The Corona Virus, now a worldwide pandemic is slowly creeping into Nigeria. Maybe it is fully in Nigeria, maybe it isn’t, we would never know, we only know what’s being fed to us by the media.
Amidst the coronavirus outbreak, stockpiling has taken over across the world, Empty shelves of groceries, toilet papers, sanitizers, water among the many items are selling out fast as people prepare for self-isolation.
How really prepared is Nigeria Government and Nigerians? How fully aware is the public about the virus and its transmission? These questions and many more rings in my ear every time I hear of a new case and the panic begins to rise.
As the coronavirus spreads around the world, so will panic, fear and anxiety, despite warning of “do not panic”. But it is only human to go through a range of emotions as we learn more about COVID-19 (something we’ve never experienced before).
The first time I heard about the outbreak in Nigeria, I experienced one or two of these emotions which you might feel as panic increases
- Difficulty sleeping.
- Trouble concentrating.
- Anger, anxiety, worry and panic.
- Being overly sensitive about your health and body.
- Feelings of helplessness.
- Fear of people who are coughing or appear sick.
- Social withdrawal (this is recommended during this period anyway)
While the virus is unpredictable and the situation continues to evolve, we should focus on what we can control and try as much as possible to control the fear and anxiety.
According to an infectious disease specialist, DR Susan Rehm, these few tips can help to handle the situation regarding COVID-19 panic.
- Get your facts straight from credible sources
It’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest news from trusted sources regarding COVID-19. Be careful about what you read on the internet, especially comments and articles that are being shared via social media. Some are fake and false thereby misleading.
- Keep things in perspective.
It’s important to focus on what you can control. Take a break from media coverage or social media if you find yourself panicking about the news or an article you just read online. If talking endlessly about coronavirus is upsetting to you, change the topic of conversation when you can.
- Be mindful and self-aware.
Caution and preventative measures are extremely important right now, not everyone who coughs has the virus. Being self-aware is a big component of easing public anxiety. Focus on what you can do and should do.
- Try to keep some normalcy.
Try to keep your normal schedule and focus on activities that make you feel happy. If you’re to self-isolate or know anyone self-isolating, it is important to keep a positive mind, maintain some sort of schedule like reading a book, watching your favorite show or playing a board game with your family.
- Seek mental health specialist or talk to people if you can’t help the panic
He or she can help you identify triggers and give you tools to practice when you find your worry taking over.
Public anxiety will be high, and largely fueled by a feeling of powerlessness. When we don’t understand something that leaves us feeling like we don’t know everything we need to know to protect ourselves.
The only important thing that will significantly impact your risk of getting COVID-19 is washing your hands and trying not to touch your face, nose, eyes and mouth.
Here are some practical things to help limit the spread of the virus.
Try to stay at a distance from people, avoid the hugs, handshakes and kisses use a distanced wave, elbow to elbow greeting, leg bumps or just verbal greetings. Avoid public clusters while commuting to work and avoid social gathering
Practice at home
If you get sick, isolate yourself from the family. Take precautions when caring for sick loved ones. Clean and wipe shared surfaces more often. Try not to let your kids stick their hands directly into your mouth quite so often.
Wash your hands, don’t touch your face, sneeze and cough responsibly
Control your coughing and sneezes, use a toilet paper and dispose after use. Wash your hands as often as possible after contact with anyone or anything with hand sanitizers.
Not touching your face, and avoiding coughing on everyone else are some of the main ways that you can help to lower your risk of infection, and protect everyone else as well.
Overall, don’t panic.
The virus is not deadly for most people, stop the obsessive reading about the outbreak, get the needed information and move on and strive for emotional balance.