moms

As we deal with the challenges of life in quarantine, many young people continue to gather in large groups, not wear masks and disregard coronavirus precautions.

So it’s not surprising that more young adults under the age of 30 are testing positive for COVID-19. While the numbers may be due to expanded testing and detection, we also know that many young people are not physical distancing as they should be.

Experts are urging young people to take the virus more seriously. Even when they have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, young adults can easily spread the virus to older adults and those with underlying health issues — who are at higher risk for serious complications from the virus.

And while young adults are less likely to develop severe infections, some of them do develop serious complications and require hospitalization, even intensive care. Younger people with diseases like asthma, obesity, immune disorders, diabetes, liver or heart conditions are at greater risk of severe illness.

How can you talk with a young adult about coronavirus so they take it more seriously?

  1. Ask them how they feel about it. Find out where they’re coming from and their perception of how others are dealing with the pandemic. Do this before addressing their behaviors so they know their voice is being heard.


  2. Be matter of fact and honest. Young adults get much of their information from social media, so much is inaccurate. Make sure they know the facts, the risks of going out, etc., but try not to use scare tactics or your point will get lost on them. Keep it clear:
    • The more closely you interact with others and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread.
    • Masks help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
    • Indoor spaces are more risky than outdoor spaces since it can be more difficult to keep people apart and there’s less ventilation inside.


  3. Review the precautions they should take. Even if they’ve heard it already, remind your young adult to wear a mask in public, when around new people, and when social distancing measures aren’t possible. They should wash their hands frequently, stay 6 feet away from anyone outside the household, and quarantine if they don’t feel well.


  4. Talk about how their actions impact others. To be fair, teens and young adults’ brains are not fully developed yet, making them more likely to engage in dangerous or risky behaviors and less likely to consider the consequences of their actions. Remind them that by not wearing a mask and following precautions, they could expose a vulnerable person (including someone they love) to the virus.


  5. Be a role model. If you want your young adult to behave a certain way, you should model the behavior you want to see. Wear a mask in public and social distance. Also, try to keep a normal family routine, stay active together, and limit your news intake to reduce stress. Encourage video calls to connect with friends and family.

Read the CDC’s Toolkit for People 15 to 21.

Edward-Elmhurst Health offers a mobile app, MyEEHealthTM, which helps you keep track of your health from the comfort of anywhere. With new virtual options, you can connect with select healthcare providers online — keeping you safe and at home. Learn more.

For updates on our planning and response efforts as we work to stop the spread of COVID-19, please check

Get more information about coronavirus from Healthy Driven Chicago.

The information in this article may change at any time due to the changing landscape of this pandemic. Read the latest on COVID-19.

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