Corona Virus and Mental Health

The recent worldwide pandemic commonly known as Corona Virus or COVID-19 was first noticed in late 2019, when an unusual and rare illness was reported in Wuhan, China. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that may affect animals and/or humans.  In humans, quite a few coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections, from just the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The official name of this virus is “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2” or SARS-CoV-2 due to its relation with the virus that caused the SARS outbreak in 2003.

COVID-19 can be spread from an infected person to anyone who he has been in contact with. The disease spreads mostly through small droplets from the nose or mouth, released when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. People can catch COVID-19 if they breathe in these droplets. The idea of social distancing to contain the virus is so important because these droplets are too dense to travel far enough, explaining why it is important to stay at least 1 meter away from each other. If the infected person has been in contact with any surfaces, it is possible for the virus to travel from one person to another through the surface in contact. The possibility of the virus infecting you can be increased by touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, particularly after being in contact with people or uncleaned objects.  Constant hand washing and sanitizing is an essential way of making sure your hands are sanitary and not disease-ridden. 

Whenever you leave the house, wear a mask, and keep at least 1-meter distance from other people. If possible wear gloves or continuously sanitize your hands after touching any surfaces to avoid any germs. If you have been in close contact with or shared an object with someone who was diagnosed with COVID-19 there is a high chance you may be infected.

The initial symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to that of the flu, which may cause confusion amongst the infected causing a delay in their checkup. It is important that you do not ignore any symptoms and seek medical help as soon as possible. If you show, any symptoms, even if you believe to not have been in contact with anyone infected, make sure to self-isolate and monitor yourself. If you have been in contact with someone infected but do not show any symptoms, it is still crucial to self-quarantine for at least 14 days.  Self-isolation in such cases is important to avoid any further spread since you are more likely to infect others in the early stages of the disease. If you were tested and diagnosed with COVID-19 and have successfully recovered, self-quarantine is still a necessary step to take.

Mental Health is Important too

Making sure you are well informed and physically healthy is very important, but it is equally important to keep a check on your mental health. Living in isolation and away from the outside world for so long can have a very damaging effect on our mental health. During this difficult time, it is important to make sure you are not suffering. It is a blessing that we live in a time where even quarantined we can connect with people around the world. It is extremely important to reach out for help and have a healthy conversation about your feelings. Take a break from the pandemic and focus on yourself for a while. The constant anxiety of the pandemic is something we are all experiencing, and so it is essential we support each other in any way we can. From time to time, take a mental break from the constant updates and information you are being bombarded with everywhere. Find ways to enjoy, laugh, have a good time, and appreciate life indoors. Isolation can make a person lose their mind, connecting with people, talking to them, and sharing experiences that will make you feel that you are not alone in this fight. 

It is not much you can do about the pandemic except make sure you and people around you are safe and taking the necessary precautions to avoid spreading the virus. However, there are some simple ways you can stay healthy and help yourself deal with the anxiety of the pandemic. 

  • Keep up with your normal daily routine as much as possible or make new ones accordingly.  
  • Make time to do things you enjoy. 
  • Try to reduce how much you watch, read or listen to news that makes you feel
  • anxious or distressed.
  • Stay in contact with people by cell phone and/ or through online networks.
  • Be conscious of how much time you spend in front of a screen. Make sure to take regular breaks from on-screen activities.
  • Use your social media accounts to share and promote positive and hopeful content. 
  • Help people in your community as much as you can.
  • Be thankful for what you have.
  • Thank your country’s health-care workers and all those working to respond to COVID-19 through the various channels you have.
  • Be kind and generous. 
  • Do not discriminate against people who you think may have coronavirus.
  • If you require a mental health specialist, make sure you continue your sessions through virtual methods. 
  • Do not avoid any mental distress symptoms and make sure to get help as soon as you can.  

If you or your closed ones have been infected, it is extremely important to make sure you are keeping your mind calm and healthy. The health care workers and doctors are trying their best to make sure the people infected recover as soon as possible. Trusting your doctors and health care workers is the best option for your sanity and health. In this rough time, we all require your cooperation and support as a community. Regardless of what country you belong to, this is the kind of hardship every human in the world is facing, and helping each other is how we shall come out of this pandemic. 

REFERENCES

 “Q&A on Coronaviruses (COVID-19),” accessed May 19, 2020, https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/question-and-answers-hub/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses.