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Finding calm during coronavirus panic

All in good fun; we know this is a serious issue affecting us all.
Hopefully this article written by Linda Lewis Griffith will help us keep perspective during these times of fear and uncertainty.

“The recent coronavirus outbreak is causing more than fevers, coughs and shortness of breath. It’s inciting a worldwide panic that may be worse than the disease itself.

Dictionary.com defines panic as a “sudden overwhelming fear, with or without cause, that produces hysterical or irrational behavior, and that often spreads quickly throughout a group.”

Judging by the rush on hand sanitizers and face masks combined with our unquenchable thirst for the latest statistics, it seems a panic is already in full swing.

Coronavirus is an unfamiliar assailant. We’re not sure how to handle it or where it will crop up next.

We want to protect ourselves and loved ones from its claws. And we’ll stop at nothing to reduce our risk of infection.

Those honorable intentions leap from caution to panic at the sound of a dry cough. We up the precautionary ante by keeping our kids home from school, canceling our travel plans, wiping counters down with disinfectant and wearing plastic gloves to work.

Then comes the emotional component. We’re inconsolably frightened and fretful.

Disaster seems to lurk around every germ-infested corner. Preposterous rumors send us back to the computer, scanning for the latest statistics of confirmed cases.

Panic may feel productive, but it certainly doesn’t keep anyone safer.

It wastes precious psychological resources and energy. It obscures accurate information. It heightens the sense of terror and urgency in an already tense situation.

And it increases the likelihood that people will start taking desperate, even disastrous, measures.

In fact, the added stress may actually decrease our bodies’ ability to ward off infection.

Coronavirus, known as COVID-19, is spread through contact between people within six feet of each other, especially through coughing and sneezing that expels respiratory droplets that land in the mouths or noses of people nearby.

The federal Centers for Disease Control say it’s possible to catch COVID-19 by touching something that has the virus on it, and then touching your own face, “but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.”

Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath, which may occur two days to two weeks after exposure. The disease is especially dangerous for the elderly and others with weaker immune systems.

So far, more than 94,000 cases have been reported worldwide, with about 3,200 deaths, the vast majority of them in China.

In the United States, 128 cases have been reported, including 10 deaths in Washington state out of 32 reported cases. In California, the first death was reported Wednesday, with 45 cases reported overall.

Yet no matter how serious the virus gets, panic will never be the best solution.

Take precautions, be informed and always follow the advice of medical experts. Just keep panic out of the equation.”

HOW NOT TO PANIC

Get news from reliable sources. Listen to county health officials, the CDC or the World Health Organization. They have the latest and most accurate data and guidelines about the disease.

Practice relaxation. When you’re agitated about news of the virus, take deep, slow breaths. Relax and shake out your hands. Close your eyes and sit quietly for a few moments.

Redirect your thoughts. If your mind is preoccupied with dire outcomes, change your focus to something more pleasant.

Limit exposure to media. Watch the news for specific periods of time to stay informed, then silence all screens. It’s easy to get overloaded.

Take appropriate precautions. Follow recommended suggestions for washing your hands, covering coughs and sneezes and staying home if you are ill. These simple actions are still the best ways to protect your health.

Article by: Linda Lewis Griffith

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