Stressing about the COVID-19 can leave you more susceptible to it
Anxiety, fear and stress is covering the air amid growing cases of the novel coronavirus infection, COVID-19. Experts believe that this is normal at some levels, however growing anxiety can easily get an individual in panic mode. Mentally everyone reacts differently to stressful situations as it depends on a lot of factors. A person’s characteristics and experience contribute immensely to the emotional impact they have on a situation and these effects are not the same in every situation or population.
Stress is a broad concept that comprises challenging or difficult circumstances. Research on how stress can harm your life has shown a direct link to low immunity as stress increases. To explain, our immune system is a collection of billions of cells that move in and out of tissues and organs, defending the body against foreign bodies (antigens), such as bacteria, viruses and cancerous cells. When we’re stressed, the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens is reduced. That is why we are more susceptible to infections. The latest science suggests that being fit boosts our immune systems, and that even a single workout can amplify and improve our ability to fight off germs.
Maintaining a healthy immune system is a lifestyle and has many contributing factors. It’s all about getting a good night’s sleep, eating a balanced and healthy diet and staying active. In all of this, mental health peace should not take a back seat. Sometimes we face stressful situations that cannot be controlled.
Adrenaline released during a stressful period has been linked empirically with dysregulation of the human immune system as per a report. In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, people can become more distressed if they see repeated images or hear repeated reports about the outbreak in the media. This blog will cover some of the practical steps to lower your stress levels, without hitting the panic button:
Assess your risk accurately
Social media and instant messaging apps are currently crowded with stories over the virus fears. At this stage individuals worry more about the perceived threat of the virus more than being affected themselves. The stress regarding a potential quarantine or testing positive for the disease is taking over the thoughts in everyone’s mind. Individuals needs to understand that their risk of catching the novel COVID-19 is probably low if they haven’t recently been to the virus affected countries or been in contact with people who were there recently. It is still okay to be anxious about the spread of the virus.
Follow trusted sources
With so much information that is floating around it is sure to increase your anxiety. Now, it becomes very important to reading the news from reliable sources and take breaks from the news periodically. Watch out for news from trusted sources specially news websites and government run portals. On a global level, websites like Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organisation.
While we look at how you should not get stressed with all the information that is around, below are a few good measures to consider while we anticipate the pandemic to subside.
Practice good hygiene
Health is wealth and practicing good hygiene certainly goes a long way to maintain good health. Simple practices such as washing your hands often with soap and water, using a tissue to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze and avoiding close contact with others are the things you can control. In addition, these are everyday practices that need to be followed even without a virus outbreak such as this.
Maintain Social Distancing
It is advisable to stay at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance away from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
Stay at home, rest
If you experience any symptoms or are experiencing a flu, stay at home. Take good rest. Researchers have demonstrated the importance of a restful body time and time again, proving it can contribute to the proper functioning of the immune system.
Sanitize everything, even your mobile phones
Your mobile is a device you handle constantly and often use it closer to your face, which means it too is a carrier for bacteria, virus or other germs. Sanitize your phone with sanitizing wipes or wash it often if it is water resistant.
Avoid large gatherings and public spaces
It is advisable to avoid big social gatherings and airline flights, given the rapid spread of COVID-19.
Wearing masks is not necessary for everyone
If you are healthy, you probably do not need to wear a mask. Mask is only advisable if you have you are tending to someone with suspected virus or if you yourself is coughing and sneezing. Also be aware of the proper ways to dispose a mask, should you be using one.
If you are unable to control the stress of the COVID-19, then it is advisable to seek professional help. A licensed mental health professional is certainly going to be your best bet to manage your fears while also empowering you to make the best decisions for you and your family.
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