Social Distancing Health Tips
April 22, 2020Blog
Has life as we know it been changed forever?
Let us discuss, keeping you and your family safe, sane and ready to continue with life once this is under control. What are we dealing with? We are dealing with a new virus in the Coronavirus family. This particular virus is called SARS-COV-2, the disease caused by this virus is called COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019). This virus is highly contagious and spreads by respiratory droplets(normally transmitted from mouth or nose) with talking, sneezing, coughing, or spitting. The virus can stay intact on solid surfaces for a significant amount of time. To date, it is felt that most people will have none to mild symptoms when infected with the virus. Others may have severe to fatal response to the virus. Those thought to be most at risk are people 60+ years old, those with diabetes, lung disease, heart disease, or a compromised immune system. There is a vaccine undergoing studies, but it can take as long as a year before a vaccine is ready for mass use. There are medications undergoing studies for treatment to suppress the virus. Please do not try to obtain these medications, as they are under investigation and must be taken under the direct supervision of a physician.
How do we protect ourselves and others?
Our best defense is prevention. If you are sick at all, stay at home. Contact your doctor or local medical facility if you feel you need further assistance.
Maintain good hygiene. Wash your hands with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds. Soap breaks down the lipid layer protecting the virus and makes it non-infective. Viruses are not living organisms, they are protein codes wrapped by a fat layer. If you do not have access to soap and water, use hand sanitizer with a minimum of 60% alcohol.
Wipe down frequently touched surfaces with the CDC recommended cleaners on a regular basis. Don’t forget your cell phones and computers.
Practice social/physical distancing. Keeping a distance of, at least 6 feet between people, seems to decrease the transmission rate. Currently, the recommendation is to STAY AT HOME. As I stated above, most people will have no symptoms or mild symptoms. These people can still share the virus. For this reason, it is recommended that if you have to go out in an area with other people, that you wear a mask. This will hopefully, decrease the rate of you transmitting the virus to others. See CDC.gov or Coronavirus.gov for easy ways to make a mask.
If you develop fever, cough and shortness of breath, please contact your doctor or local health department to get testing. Most local jurisdictions have a hotline number you can call for information.
What can be done to help my immune system?
The human body is a powerhouse. If we take care of it, it will take care of us.
First, sleeping for at least 7 hours a night is important to proper body function. Similar to a computer, your body must update on a regular basis to function properly.
Second, hydrating is integral to all body functions. Drink half your weight in pounds daily. Our bodies communicate via fluid transfer. If we are not hydrated, communication is compromised. This leads to malfunction.
Third, eating fresh fruits and vegetables is essential to building the bodies defenses. Eat 2-3 servings of fruits and veggies per day. A main building block of the immune system is proper nutrition.
Fourth, exercising boosts the immune system by helping circulation. Exercising 15-30 minutes a day is all you need. Last, but not least, AVOID processed sugar (donuts, cakes, pies, candy, soda). Processed sugars actually weakens the immune system.
What can I do to help with my fear?
We typically fear the unknown and what we do not understand. To learn more about this pandemic, go to CDC.gov, Coronavirus.gov., or WHO.int.
Avoid online media outlets, social media posts and YouTube videos, that are not from the CDC, WHO, or your local health departments.
Tap into your higher power, whatever that may be. Pray, meditate, reflect on what you’ve lived through to this point. Looking back to see the rough times you’ve made it through, give you encouragement, that you can make it through this as well.
Get involved to help others during this time. Helping others tends to take your mind off yourself and your fears.
Why do we all have to Stay at Home?
Since this is a new virus, we do not have an immunity to it yet. Meaning, we do not know who has the ability to fight the virus. Our best defense is to decrease the number of people exposed to the virus. Decreased exposure means less infected, less sick, fewer deaths. Less sick means our health system is not being bombarded with larger numbers than it can handle. Then the cases that do present to the hospitals will have a better chance of survival because the resources will be available to attend to their needs. So, STAY AT HOME to decrease the spread of the disease and increase access to care for those that need it.
What can I do to stay sane during the Stay at Home order?
I’ve loved seeing more people out walking, running, skating, and biking since this started. Kids are playing board games, cards and families are connecting again. Books are being cracked open, new languages are being explored and instruments are being played. Virtual meetings are no longer just about business. People are having dinner parties, dance parties, and dare I say, sip and chills. Be creative, get some rest, start a new hobby, revive an old love, now is your time to rethink life and what it can be.
What happens when this is all over?
Hopefully, we will not go back to the old way of life. Hold on to those things that made you feel good during this time. Continue practicing good hygiene, healthy eating, exercising, and fear/stress management. If you stay ready, you never have to waste time getting ready.
We are a resilient people and this too shall pass. The question is, will we be better or worse on the other side? My hope is that we will, for the most part, be better.
Wishing you all Love, Laughter, and Great Health!
Dr. Kathleen Sharp