Life Advice



Ask Amy: An elevator sneeze brings on panic

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Facing away from other elevator riders can reduce this risk further.

So yes, if the person who sneezed had COVID – or a cold – you could become infected. Your mask provided protection (the CDC describes mask-wearing as a “critical public health tool”).

Because you are extremely concerned, you should minimize the risks as you perceive them, while understanding that living in the world is something of a risky prospect for all of us.

Keeping up with your vaccinations, wearing a high-quality well-fitting mask, and washing your hands often are all proactive ways for you to minimize the risk of transmission.

You should ask your physician to assess the specific medical risks to you if you do get the COVID virus.

The new variants of the COVID-19 virus are reported to be very communicable, but weakened in strength – meaning that people are more likely to contract the virus, but much less likely to land in the hospital – or even the doctor’s office – as a result of the illness caused by the virus.


In my opinion, your extreme anxiety and panic response actually poses a significant and immediate health risk to you. Left untreated, your anxiety might have a far greater impact on your quality of life than a bout of COVID.

Dear Amy: My husband and I are in our mid-80s, in generally good health and are blessed to have our three children and their families nearby. We see them all often.

One of our sons has always been very careful about his diet and follows all the latest research on the most healthful way to eat.

Now, every time he visits we get dreary lectures on what we should and shouldn’t eat, what to throw out of our larder, what research to study, and what daily routines to incorporate into our life.


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