Pacific Ketamine Institute recognizes the reality that we are currently under a global health crisis: a pandemic in the form of a novel Coronavirus, COVID-19.
The current situation may evoke strong feelings of anxiety and uncertainty, which are further aggravated by uninformed comments or statements that spread fear, panic, and discrimination.
In these critical times, Pacific Ketamine Institute would like to invite everyone to work together in protecting and supporting each other in honor of our shared humanity with the first and one of the most important steps, by being well-informed.
The following are some need-to-know information about COVID-19 and some tips to maintain a healthy physical and psychological well-being:
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19, more commonly known as Coronavirus disease 2019, is a new strand of a common virus that is infecting people across the globe. Related to the Severe Acute Respiratory Virus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV), this strand has not yet been seen in humans and a vaccine is currently unavailable.
The outbreak was first reported in Wuhan, China in December 2019 and has since spread. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak a pandemic on Wednesday, March 11 after more than 118,000 cases of the virus were reported across 114 countries.
What are its differences from the common cold, flu or allergies?
To keep anxiety levels down, and reduce the crush on local healthcare during the coronavirus pandemic, it’s important to know the difference between seasonal allergies or other illnesses and the more serious COVID-19.
However it is important to note that some people who become infected, won’t develop any symptoms. It’s important to continue to remain vigilant on washing your hands and practicing social distancing.
- Shortnesss of breath
- Runny nose
- Mild chest discomfort
- Itchy eyes
- Runny nose
What are the symptoms and how can I prevent its spreading?
The WHO lists common signs of infection include:
- Respiratory symptoms
- Shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
In more severe cases, infection can cause:
- Severe acute respiratory syndrome
- Kidney failure
Most people (about 80% according to the WHO) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. However, older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness.
To protect yourself from the virus and to help stop the spread, follow these recommendations put out by the WHO:
- Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
- Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.
- Maintain at least 3 feet distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
- Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
- Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
- Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
- Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.
- Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.
- Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.
How can I protect my mental health in this pandemic?
- Stay in the know, but don’t obsess! It’s important to remain informed, but obsessing over every post about the virus might do more harm than good, especially to your mental health. According to Northwestern University Psychologist Stewart Shankman, “There’s a point where information gathering could become problematic…and could have the unintended effect of driving up your fear”, thus inducing more anxiety and panic.
- Focus on eating well and sleeping well. Evidence has shown that eating well, exercising, and sleeping help boost immunity and promote feelings of well-being.
- Try to maintain a “normal” routine. While it might be hard to keep up with your daily routine be it because you are working from home, plans/events canceled, etc., it’s important to stay engaged in as many of your normal activities as possible.
- Wash your hands, thoroughly and often! During an outbreak, proper hand-washing is your best defense against a virus. So, follow the evidence-based advice to wash for 20 seconds (2 rounds of singing “Happy Birthday” should do it!) or more using soap and water.
If you ever have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment to treat your anxiety,
Give us a call at (424) 359-1488.
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