Dr Shahnawaz Mushtaq
The number of Covid-19 cases in Kashmir has risen with each passing day. Though the health department is on alert, yet there is an equally strong need for people to be aware about the virus. Here are answers to some of the common questions about the risk and protection from coronavirus.
1. Should you have any visitors during this time?
No. Everyone, and especially the elderly, should try to interact with as few people as possible. Reducing the number of people you come into contact with reduces the amount of virus germs you are exposed to. However, you should not isolate yourself completely. You should have regular phone calls, exchange texts, and enjoy the company of family and friends virtually.
2. When I bring anything from outside into my house, do I need to sanitise it?
Items brought from stores have been touched by many people and could potentially carry the virus, which can live for up to 3 days on surfaces like plastic and steel. Items that have been packed or delivered by grocery services have also been handled by other people. Thus, lingering germs could be transferred to your hands. For most items and surfaces, washing with soap and water can break apart the COVID19 virus cell walls and kill it.
3. What should I do when I start to feel ill?
COVID19 symptoms are unfortunately generic: fever and cough, possibly shortness of breath. These are some of the same symptoms as the common cold and the flu. Plus, seasonal allergy sufferers may also experience similar symptoms. These somewhat generic symptoms may cause many people to wonder if they’ve been infected or if they need to get tested. Experts say that as the virus spreads, it will become more likely that you could have the new illness. If you feel like you have mild cold symptoms that you wouldn’t normally call a doctor about, then you should self-isolate at home to avoid transmitting it to others and take care of yourself with your regular cold remedies. This relieves pressure on the healthcare system and eliminates the risk of you contracting the virus in a doctor’s clinic or hospital. But if you have fever, cough or trouble breathing, and have recently traveled internationally or have been in contact with someone who has traveled abroad recently, it is recommended that you contact your doctor right away.
5. Should you go to existing medical appointments?
Many people have regular appointments with doctors, but going to a medical appointment could expose you to the virus. It is advisable to cancel non-essential medical appointments. However, for seniors, those regular appointments may be necessary. For important regular check-ups to monitor blood chemistry or take other physical readings, ask the doctor what they recommend to your specific health situation.
6. I am feeling anxious about the situation. What can I do to overcome my anxiety?
Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming. However, coping with stress will make you stronger. Things you can do to overcome your anxiety are:
Spend quality time with family members. Don’t sit idle.
Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
Give time to prayers. It will strengthen and bring positivity to mind.
Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate.
Eat healthy and well-balanced food, exercise regularly, and get plenty of sleep.
Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
Learn a new skill. Engage yourself in learning something new.
Get yourself absorbed in books and video/audio content.
Mental health is as important as physical health. What we store in our minds is reflected through our behaviour. The more positive we are, the more positive we will make people feel around us. Just follow all the everyday precautions and wait for this lockdown to end. Everything will become alright.
The writer is a PhD in Clinical Psychology from Aligarh Muslim University