By Team EarPeace
Your hearing is a critical part of your health. The big picture of your overall wellness is what’s most important right now. Our concern for your total well-being has never been greater now that we are face-to-face with the Coronavirus pandemic. Coronavirus in the US is spreading rapidly. As of March 22, CNN reports that the number of Coronavirus cases in the country have risen beyond 30,000. The current growth is exponential and the protocols appear to be constantly changing. We want to make sure you have the best references given such uncertainty. With trusted information we can live our best lives during this hectic and unsettling time. Here is our current thinking on information and strategies needed to stay happy and healthy.
It’s not just enough to know that Coronavirus is wreaking havoc globally and locally. Understanding the symptoms, how to protect yourself, and what to do if you think you’re sick are critical. Coronavirus is a family of respiratory illnesses. COVID-19 is the novel strain of Coronavirus we’re currently dealing with. Mild symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. These symptoms can occur within 2-14 days of exposure to the virus. Persistent chest pressure and pains, difficulty breathing, confusion, and bluish lips or face are symptoms of more severe cases. These symptoms can occur quickly and need immediate medical attention.
Understanding a virus goes beyond understanding its symptoms. Precaution protocol and knowing what to do if you are unwell is critical. The only way you can feel confident in making sure you’re taking the right steps, is to turn to those you can trust the most to give you all the facts. Here’s a list of organizations we know can provide you answers to all the difficult questions posed by Coronavirus.
Resources We Trust
CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Located in Atlanta, Georgia, the CDC is one of the world’s most trusted organizations when it comes to dissecting the intricacies of diseases of all kinds, acting quickly to find solutions, and educating the public.
Currently the CDC is offering public resources in the formats of print, video, and online information. These resources cover topics such as what to do if you’re infected, how to prepare for the virus, information for how medical professionals can educate and help their communities, and the necessary precautions for those who have to travel.
The CDC also allows access to the Public Health Image Library, a library available to health professionals, the media, laboratory scientists, educators, and students, so that as much information as possible can be disseminated in a democratized fashion. .
WHO (World Health Organization)
With its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, WHO is comprised of a number of nations fighting day in and day out to promote topnotch and impactful healthcare all across the world. Whether it be medical access, financial matters, emergency preparation, or general education—WHO is there to ensure all the healthcare bases are covered.
They’re currently keeping up with major developments such as confirmed cases, confirmed deaths, and which countries have been confirmed to have infected citizens. WHO is constantly monitoring the situation, offering basic information and guidance, broadcasting press conferences, and breaking down the myths so that you have all the clear-cut facts. Their real time Dashboard is the best one available.
Public Health England
Based in the UK, Public Health England is providing guidance for how to handle infections in a variety of environments such as general healthcare settings, the household, schools, large gatherings, prisons and detention centers, hostels, and assisted living homes.
Public Health England is also making sure places of work and industry are safe, including the freight transport industry and sea port industry.
Protecting Yourself and Others
All three of the above listed organizations suggest similar and overlapping measures of protection, prevention, and self care. Given all the deluge of information this is likely familiar but they are worth repeating.Clean, controlled hands
This one can’t be stressed enough. Keep your hands clean and off your face. We all need to wash our hands more often than normal, and for no less than 20 seconds. Hand washing is necessary after spending time in public places, and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. If soap and water aren’t readily available to you, make sure to stay equipped with hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. All of us also love to touch our faces. Make sure to avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, or mouth even if you’re keeping your hands clean. Sanitize your phone along with door handles and knobs around your house. Leave your shoes and items taken out at the door.Avoiding close contact is a must
Keeping 3-6 feet distance from others is also critical, whether in proximity with someone who’s sick or not. It’s just too risky to get any closer in the event someone is coughing or sneezing. It’s why we’re social distancing. We understand it’s no fun being cooped up at home, and that we all need to go out to get food and amenities to survive. It’s tough to stay completely quarantined, but we all have to avoid unnecessary contact for the sake of each other. Unfortunately, during a pandemic, isolation just comes with the territory. If you are close to others, cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Use your elbow or tissue just like you would in any other case. If you’re using a tissue, make sure to dispose of it right away. As is always the case with tissues, wash your hands after use.
What to do if you think you’re sick
This information is changing by the day so it’s critical to stay up to date on the latest guidance from from the CDC on what to do if you are sick.
Social distancing is hard enough on its own, but if you’re sick, you have to remain as isolated as possible. This is different than when you’re trying to recover from a cold, flu, or any other common illnesses. You are contagious with an illness that no one is immune to. Keeping your self quarantined is critical.
You’ll want to remain in a designated room, and use a designated bathroom if possible. We understand that you’re probably going to need a caretaker of sorts, and if that’s the case make sure to wear a mask in their presence, and have them wear a mask as well.
You should also avoid contact with pets and animals. While there have been no reported cases of humans transmitting the disease to animals, we just don’t know enough yet to say with confidence that contact with pets is safe.
Get Medical Care
If you feel you’ve been infected contact your doctor. In the event of an emergency make sure your doctor knows you’re coming. Both your doctor and the medical staff need to properly prepare for your arrival to prevent any further spread of infection. It’s also important to let your doctor know if your condition worsens. Don’t take public transportation to get to the doctor’s office.
Strategies For Managing Stress
It’s important to let it all out and be honest. This pandemic is scary. We’ve never seen anything like it before. It’s the first time we’re being asked to separate ourselves from one another and stay quarantined. We’re seeing grocery stores empty out, restaurants and businesses of all kinds are closing, major gatherings and events all across the country have been cancelled, the market is crashing, people are losing their jobs, and you can feel the unease in the air. However you want to look at it, this is a crisis. Times of crisis create stress.
Mitigating stress is such a huge part of health and wellness. When we talk about health, we’re talking just as much about mental and emotional health as we are physical. This time of stress can feel helpless and hopeless. Here are six areas of our lives we can monitor in order to reduce stress. We also want to unequivocally acknowledge that making adjustments in these areas simply may not be possible given what we are going through. These are best practice areas of focus and even small adjustments in small places can create meaningful and productive change.
Healthy sleep habits
Maintaining healthy sleep habits is key no matter what kind of stress you’re under. It’s hard to function when you’re trying to get through the day on little rest. And when times are tough it’s helpful to be able to think clearly. When under large amounts of stress, sometimes our thoughts race at night making it difficult to get the sleep we need. But even though it may seem unattainable, there are ways we can take control and get a good night’s rest.
According to Healthy Sleep, a web resource of the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, steps you can take to create a proper sleep hygiene regimen include avoiding caffeine, nicotine, or alcohol too close to bedtime. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants, and while alcohol may make you sleepy, it doesn’t allow for a deep, restful sleep.
Other suggestions include going to sleep when you’re actually tired. If you aren’t tired when trying to get sleep, chances are you won’t be falling asleep any time soon. Additionally, constantly checking your clock when trying to sleep only causes further worry that you won’t get the sleep you need, which is only going to keep you up for longer.
It’s also important to make your bedroom a sleep-inducing environment. You don’t want to spend too much time in the bedroom using the computer, or your phone, or watching television, or simply just hanging out. You need to associate the room with sleep so that your brain understands it’s a place for resting.
Maintaining a nutritious diet
We all understand that what we put in our bodies has a huge effect on how we feel. That’s why in times of stress, you need to make sure you help to manage it with a healthy diet.
When we aren’t mindful of healthy eating habits our stress can actually increase. Unhealthy food—or even skipping meals—may make us feel sluggish, irritable, unproductive, and emotional. And of course, we need to be monitoring our nutrition simply for the sake of our physical health—especially when Coronavirus is running rampant.
Make sure to eat breakfast and healthy snacks and meals. If possible, do your best to stock your home with nutritious foods as opposed to junk. Given that food options may be limited due to the pandemic affecting availability, just try your hardest to eat as healthy as you can. If possible, eat a medley of vegetables everyday for your vitamins to keep your immune system strong. Alternatively take multivitamin. .
Coronavirus in the US and throughout the world is creating a lot of panic and anxiety. One of the best methods for combating stress and fear is mindfulness. Mindfulness is a sort of meditative practice used to help maintain your center of balance, allowing you to connect with yourself and productively contemplate, instead of dwelling on dread and fear. Just taking a step back, breathing, and focusing your awareness on what’s causing you stress can do wonders to alleviate anxiety.
Mindful, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the practice of mindfulness, is currently offering COVID Resources to individuals struggling with anxieties surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic.
Staying physically active
Many health professionals recommend exercise as a tool for stress reduction. According to The Anxiety and Depression Association of America, exercise can effectively reduce fatigue, which promotes healthy cognitive functioning and a greater sense of alertness. When stress makes it difficult to concentrate or drains your energy, exercise is a solid remedy to fight the fatigue and inability to focus.
Exercise also gets endorphins going—the feel-good chemicals in our brains. When endorphins are flowing, we get a natural boost of healthy energy and we’re also able to sleep better. Simply put, exercise just makes us feel good. It’s good for our bodies and good for our minds.
Due to the pandemic, the gyms aren’t open, but you can always do your best to do any indoor exercises such as pushups or situps, or even general stretching. If you want to go for a run, just make sure to keep a safe distance from anyone else who might be out and about.
Maintaining healthy relationships
Whether it be romantic, familial, or friendly—healthy relationships are necessary for a healthy life. We need people to confide in for emotional support. That means closeness, companionship, and intimacy are important when it comes to dealing with stress.
Make sure you’re present for your partner, family, and friends. Be a good listener and show that you value their time. If so, you’ll get the same attentiveness that you may need when feeling vulnerable and scared. If you just cut yourself off completely from others and push people away, then working through any problems you have becomes impossible.
Right now, more than ever we need to make sure we can be there for others and that others can be there for us. If we don’t work to keep relationships healthy then we won’t be able to get through this together.
In these tough times it can be easy to find ourselves demotivated. We recommend flipping the narrative and utilizing this extra time available to most of us. Do you have passions and/or hobbies that you’ve been postponing? Is there a book that you’ve been procrastinating to read or looking to discover new books? Open Library offers a massive selection of free books. Is there an instrument you’d like to learn how to play? Here is a 30 minute walk through video of the basics of music theory. How about a recipe that you’d like to try out? Have you wanted to take a university/college course? Business Insider put together a list of 54 free courses from some of the top schools in the US. Here is another list of 1,500 free online courses compiled by Open Culture. Is there a documentary, album or mix you’ve been wanting to watch or listen to? Checkout this Fils For Action list of the top 100 documentary we can learn from to change the world
Having someone in your life with whom you can openly communicate is critical and sometimes that means reaching outside the home and friend circle. For some, there’s stigma surrounding talk therapy—as if there’s something wrong with the person seeking therapy. The truth is, we can all benefit from talk therapy. In fact, it isn’t a sign of weakness or sickness. Engaging in talk therapy shows that you’re strong and willing to make healthy choices to improve your quality of life.
Even if you have healthy relationships, not everyone feels completely comfortable with sharing all the details of one’s vulnerabilities or fears. This is simply because sometimes people feel their friends or family might judge them—no matter how close they are. The comfort provided by a therapist is that they remain objective. A therapist doesn’t know you quite like your family or friends, which allows the therapist to offer advice from a point of view with a different amount of investment.
If you already have a therapist and the pandemic is causing you stress, don’t be afraid to talk about it. If you don’t have one, and are able to afford therapeutic services, go ahead and contact one today. E-counseling is a great resource for finding online therapy services, and articles on how to deal with different stressors surrounding the pandemic.
This pandemic is confusing and frightening. Team EarPeace is in the same boat. The information resources here are the ones that we are coming back to regularly. The stress management strategies are core areas of focus recommended by hundreds of health professionals. Other good resources are LiveScience and WorldOMeter for updated information. Again, it’s overall health that matters and that means staying informed. We’re all in this together. Check back here regularly as we update on the latest.