Expert gives advice on how to cope with anxiety amid the coronavirus outbreak

Your mental health during the virus outbreak

DETROIT – Fear and worry about coronavirus and its spread is taking a toll on many people.

The stress from it can affect eating and sleeping patterns, worsen existing conditions or lead to higher use of substances like drugs and alcohol. Mental health experts said taking care of yourself and loved ones can help you cope with the stress.

Clinical Psychologist Doctor Donna Rockwell said pausing and taking a breath is important.

“Because we are slowing down our own mental process,w e are calming down the fire of the amygdala and when we do that simply by taking a breath we are changing our whole brain chemistry all of a sudden our pre-frontal cortex is back online so we can figure things out,” she said. “It’s hard in the beginning because we don’t have any muscle memory for that’s why every-time you come back from your breath you’re training your mind to do that.”

Experts recommend taking breaks from news and social media. Take care of your body by eating healthy, exercising, getting sleep and meditating. Try to avoid alcohol and drugs. Make time to unwind and connect with the people you love.

MORE: Michigan’s number of confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases tops 1,300

How COVID-19 Spreads

Person-to-person spread

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?

  • Spread is possible before people show symptoms. People who are not showing symptoms can still be carrying the virus and can still pass it on to other people.

Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How easily the virus spreads

How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.

Prevention & Treatment

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

MORE: Beaumont Health launches coronavirus hotline for patients with symptoms

People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.

Question about coronavirus? Ask Dr. McGeorge here.

Read more about coronavirus here.

About the Authors:

Karen Drew is the anchor of Local 4 News First at 4, weekdays at 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. She is also an award-winning investigative reporter.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.