COVID-19 is affecting human health in more ways than the obvious, with research published in The Lancet Psychiatry showing that just one month into lockdown, levels of mental distress rose by almost 19% in some parts of the world.
The problems are not limited to mental health. Many people are also neglecting doctor’s appointments, preventive treatments, and necessary oral health treatments for cavities, gum disease, and the like.
Experts predict that the effects of COVID-19 may last for another full year. What steps can you take to ensure your health and wellness are protected during these challenging times?
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Tackling Stress Proactively
Stress management isn’t just about accepting things as they are or making a conscious effort to remain positive in the midst of the pandemic. It involves taking active steps to lower levels of stress hormone, cortisol.
When present at chronically high levels, cortisol can contribute to a range of conditions, including anxiety and Type 2 diabetes. There are many proven ways to reduce cortisol which are completely natural.
These include yoga, mindfulness meditation, and Tai Chi. Being physically active can also be of help, as can art, music, and other creative pursuits.
Ensuring Your Surroundings Are Clean
If you work in an office or you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, professional cleaning and disinfection of viral environments can help significantly reduce your chances of contagion.
If someone with COVID-19 has been in your home, then both cleaning and disinfection are required. Cleaning involves the use of water and soap, while disinfection requires the use of specific products with anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.
If you work in a high-risk job, additional steps to be taken can include removing your clothing and shoes immediately upon arrival to your home, washing and disinfecting clothing and other items like reusable masks and knapsacks, and disinfecting keys and other items that could have potentially come in contact with viruses on surfaces outside the home.
Keep Medical Appointments
Try to avoid postponing key medical treatments and check-ups, taking the lead on whether or not in-person visits are essential from your doctor or dentist.
Currently, telemedicine is on the rise, with a recent large-scale analysis of 22 studies showing that this technology is linked to positive health outcomes for people with specific conditions such as asthma and respiratory difficulties.
Telemedicine is also being used to attend to people with diabetes, cognitive problems, and numerous mental conditions.
One study published in the World Journal of Psychiatry concluded that video conferencing “is comparable to face-to-face care” in terms of effectiveness.
If you are worried about contagion at a dental or medical office, call the center to discover what preventive steps they have taken.
The CDC has published various recommendations for medical and dental practices during pandemic times – including the use of protective equipment, ways to implement social distancing, and the use of HEPA filters to improve air quality.
In order to stay healthy during pandemic times, it is important to practice social distancing, to take care of your physical and mental health, and to ensure your environment is clean.
If you have a doctor’s appointment coming up, inquire whether you can be attended to online. If you need person-to-person care, reduce your chances of infection by wearing a good mask and visor, and by practicing good hygiene when you get back home.