By Guest Columnist Dr. Stephanie Duguid
Our daily lives have changed drastically because of the coronavirus pandemic. The situation is fluid, and we are learning more and more about it daily.
What is it? Who is at risk? What is the incubation period? How can you help prevent the spread of the disease? How can you address the stress related to social distancing from other people? How can you stay active at home, while keeping your social distance?
Here is some information and advice from the World Health Organization (WHO) based on what we know now:
•Coronavirus, known also as COVID-19 or SARSCoV-2, is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. Symptoms are a cough, a high temperature and shortness of breath.
•Simple measures like washing your hands often with soap and water can help stop viruses like coronavirus (COVID-19) spreading.
•There’s no specific treatment for coronavirus (COVID-19). Treatments seek to relieve the symptoms until you recover.
•It's not known exactly how coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads from person to person, but similar viruses are spread in cough droplets.
•While we are still learning about how COVID-2019 affects people, older persons and persons with preexisting medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, cancer or diabetes) appear to develop serious illness more often than others.
•The “incubation period” -- the time between catching the virus and beginning to have symptoms of the disease -- ranges from one to fourteen days, most commonly around five days.
Since there is no vaccine, specific form of treatment, or antibiotics for COVID-19, the best thing is to try and prevent the spread. WHO suggests seven actions you can take to keep yourself safe and contain the spread of COVID-19:
1. Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds.
2. Avoid touching your face, eyes, mouth, and nose.
3. Avoid contact with people who are vulnerable. And if you can, wear a mask.
4. Cover your cough with the bend of your elbow.
5. Disinfect surfaces you regularly use.
6. If you feel unwell, stay at home and call your healthcare provider.
7. Only share information from trusted sources.
At this time, we are all surrounded by information (good and bad) from social media, newspapers, and friends. It can be a very stressful time.
Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include:
•Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones.
•Changes in sleep or eating patterns.
•Difficulty sleeping or concentrating.
•Worsening of chronic health problems.
•Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs.
Combat stress by:
•Taking breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
•Taking care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
•Making time to unwind. Try to do some activities you enjoy.
•Connecting with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
Above all, be sure to maintain your social distance as recommended by all health sources. Stay at least three feet away from anyone in your immediate space and be very careful about your activity around others. Do your part to stay healthy and safe during these times!
EDITOR'S NOTE: Stephanie Duguid is Dean of Academic Instruction at Co-Lin. She is also an athletic trainer and nutrition specialist and has been teaching courses related to those two areas as well as practicing what she preaches for more than twenty years.