Coronavirus – self-care in a time of stress

pink-lotus-and-green-leaves-top-hd-wallpaperLocal and national governments around the world have made the decision to limit gatherings of large populations and encourage social distancing in order to protect us from the spread of the virus. And individuals and families are being told to work and be schooled at home. This much time at home can be stressful – especially with the panic gripping people around the world. Added if we isolate ourselves too much we put ourselves in other health risks which I outlined in my post: loneliness is a killer.

In this post I outline how to use this whole situation as an opportunity for increased self-care. If you find yourself alone as I do so often, remember that being alone is different to being lonely: being alone can allow us valuable time to really take stock of what’s important to us. Added to this I outline some simple stress busting tools – for if you are getting cabin fever staying at home.

Most importantly I have detailed findings from the most up to date scientific research about the coronavirus together with the most important guidelines to follow to limit your chances of catching it. Click on the text below to go directly to the relevant information:
How long it takes for a person to show symptoms
How the coronavirus is spread from person to person
Details from a new study showing that the coronavirus is stable for hours on surfaces
Links to official guidelines from the CDC and WHO web-sites

In addition, go to this You Tube video for excellent guidelines from the CDC on how to handle shopping you bring into your home

Overall, we all have a role to play to NOT be a carrier and transmitter of this virus and in turn, not put undue pressure on local and national healthcare resources. We also have a chance to be our healthiest selves and turning this time of stress into an opportunity for self-care and compassion. So big hugs, peace and love to you all … and take carewomensday-quote5

This time of limiting contact with each other can allow a great opportunity to check in with ourselves and create an environmental and emotional reset that could be beneficial for years to come. So connect with your family, clean that closet, start that art project, read that book, eat lots of home cooked meals, and above all please be sure to stay on top of your self care during this time.

  • Limit social media time
  • Drink plenty of water and cook nutritious meals
  • Finish a book
  • Allow yourself to settle into the slower current the distancing and isolation is creating
  • Meditate
  • Be creative…in the kitchen, making art, or with your conversations
  • Call an old friend
  • Spend some time in nature

Meanwhile here are some reminders for your everyday health:

  • Sleep at least 8 hours a night
  • Exercise – Sweat for twenty minutes
  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds after every public contact
  • Choose an alternative to handshakes
  • Refrain from touching your eyes, nose or mouth
  • Eat healthy – lots of healthy proteins and vegetables
  • Reduce sugar and caffeine intake

If you’re feeling stressed, please take this as an opportunity to become better at handling your stress—since stress greatly lessens your immunity. Simple ways to handle stress include exercise, yoga, meditation, laughing, time with loved ones and deep breathing. Another great resource for stress is to practice mindful compassion for periods of 1 minute throughout the day. To do this, close your eyes and imagine a person you know. Then imagine understanding all the suffering they may be experiencing and send them loving compassion. Breathe into the feeling this creates and send it to them. And observe mindfully how you feel as you do so.

Besides handling stress effectively, take intelligent action to avoid catching the virus. Below you will find details from the most recent scientific studies and the most credible sources about the virus. The key points are that:

  • infected people can show no symptoms
  • it takes an average of 5 days to show symptoms and in 99% of cases, between 3 and 14 days for symptoms to become apparent
  • the coronavirus is spread when a person who has it exhales or coughs. People can catch the virus if they breathe in droplets that are suspended in the air from a person with the virus who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick
  • the disease can also spread when these droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person with the virus who coughs out or exhales droplets. Other people then catch the virus by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. The virus can survive up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard, and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel. 

So please follow the CDC’s recommendations for cleaning frequently touched surfaces and objects every day. These include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables:

  • If surfaces are dirty, first clean them using a detergent and water, then disinfect them. A list of products suitable for use against COVID-19 is available here. This list has been pre-approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use during the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • In addition, wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water after bringing in packages, or after trips to the grocery store or other places where you may have come into contact with infected surfaces.

And again, it is important to stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick

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What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Some people infected with the virus have no symptoms. When the virus does cause symptoms, common ones include low-grade fever, body aches, coughing, nasal congestion, runny nose, and sore throat. However, COVID-19 can occasionally cause more severe symptoms like high fever, severe cough, and shortness of breath, which often indicates pneumonia.

How long is it between when a person is exposed to the virus and when they start showing symptoms?

Because this coronavirus has just been discovered, the time from exposure to symptom onset (known as the incubation period) for most people has yet to be determined. Based on current information, symptoms could appear as soon as three days after exposure to as long as 13 days later. Recently published research found that on average, the incubation period is about five days.

Sourced from <https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/coronavirus-resource-center>

The Incubation Period of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) From Publicly Reported Confirmed Cases: Estimation and Application.

There were 181 confirmed cases with identifiable exposure and symptom onset windows to estimate the incubation period of COVID-19. The median incubation period was estimated to be 5.1 days (95% CI, 4.5 to 5.8 days), and 97.5% of those who develop symptoms will do so within 11.5 days (CI, 8.2 to 15.6 days) of infection. These estimates imply that, under conservative assumptions, 101 out of every 10 000 cases (99th percentile, 482) will develop symptoms after 14 days of active monitoring or quarantine.

Sourced from <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32150748>
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How does COVID-19 spread?

People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick

Can CoVID-19 be caught from a person who has no symptoms?

The main way the disease spreads is through respiratory droplets expelled by someone who is coughing. The risk of catching COVID-19 from someone with no symptoms at all is very low. However, many people with COVID-19 experience only mild symptoms. This is particularly true at the early stages of the disease. It is therefore possible to catch COVID-19 from someone who has, for example, just a mild cough and does not feel ill

Sourced from <https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses>
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New study shows that the coronavirus is stable for hours on surfaces

The virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is stable for several hours to days in aerosols and on surfaces, according to a new study from National Institutes of Health, CDC, UCLA and Princeton University scientists in The New England Journal of Medicine. The scientists found that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was detectable in aerosols for up to three hours, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel. The results provide key information about the stability of SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19 disease, and suggests that people may acquire the virus through the air and after touching contaminated objects.

Sourced from <https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/new-coronavirus-stable-hours-surfaces>
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Additional reliable resources

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