This is our final blog in our series addressing the current health pandemic that we’re all facing so let’s start off with the basic.
Corona-Virus vs. COVID-19 Virus
There is a thin line between these two but the World Health Organization differentiates them here:
“Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19.”
“COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.”
The COVID-19 virus affects different people in different ways. COVID-19 is a respiratory disease and most infected people will develop mild to moderate symptoms and recover without requiring special treatment. People who have underlying medical conditions and those over 60 years old have a higher risk of developing severe disease and death.
Common symptoms include:
- dry cough.
Other symptoms include:
- shortness of breath
- aches and pains
- sore throat
- and very few people will report diarrhoea, nausea or a runny nose.
People with mild symptoms who are otherwise healthy should self-isolate and contact their medical provider or a COVID-19 information line for advice on testing and referral.
People with fever, cough or difficulty breathing should call their doctor and seek medical attention.
To prevent infection and to slow transmission of COVID-19, do the following:
- Self-Isolate – Stay at home and only leave for essential reasons (listed below)
- Social-Distancing -If you do leave your house, maintain at least 2m distance between yourself and others.
- Hygiene – Wash your hands regularly with soap and avoid touching your face with unwashed hands
- Courtesy – Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
- Healthy Living – Eat well, exercise and support your immune system.
Self-Isolation & Social Distancing
Under the restrictions put in place by the government, everybody should be staying at home and only leaving for these reasons:
- travel to or from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary
- medical need, or to provide care for a vulnerable person
- shopping for basic necessities, although this should be done as little as possible
- to exercise once a day – either alone, or with members of your household
Why is it necessary?
- Reduce the spread of coronavirus
The virus can be spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes expelling viral droplets into the air. These can be breathed in or can cause an infection if someone touches a surface they have landed on, and then touches their face with unwashed hands.
People can be carriers of the virus even if they don’t present with symptoms.
- Relieve pressure on our health system and personnel
Our hospitals and health care professionals are doing their best to manage the extra stress the virus is putting on our health industry. However, our resources are likely to be stretched by responding to considerable community concern.
- Protecting vulnerable people in our community
The most vulnerable group includes certain types of cancer patients, people with serious respiratory conditions and senior citizens.
Example of Social Distancing
Practicing good hygiene is extremely important at the moment. Washing your hands regularly with soap or sanitiser as well as not touching your face with unwashed hands and covering your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing can greatly lower your chances of contracting and/or spreading the virus.
At times like these, it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour which in turn can make you feel worse. There are simple things you can do that may help you stay mentally and physically healthy.
1. Stay Connected
|Connect||Set aside time to spend together to check-in and have open discussions. Here is a great way to explain the situation to children.||Set up group chats with friends and family and organise group video calls. You can do this on directly on your mobile phone, through Facebook or via your laptop through Zoom.|
|Play Games||Why not dust off those old board games and have a family games night or have a look at these fun games the whole family can play.||Jump online and find a game you love then invite your friends to play along. Here are some suggestions.|
|Reconnect||Why not write some letters and post them to loved ones (In Australia you can pay for postage online and drop at your nearest post-box without coming in content with anyone).||Reach out to someone you’ve lost touch with. This is a perfect excuse to reconnect by checking in on them (virtually of course).|
|New Friends||Join a Facebook group or forum based on a hobby or interest you have or something you would like to know more about.|
2. Hobbies & Projects
|Household DIY – Pinterest||Pinterest is your go-to for all things home DIY inspiration. Whether it’s redecorating your bedroom, hanging photo frames, building a garden or repurposing an old piece of furniture, you will get lost in the possibilities.|
|Declutter and Organise with Marie Kondo||Marie Kondo is an organisation expert and founder, who became a household name around the world from her worldwide best-selling book and Netflix series. Use her system to go through that spare bedroom wardrobe, the garage or that cupboard under the stairs.|
|Learn Language – Apps||When it comes to languages, some amazing mobile phone apps make learning a language fun and quite easy.|
|Learn Something New – YouTube||Why not use self-isolation to learn a new skill. YouTube is a treasure trove of ‘How To’ videos. You can learn ANYTHING from; knot tying to computer coding to nail art.|
3. Fresh Air & Sunshine
|Helps the digestive system||
Stimulates the body’s production of vitamin D
|Improves blood pressure and heart rate||Increases recovery time from illness|
|Increase serotonin levels||Increases serotonin levels|
|Helps white blood cell function strengthening the immune system||Promotes skin health|
|Cleanses lungs||Supports bone, joint and muscle health|
|Increases energy||Fights bacteria and fungus|
|Improves concentration and brain function||Aids brain function|
|Go for a walk or jog, just remember to stay 2m away from anyone you see out.||Throw on your favourite music and have a household or video-call dance party.||Find an online workout to suit your fitness level and set yourself some goals to hit.||Yoga, Pilates or stretching apps are another great way to keep your body moving.|
5. Immune Health
Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and junk food contain toxins and chemicals. Ideally, we want to decrease the build-up within our bodies to ensure it can function correctly.
Did you know that 60-80% of your entire immune system is in your digestive tract! Without a healthy balance of good bacteria within your gut, your immune system cannot function in a healthy fashion.
Healthy foods contain influential substances including antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, fibre and much more. If we don’t nourish our bodies with these naturally occurring elements, we leave ourselves susceptible to illnesses, nutrient deficiencies, and toxicity.
Stress & Relaxation
Stress worsens your immune response. Calming techniques including yoga, meditation and massage can reduce stress and anxiety. Ensuring you are getting enough restful sleep is also imperative as your body often uses that time to heal itself.
Maintaining healthy body weight and exercising helps your body perform at its optimal capacity. Increasing your oxygen intake and heart rate during exercise has shown to flush bacteria out of your lungs and promotes white blood cell activity. Exercise also increases the oxygen level in your brain which supports immune function.
Hidden infections can be a stressor on the immune system. Some common bacterial and viral infections include the herpes simplex (HSV), Epstein-Barr (EBV), Lyme disease and even some food intolerances. Practising good hygiene is also essential for protecting our bodies from infection.
For more information on ways to stay mentally and physically healthy during these trying times, click the button below to read another blog in our series.
If you’re concerned about here are some Australian resources that may help.
- The Australian Government are updating the Department of Health website daily.
- The World Health Organization is also a great source of information.
- You can call the National Coronavirus Helpline for information and advice about COVID-19 on 1800 020 080.
- If you are sick and think you might have COVID-19, check your symptoms using healthdirect’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Symptom Checker.