As the situation with the new coronavirus COVID-19 continues to evolve, I've outlined what clients can expect from me as their healthcare practitioner and what I request from them when attending appointments. In this blog I share some additional thoughts on keeping up to date with good information, and looking after your emotional wellbeing and mental health.
There is so much information online about COVID-19 that it can easily feel overwhelming. This includes a lot of fake health advice circulating on social media, such as messages claiming to be forwarded from Stanford professors or the Centre for Disease Control (CDC). Make sure you are awake to the possibility of fake news and check against information on reputable websites (I have listed some below), and of course follow instructions given to you directly by your doctor or NHS officials.
Hand sanitising gels or wipes are not a substitute for washing with soap and water, which remains one of the primary pieces of advice by WHO, NHS and CDC. If you need to use hand sanitisers (eg if you have limited access to wash basins) then use alcohol-based ones as these kill viruses. If you do have access to soap and water, you may want to consider those who need alcohol wipes and sanitisers already, such as people with catheters or those with ongoing wound care and limited mobility. You might also want to use natural soaps rather than antibacterial soaps, which may better maintain the health of your skin microbiome. There's a useful video on the NHS website showing how to wash your hands thoroughly as well as advice on other ways to maintain good hygiene.
One of the heartening things about challenging times is when communities pull together. However, the response to COVID-19 currently involves limiting social contact and avoiding touch; both of which are essential to our wellbeing. This, together with the many unknowns and the style of news reporting can be very upsetting and anxiety-provoking. Take your mental health seriously and incorporate practices into your day to support your emotional wellbeing (I can help you with ideas). Please reach out to friends, family and your healthcare practitioners if you are feeling isolated or struggling with worries, and inform your support network if you are practising social distancing. For more support, you can also book an online appointment with me, or contact the Samaritans on 116 123 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Please check on people in your community – friends, family or neighbours – who may be finding it tough or getting lonely staying at home. Use your phone, social media and online video options like Skype or WhatsApp to do this and stay in touch over the coming weeks.
Above all, please be aware rather than alarmed, be careful about hygiene and committed to protecting others.
NHS 111 COVID-19 service
UK government information