Managing Stress and Coping with the Coronavirus lockdown

April 17th, 2020

The words on everyone’s lips these days are all about the coronavirus, also referred to as COVID-19. This is no surprise, since it has impacted society on a global scale. Many people have lost their jobs, others have been put on temporary leave, some are still working - it’s difficult to attempt to go about a normal routine with our world being turned on its head. Unfortunately, many people also know someone who has been impacted by this virus directly or indirectly, whether it be self-quarantining due to suspected illness or actually catching the illness itself. It’s difficult for many people to even leave their house, as fear and stress can cripple people as easily as a virus. Everyone reacts to stressful situations differently, but it’s important to know how to deal with stress in order to cope with such a monumental world event.

How to Deal with Stress

According to the CDC website, stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include worry or fear about your health and the health of your loved ones, abnormal sleeping and eating patterns, difficulty concentrating or sleeping, worsening mental health and chronic health problems, and an increased reliance on alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs. People who may react more strongly and become more stressed about this crisis can include those more at risk for severe illness (such as the elderly or immune-compromised), children and teens, health-care providers who are on the front lines dealing with this crisis, and people who have mental health conditions that can be exacerbated by stress. It is crucial in times like these to take care of yourself as much as you are able, and to avoid causing any unnecessary stress on yourself. Tips to cope with stress include:

1. Be sure to take breaks from reading, watching, or listening to the news or social media. Repeatedly exposing yourself to content about the pandemic can be distressing and can cause your stress levels to rise. Don’t oversaturate yourself with information about COVID-19 if it only makes you feel worse. It’s important to stay up to date with what is going on, but you must also make sure that you aren’t taking in more content and information about the pandemic than you need to.

2. Look after your body. It can be difficult to find the motivation to do much with thoughts of the pandemic swirling in our minds, but this is exactly why you should make the time to look after your body through deep breathing exercises, meditation, eating healthy meals, exercising plenty, getting enough sleep, and avoiding alcohol or drugs. Ensuring that your body is running smoothly will help keep you sharp and able to make smart decisions regarding your own well-being.

3. Take time to relax. This can be difficult to achieve, especially if you are stressed, but taking the time to do something you enjoy like reading a favorite book or watching a TV show is important for your mental health.

4. Don’t isolate yourself - at least, don’t socially isolate yourself. Physical distancing is still in effect and must be adhered to, but this doesn’t mean that you must stop interacting with your friends and loved ones. You can still do this through phone calls, texting, and Facetime (or other forms of video conferencing) if you’re craving that face-to-fact interaction while still adhering to physical distancing protocols.

It’s important to remember that you are not alone; we are all going through this turbulent time together. So, be sure to take the time to look after your physical and mental health in order to help cope with the stress of the coronavirus lockdown.

Avoid Viral Infections with Good Hygiene Practices

April 17th, 2020

When it comes to viral infections, including COVID-19, there are many different things we can be doing to protect ourselves and stop the spread. Here are some basic hygiene recommendations that everyone young and old can follow that can reduce the chances of a viral infection now and in the future.

1. Become a Hand-Washing Master

We all wash our hands regularly, which means that we all think we are washing them correctly, but the truth is that most people are not washing their hands correctly or for the proper length of time. These are the five steps, as recommended by the CDC, for proper hand washing:

1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.

2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.

3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice. Or sing through your ABCs. Dolly Parton fans can sing the chorus of “Jolene,” and Beyoncé fans can sing the chorus to “Love on Top.”

4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.

5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

2. Know When to Wash Your Hands

Knowing how to wash your hands is important but it’s also important to know when. In general, you should wash your hands at the following times:

• Before, during, and after preparing food

• Before eating food

• Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea

• Before and after treating a cut or wound

• After using the toilet

• After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet

• After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing

• After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste

• After handling pet food or pet treats

• After touching garbage

For during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is also recommended that you wash your hands:

• After you have been in a public place and touched an item or surface that may be frequently touched by other people (such as door handles, tables, gas pumps, shopping carts, or electronic cashier registers/screens, etc.)

• Before touching your eyes, nose, or mouth because that’s how germs enter our bodies

3. Be a Team Player

Are you sick, have a cough, are about to sneeze? Then you should be extra cautious for those around you. After all, a cough may feel like an inconvenience for you but for many people, whatever is giving you a cough could land them in the hospital, or worse.

People suffering from the symptoms of COVID-19, which include fever, dry cough and difficulty breathing, should seek medical care and avoid contact with others.

For people who are about to cough or sneeze, pretend you are a vampire and cough into your elbow. Or cough into a tissue and dispose of it immediately. Wash your hands after in all cases. Don’t simply cough into your hand and then wipe it on your pant leg. That doesn’t actually count as cleaning.

4. Don’t Touch Your Face

Viruses can often infect us through the most porous parts of our body, namely our faces. Our eyes, noses and mouths are basically welcome mats for viruses to enter our bodies, so it’s important to avoid touching your face unless you have washed your hands immediately before. For nail biters, this is the perfect chance to stop!

For more information on viral infection prevention, visit the CDC and WHO websites. McLean Healthy Smiles is dedicated to your dental health. Contact us for any additional information on our services or other tips for avoiding viral infections.