Pandemic is a disease epidemic that has spread across multiple continents or worldwide. Some known pandemic diseases in human history are Plague, Dengue fever, Cholera, Meningitis, Chikungunia, Ebola, Poliomyelitis, Hepatitis B, Zika virus & the most recent 2019 Coronavirus.
The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was confirmed as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) on 11 March 2020. By that time 118,000 positive cases were diagnosed over 110 countries.
Coronavirus disease is an infectious disease. Common symptoms are fever, cough & shortness of breath. Other symptoms include muscle pain, sputum production, diarrhea, sore throat, abdominal pain and loss of smell or taste.
This disease does not show any symptom in the patient for initial 5-6 days, but it actively spreads to others through respiratory droplets & touch of an infected person.
The most effective prevention techniques are periodic hand washing (minimum of 20 sec each time), cough hygiene, quarantine & physical and social distancing.
Physical & social distancing means not to get near any person (preferably maintain 1-2 meter distance from each other), not to travel to another city, state or country, avoid all social gatherings, avoid visiting religious places/ malls/ theaters/ tourist spots so that contact with an infected person (also during disease’s incubation period) may be avoided.
To limit the spread of Coronavirus disease, governments of many countries have declared a countrywide lockdown (E.g. India, China, France, Italy, New Zealand, Poland, UK, USA, etc.)
During a lockdown, all schools, colleges, universities, hotels/ bars/ restaurants, many factories, call centers and many such industries remain closed. Also, social events like weddings, funerals, live concerts, and gatherings are stopped. Also, all the public transport modes are closed which forces people to stay at their home, either work from home or no work at all. These have worse effects on the economy and also on a person’s health.
Health contains both mental and physical components. W.H.O. warns about the effects of lockdown on mental health. Isolation, physical distancing, closure of schools and workplaces can naturally cause stress, anxiety, fear & loneliness at this time. According to a psychologist, there is a major risk of depression among these communities. Children are likely to experience worry, anxiety & fear because they no longer have the sense of structure & stimulation that is provided by schools & plays.
To avoid mental conditions,
- Have a routine as much as you can.
o It means eating, drink, work, sleep, exercise and enjoy on time.
- Consume a balanced diet. Stay well hydrated. Reduce alcohol intake.
- Routine exercises at home (a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise each day)
o Our body needs movement & exercises, as exercise is a known stress reliever & can help feel happier & healthier during this uncertain time.
- Walk (if possible)
o Walking improves overall cardio-respiratory strength and also improves lower limb strength, balance, coordination & proprioception. Also, walk elevates our mood. It is important to walk whenever & as much as possible. Walking up & down the stairs in a building can also do the trick.
- Declutter your house.
o Remember, ‘Cleanliness is Godliness!’
- Maintain community and social connections, of course from a distance.
- Continue serving the community.
o Studies have shown even small acts of kindness have strong & immediate mental health benefits.
Some tips & tricks:
- 10-10 min breaks in between work sessions.
- Eat & sleep on time.
- FitterFox – an app for mini exercises at home.
- Exercise videos – Aerobics, Zumba, etc.
- Dance on music.
- Play games that involve physical activities.
- Skipping rope.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Sunlight is important for our health. Try to get as much as possible.