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Treatment and Mental Health

Existing Treatment

There is currently no official cure or prevention method for COVID-19. However, there are many ways to manage symptoms and prevent further spread. Vaccines are also currently being developed to protect more people from getting infected by COVID-19.

Antibiotics are not effective against viral infections like COVID-19.

Recently, the FDA has granted emergency use authorization for the antiviral drug remdesivir to treat severe COVID-19. The US National Institutes of Health recently recommended the corticosteroid dexamethasone for people with severe COVID-19 who require supplemental oxygen or mechanical ventilation.

To relieve symptoms if you or a loved one are infected with COVID-19, you can:

(1) Take pain relievers (ibuprofen or acetaminophen)

(2) Take cough syrup or medication

(3) Get sufficient rest

(4) Drink plenty of fluids

(5) Let your doctor know immediately if your symptoms worsen

It is also important to avoid spreading the illness to others by isolating yourself as much as possible from family and pets, wearing a mask when around others (including family members), and use a separate bedroom and bathroom.

Managing Mental and Emotional Health

Common Reactions

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone, from those infected to those not, so there may be a wide range of reactions you may experience such as:

– Anxiety, worry, or panic

– Difficulty concentrating or sleeping

– Feeling helpless or confused

-Anger

– Skepticism or bravado

– Social withdrawal

– Overexposure to media

– Hyper-vigilance to your health

– Feelings of loss or grief

– Excitement, relief, curiosity.

Managing and Coping

While COVID-19 is a serious public health issue, do not let your worry consume you. There are ways to manage your fears and anxieties, which also help lead you to a healthier lifestyle, mentally and physically.

Get the Facts

Stay informed with the latest health information on our website and online news sources.

Keep things in perspective

Limit worry and agitation by decreasing the time you spend watching or listening to upsetting news. Take a break from the news and focus on the things that are positive in your life and that you have control over.

Find activities that give you a sense of control

Simple tasks like packing, cleaning, making your bed, doing your laundry, going for a walk, checking on a friend, practicing a new skill, activities that are the opposite of focusing on worry can help you feel a sense of mastery and comfort. Listen to upbeat music, watch a comedy, read a book, etc.

Rather than dwelling in thoughts of hopelessness

Imagine yourself coping effectively and notice how you would act, what you would say or do. See yourself being effective.

Think about what you might say to a friend

about the current situation that would support, encourage or reassure them. Now say the same to yourself.

Practice a mindset of gratitude

Spend time each day thinking about three things you are grateful for. Picture holding these things in your open hands.

Anxiety is an emotion that tends to seek out confirmation.

While at times this can be validating, it can also intensify the emotion, leaving you feeling helpless and overwhelmed. Acknowledge your emotion with understanding, and then turn your mind to other things:

“It’s understandable I am concerned about the current situation, AND I understand that worry is not an effective way to respond”

Significant plans may be radically altered by the current circumstances

Try not to dwell in regret. Other rituals, forms of celebrating, ways of connecting, and memorable moments may well emerge from this situation. Inside emergency is the word emerge.

Be aware of ruminating with catastrophic thoughts and language. Something as simple as saying “that’s interesting” rather than “that’s awful” can be helpful.

Be aware of how your body can reinforce anxiety.

Do not stay in bed. Take a walk outside and notice things around you, especially nature. Take time to breathe deeply. Take care of a pet or plant. Organize or clean your room. Stretch often. Make eye contact with others and smile.

Be mindful of your assumptions about others. Someone who has a cough or a fever does not necessarily have coronavirus. Self-awareness is important in not stigmatizing others in our community.

Practice mindfulness and acceptance.

Focus on asking “what now” rather than “why.” Practice patience with yourself and others. Let things unfold and assume others are trying to do the right thing.

Focus on rational rather than emotional responses and engage in active problem solving.

Find out who is available to answer your questions, provide accurate information and guide you.

Keep connected.

Maintaining social networks can help maintain a sense of normalcy and provide valuable outlets for sharing feelings and relieving stress. Keep a sense of humor.

Utilize your thoughts to effectively manage worry.

For example, the WORRY CONTAINER skill is an activity in which you picture in detail a container or box with a lid that closes. Find the thing in your mind that you are stuck worrying about. Imagine moving this from your mind and placing it frmly into the container. This box will hold whatever you place in it. Close the box and frmly move it to one side, perhaps placing it on a shelf. You can go back anytime you want and take the worry out, or you can leave it there, giving you space to focus on other things.

Credit to the Harvard Univeristy Health Services, Mayo Clinic, and CDC.

For more information on how to take care of yourself or loved ones infected with COVID-19 or emotionally and/or socially impacted by the pandemic, visit these sites:

Mayo Clinic: Coping and Preparing for Appointment

Harvard Medical School: Current and Future Treatments for COVID-19

CDC: Coping with Stress

Harvard Health Services: Managing Fears and Anxiety

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