A COVID-19 Guide to Staying Physically and Mentally Healthy
Amanda Bektas, Pharm.D. - Clinical Medication Management Pharmacist
As a clinical pharmacist at Consana, I have talked to many concerned patients and loved ones about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to the questions we were all hearing a few weeks or months ago, I am now hearing more questions about how to stay physically and mentally healthy at home and what additional steps we can all take to help slow the spread of this illness.
Here are some trusted sources of information with answers to some questions we are all talking about right now.
Who is the WHO?
The World Health Organization is an international organization that promotes health and safety and serving vulnerable populations all over the globe. Their website can be viewed in English and Spanish among other languages and it is updated continually with topics like, advice on how to protect yourself from infection and facts to stop the spread of false information about the coronavirus.
Use this link to see information from the WHO about COVID-19.
What about the CDC?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is the leading public health institute in the US. They provide information on a wide variety of topics from preventable diseases, to smoking cessation and mental health. They have instructions on how to make reusable face masks and detailed instructions on how to wash your hands most effectively.
Use this link to see information from the CDC about COVID-19.
What symptoms will I have if I get COVID-19?
COVID-19 is one virus from the coronavirus family. This kind of virus can cause respiratory illnesses and common colds. If you are infected, you may have a fever, feel fatigued, or have a dry cough. You might also have body aches, congestion or runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. Some people who are infected don’t feel sick at all. That is why preventing this illness from spreading is so important. Some of the ways we are working to prevent COVID-19 from spreading are:
- Staying home whenever possible. This helps reduce our contact with other people and the virus.
- Maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet from others to prevent the spread of respiratory droplets from coughing, sneezing, and direct contact.
- Covering our mouths when we cough or sneeze, with a tissue if possible (then throw that tissue away).
- Washing our hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and warm water, for at least 20 seconds.
- Isolating ourselves, even from our immediate families if possible, when we are sick.
Should I still go to my doctor’s appointments?
Depending on what type of visit you have scheduled with your health care provider, they may be able to meet with you “virtually” by phone or video chat, or they may still want to see you in person. Call the office if you are worried or unsure. Some offices are also asking screening questions to see if you have a fever or a cough so they can keep symptomatic people in separate waiting areas.
Many doctor’s offices, pharmacies, hospitals, and other care providers are experiencing a higher demand than normal right now. It is a good idea to call ahead of time if you have a question or request, so that you don’t run out of a medication or medical supply or miss an appointment.
How can I stay mentally and physically healthy at home?
Social distancing and isolation techniques have many of us in our homes and alone much more than we are used to. Here are some things you can do to make sure you stay as healthy as possible both mentally and physically.
- Get some form of physical exercise every day. Try to do some physical activity every day, even if you can’t go outside. You don’t need to use equipment or break a sweat. Just use your own body weight and do what feels comfortable for you. You can always increase the activity you do over time.
- Call a friend, family member, or neighbor just to check in. You can use a video chat or phone call to see how your loved ones are doing and stay connected. Try to reach out a few times a week so that everyone has someone checking in with them, including you!
- Find an interesting book or project you have been putting off around the house. Having something to do every day helps us motivate ourselves and keep our minds active. Maybe you have been wanting to try audiobooks or learn a language!
- Plan for your day and get into a healthy routine. Social distancing has brought many changes that you might have a hard time with. Try to be proactive and keep yourself from getting off of your regular schedule, watching too much television, or napping during the day. Many people are finding that planning a daily walk, cooking meals, and calling friends helps them stay productive and feel healthy.
The CDC has some more helpful resources on dealing with stress and taking care of your mental health at the website below.
Thank you all for the hard work you are doing to keep our communities safe and healthy!
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Stephens, a Simply Connect partner, is the recipient of the 2020 President’s Standing Ovation Award by the American Society for Consultant Pharmacists