By now, I am sure all of you are aware of what coronavirus (COVID-19) is, as well as the havoc it is causing all around the world. It is scary to think about how quickly this virus is spreading and what it can easily become if it does not get contained. As a person part of the "high risk" community, I am not scared about this virus. I am aware of the outcome — my team of doctors has a plan in place if I were to contract it. But that doesn't make me scared. What makes me scared is how people are reacting because of it.
With that being said, here are five pieces of advice, from a person with a compromised immune system during this chaos.
1. Be safe
The best way to prevent this illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. As I am sure you have heard thousands of times over the last few weeks, WASH YOUR HANDS. If you have to cough, cough into your sleeve. Use hand sanitizer when possible. Practice social distancing by keeping at least six feet apart from each other and wear a face mask if you are sick. This is a very contagious virus and it is more dangerous and deadly to those with chronic and weakened immune systems and older people.
2. Be smart
If you feel under the weather, feel sick, or just have a feeling that something doesn't feel right, stay home and call your doctor. There is a higher chance that you have a cold, the flu, or allergies than this virus. But even those illnesses should be taken seriously, too. Those, like the virus, can also be prevented from spreading if you stay home and rest until you are completely better! The one who stayed away will save the rest. Make sure you stock up on only the necessities. Nobody needs cases of hand sanitizer or toilet paper and the more people that have it, the better off we will all be at killing this virus.
3. Don't panic
If you feel ill, obviously don't downplay the symptoms. But remind yourself, that with the weather constantly changing, and it still being cold/flu season, allergies and seasonal illnesses are still an option. Listen to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Social media sites and the news have a way of sending us into different directions and creating general hysteria. The truth is: everyone has something to say about this virus. But it is the CDC's job to inform us firsthand of any updates going on with this virus.
It is important to stay focused on reality.
4. Be kind
There is going to be a lot of changes happening over the next few weeks and if you're anything like me, you're not very good with change. Each of us is going to have to change our ways of living for a little bit in order to get back on with our lives. Be gentle with each other. We are all doing the best we can with what we have.
5. Take care of yourself emotionally
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Make sure you are getting enough sleep and are continuing to take care of yourself. Cabin fever is a real thing but who says that staying home must be torture? Read a book. Do some yard work. Clean your closet. Play some games with your family. Watch Netflix. Catch up on everything that you've been putting off. It doesn't have to be a complete change. It is important to also keep some normalcy in your day. If you work, and your job offers it, work from home. If you are a student, and your school is participating in online courses, go to school online. Keep yourself busy, while also keeping yourself sane.
Remind yourself that even though we are living in a mess right now, we are going to be OK.
Now, go wash your hands.