The world is on high alert as the coronavirus continues to spread, with the first confirmed death in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have warned that it’s not a matter of if the virus becomes an outbreak in the United States, but when. The CDC is urging community preparedness and a prepared outbreak response. But what does this mean for us and how can we protect ourselves?
Enter social distancing. This term is being used by public health officials to describe actions taken to stop or slow down the spread of highly contagious diseases like the coronavirus. The idea is to avoid large public gatherings and limit close contact with others to reduce the likelihood of transmitting germs.
Social distancing also includes physical distancing in the workplace and other community areas you regularly frequent. The CDC is recommending businesses, state and other local agencies make contingency plans that include teleworking or distance options. Schools or universities may plan to schedule online classes or utilize distance or web-based learning.
But what about mental health? With the possibility of social isolation looming, online therapy is becoming an increasingly important option for those who may need support during this time. It’s important to take care of both our physical and mental health during this uncertain time. Stay informed, stay safe, and don’t hesitate to reach out for help if you need it.
How do I practice social distancing?
Social distancing might just be the answer! It’s a great alternative for the general public to stay safe and healthy. So, let’s dive into some suggestions on how you can practice social distancing effectively, ranked in order of potential effectiveness. Are you ready to take control of your health and well-being? Let’s go!:
- Limit exposure to other people within six feet unless you know their health condition.
- Minimize exposure to enclosed crowded spaces such as movie theaters, libraries, grocery stores, schools, malls, etc.
- Use personal protective equipment, such as N95 masks, if you must get within six feet of anyone outside your immediate family or if you must go into an enclosed crowded space. It should be noted that there is limited information on the use of surgical masks for the control of a pandemic in settings where there is no identified source of infection.
- Wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds after touching any item that may have been touched by others, or use disposable gloves (see proper hand washing technique).
- Refrain from touching your hands to your face, eyes, nose or mouth.
- If you sneeze or cough do so into a tissue and then dispose of the tissue. If a tissue is unavailable, cough or sneeze into your inner elbow.
Distance options and healthcare
Consider incorporating distance or web-based practices into your daily routine? It’s a great way to stay safe and healthy while still being productive!
If you have a college student in the family, check if their classes can be accessed online or if their school offers web-based options. And if you’re currently employed, why not ask your boss if they offer a work-at-home program? Just make sure to check the technological requirements and what you’ll need to access your systems from home.
And here’s another great idea – why not contact your health insurance company and ask about telemental services? Most major health insurance providers offer web-based health services such as online nursing, nurse practitioner, and physician visits. And if you’re currently in counseling or plan to start soon, you may want to consider online therapy. Some clinicians offer occasional online sessions, while others like Therapy Lady were exclusively online before the pandemic and already ready to help you through the transition. Stay safe and healthy, everyone!