What is Social Isolation?
Social isolation is a state of complete or near-complete lack of contact between an individual and society. It differs from loneliness, which reflects a temporary and involuntary lack of contact with other humans in the world. Social isolation can be an issue for individuals of any age, though symptoms may differ by age group.
Social Distancing due to COVID-19
COVID-19 is a respiratory disease. It grows in your lungs, and the virus comes out when you breathe. This is particularly when you cough, but researchers believe people with mild or even no symptoms can spread the disease. The virus particles come out of a person’s mouth and nose and settle on surfaces, where they can survive for hours or even days in the right conditions. Touch the surface, touch your face, and you can inhale the particles and catch the disease. If people stay apart, it limits the opportunities for the disease to spread.
That’s what social distancing is about. This is for everybody because you can’t know for sure that you don’t have one. This is what Health Canada advises for social distancing. Avoid crowded places and non-essential gatherings. Avoid handshakes, hugs, and other greetings involving touching. Wave hello instead. Limit contact with people at higher risk, older people, or people in poor health. Keep a distance of at least two arms’ lengths (about two meters) from others. Stay home as much as possible, including for meals and entertainment. Shop or take public transportation during off-peak hours.
The closures are a way to enforce social distancing, a crucially important public health intervention that can help stop coronavirus transmission by avoiding crowds and large gatherings such as weddings, concerts, conferences, sporting events, and mass transit. Best practice requires maintaining at least a six-foot distance between yourself and others.
You may have already come into contact with an infected person — the woman who rode the bike before you at SoulCycle, the kindly fellow who coughed while standing next to you in line at Costco, or someone who touched your mail as it made its way to your mailbox. (At least one study estimates that about 25 percent of transmissions of coronavirus may have occurred in pre-symptomatic stages — meaning it may be spread by people who don’t yet know they have the virus.)
The US government is now warning against all gatherings of more than 10 people. But how should social distancing affect your visits to the gym? Your weekly manicure? Playdates for your kids? Your weekend reservation at the buzzy Michelin-starred omakase spot you’ve been dying to try? Are those risky for an ostensibly healthy person like yourself?
What do you, as a responsible, socially conscious human being, owe to your fellow men and women — particularly those who are sick, immunocompromised, and older? Are you breaking the social contract by going to hot yoga?
If I have to go out, how can I do it in the safest way possible — to protect myself as well as others?
Kate Vergara, a public health and infectious disease specialist based in Chicago and New York City, has spent time-fighting polio in Ethiopia and helping Ebola survivors in Sierra Leone (without contracting either disease). In order to even begin to approach the ethics of social distancing, she says, we must have a firm grip on how the virus is spreading.
“COVID-19 is not airborne,” she says. “It is transmitted through droplets — being coughed on, or touching something that someone coughed on, for example, and then touching your face and allowing that pathogen to get into your system through your eyes, nose, or mouth.”
Kate Vergara Ph.D., MPH 3rd degree connection3rd Global Public Health Consultant. Chicago, Illinois. Says the disease is not airborne
There are different theories here. This was brought to my attention by a health care worker. I just finished doing some more research into how the disease is spread.
While the aerosol spread of COVID-19 would be terrifying, data we have so far suggest it’s unlikely — droplets seem to be the primary form of contagion.
The COVID-19 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.
- WHO is considering “airborne precautions” for medical staff after a new study showed the coronavirus can survive in the air in some settings.
- The coronavirus can go airborne, staying suspended in the air depending on factors such as heat and humidity, WHO officials said.
The virus is transmitted through droplets, or little bits of liquid, mostly through sneezing or coughing, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, told reporters during a virtual news conference on Monday. “When you do an aerosol-generating procedure like in a medical care facility, you have the possibility to what we call aerosolize these particles, which means they can stay in the air a little bit longer.”
Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, underscored the need for healthcare professionals to take extra steps to protect themselves when performing certain procedures— such as intubation—on patients with COVID-19, or those suspected of infection.
“When you do an aerosol-generating procedure like in a medical care facility, you have the possibility to what we call aerosolize these particles, which means they can stay in the air a little bit longer,” Dr. Van Kerkhove said.
Medical staff is especially advised to take precautions as they usually perform aerosol-generating procedures and thus are more susceptible to infection than anyone else.
The airborne spread of COVID-19 has not been reported so far and it is transmitted mostly through respiratory droplets and close contact, Regional Director of WHO South-East Asia Dr. Poonam Khetarpal Singh said on Monday.
Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia said, “Airborne spread has not been reported for COVID-19. Based on the information received so far and on our experience with other coronaviruses, COVID-19 appears to spread mostly through respiratory droplets (for instance produced when a sick person coughs) and close contact. This is why the WHO recommends maintaining hand and respiratory hygiene.”
Adding to her statement Dr. Singh said, “The Chinese authorities reported that there could be a possibility of aerosol transmission in a relatively closed environment with prolonged exposure to high concentrations of aerosols, like in ICUs and CCUs in hospitals, but more investigations and analysis of epidemiological data is needed to understand this mode of transmission of the virus.”
Self Quarantine Problems
Humans are hardwired to interact with others, especially during times of stress. When we go through a trying ordeal alone, a lack of emotional support and friendship can increase our anxiety and hinder our coping ability.
New United Kingdom research has shown how being in quarantine, which is a common situation for many people around the world right now due to the current COVID-19 outbreak, could have a long-term effect on mental health.
Carried out by a team from King’s College London, the new research looked at 24 previous studies which had investigated the psychological impact of quarantine during previous disease outbreaks across ten countries, including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Ebola, H1N1 influenza, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and equine influenza.
The findings, published in The Lancet, showed that quarantine can produce a wide range of psychological effects, including post-traumatic stress symptoms, depression, feelings of confusion, anger, and fear, and even substance misuse.
The team also added that some of these negative effects, most notably post-traumatic stress symptoms, can affect people long term and that health-care workers and those with a history of psychiatric disorder were most vulnerable to the effects.
Other factors that influenced the level of psychological impact on those in quarantine included, perhaps unsurprisingly, the length of time spent in quarantine, feelings of boredom, frustration, and fear, a lack of basic supplies such as food, water, and clothes, and a lack of quality information.
After having been quarantined, losing money due to stopping work and the stigma around the disease were also both linked to mental health problems.
Since the outbreak of the current COVID-19 outbreak, many countries have asked people to self-quarantine at or in a quarantine facility. The team commented that to help reduce the negative mental health effects during the outbreak, quarantine should last for no longer than necessary, health officials should provide clear information to those in quarantine, as well as sufficient supplies, and that the public should be reminded about the benefits of quarantine for the whole of society.
Lead author Dr. Samantha Brooks commented on the findings saying, “Going into quarantine is an isolating and often fearful experience and our study found that it has negative psychological effects. The finding that these effects can still be detected months or years down the line, albeit from a small number of studies, is of particular concern and indicates that measures should be put in place during the quarantine planning process to minimize these psychological impacts.”
GUIDELINE FOR SELF-QUARANTINE IN NON-HEALTHCARE SETTINGS
ALLOCATE A SEPARATE ROOM
If someone has been overseas or suspecting infected with any type of COVID-19, allocate them a separate room until they confirm the situation. The room should have better ventilation. Family members should stay in a separate room without contacting the suspected one. Don’t let others go inside the room when someone is under self-quarantine. Don’t leave the room when you are under self-quarantine.
ALLOCATE A SEPARATE BATHROOM
Don’t let the suspect person with COVID-19 use the same bathroom during self-quarantine. Allocate them to a separate bathroom and disinfect the bathroom after each time they use it. If there are no such facilities and you all have to use the same bathroom, remember to disinfect the door handles, taps, and other utensils using an alcohol-based disinfectant or soap. The alcohol percentage of disinfectants should be more than 70%.
During this COVID-19 outbreak, every country took many measures to control the spreading of the virus. Therefore limiting the visitors to your home is necessary. When someone is under self-quarantine, don’t let outsiders contact the suspect.
WASH YOUR HANDS
Wash your hands frequently with soap and running water. Washing hands is so important because new research found that coronavirus is airborne. So, coronavirus can be spread by aerosol transmission too.
Since they can stay alive even for days on some surfaces, you can accidentally touch coronavirus. Therefore washing hands is much needed. Wash your hands at least for 20 seconds. Since soap can kill the virus, washing hands is an effective method to control infecting COVID-19 from the suspect.
DON’T TOUCH YOUR FACE, MOUTH, OR NOSE
You should avoid touching your face, mouth, or nose with unwashed hands. If you are where hand washing facilities are inadequate, you can still use a hand sanitizer to clean your hands. Hand sanitizer should be an alcohol-based one. The alcohol percentage should be above 70%.
USE DISPOSABLE UTENSILS WHEN HAVING FOODS
Use disposable cups and plates to have foodstuffs. Dispose of them into bins after use. Don’t use the same utensils that are the suspect. Don’t share anything.
While you are in self-quarantine and if you start feeling unwell or developing symptoms like fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, or other respiratory illness, you should seek medical help as soon as possible. You must report your travel history to relevant authorities to prepare further safety measures. If you suspect you may have COVID-19 you need to isolate yourself and call for medical assistance.
If you complete your 14-day self-quarantine without any symptoms, you are free to do your usual activities.
HOW TO REDUCE ANXIETY WHILE YOU ARE IN SELF-QUARANTINE?
While you are under self-quarantine, you might feel anxious. Don’t worry, this is not going to last long. Don’t be anxious and stressed. Try to spend quality time.
Here some tips to reduce anxiety and stress while you are in self-quarantine.
WORK FROM HOME.
If possible, arrange to work from home. Working can help to spend your day without boredom.
KEEP IN TOUCH WITH YOUR LOVED ONES.
You can use social media or phone calls to interact with your family members, friends, and relations. Talk with them. Sharing your ideas can reduce your anxiety.
You can exercise while you are under self-quarantine. Regular exercises can boost your immunity as well. Rather than boosting immunity, exercises can reduce your stress too.
ENGAGE IN YOUR FAVOURITE HOBBY
Now you are totally free. You have enough time to engage in hobbies once you skip because you were super busy. So, if you love to read, read something, or do whatever you want to do.
Things you can do.
1. Go outside. Something that I look forward to every day is going for a walk with my family. We’ve made it a habit to get in at least a 2k walk every night. There have been mixed feelings about whether or not we’re allowed to go outside during this time but I’ve read many articles that have stated that going for walks is actually good for us – as long as we are 2 meters from others who don’t live with us. If you’re up for some fresh air and exercise, get on those runners and get outside.
2. Get on that workout grind. Speaking of exercise; while most gyms have shut down, that doesn’t mean you can’t get in your cardio somewhere else. Block off some space in your house where you can stretch and workout safely without knocking over a lamp. If you’re someone who prefers the gym machines and is completely lost without them, look up at-home workouts on YouTube for some inspiration. Even if it’s just for a little bit, something is better than nothing.
3. Break out the board games. Let’s go back to the days where the only technology we had was a landline and family game nights consisted mainly of yelling and crying and just a little bit of actually playing games. Keeping in mind that we’re adults now, let’s break out the board games – old and new – and start playing! This is a great way to put the screens aside and get your brain working.
4. Quality time with your family. Whether you live with family members or roommates, it can get pretty suffocating when you’re surrounded by the same few people for an extended period of time. Take breaks to be by yourself when necessary, but try and make the most of it. We’re all experiencing the same thing and nobody wants to be stuck in a hostile environment.
5. Get in touch with your spirituality. This is a very difficult time and it’s easy to get lost in thoughts of negativity. In order to combat those dark feelings, we must find a way of coping that works for us. For some, their spirituality is what keeps them afloat; whether it be speaking to God, visiting your sacred place of prayer, or practicing meditation.
6. An experiment in the kitchen. What better way to spend your time than by trying different recipes!! You’ll actually be able to have your cake and eat it too! This is a great way to get creative, learn a new skill, or enhance an old one all while having fun (plus you get treats out of it). Since we’ve been off, my mom has already made 3 cakes and a batch of chocolate chip cookies. Let me just say, it’s a good thing we’ve been doing all that walking.
7. Clean + Organize. Remember when you said you would clean out the laundry room, reorganize your closet and tackle the garage and it never actually got done? Now’s your chance! Blast the music put on some old clothes and get cracking! You’ll feel such an accomplishment when you’re done.
8. Learn something new. Just because we’re confined to our homes, doesn’t mean we don’t have access to the outside world. We have the whole internet in the palms of our hands – use it to your advantage. Want to learn a new language? There’s an app for it. Want to learn how to braid your hair? There are tons of YouTuber’s who’ll show you. There are endless possibilities. Use your time wisely and learn something new!
9. Pick up an old hobby. This is the perfect time to do some soul searching and revisit some of the things you used to love to do. There are tons of activities that get thrown to the side because we never have the time. I’ve gotten back into reading novels and writing blog posts and let me just tell you, I’m feeling great! I encourage you to do some thinking and get back into whatever it is that sets your soul on fire.
Keeping your Immune system healthy.
Begin by filling your plate with immune-boosting nutrients. One of the best ways to stay healthy is to eat a nutritious diet. That’s because our immune system relies on a steady supply of nutrients to do its job.
For a starter dose of immune-boosting vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, fill half of your plate with vegetables and fruits.
Here are some key nutrients that play a role in immunity, and food sources of them:
Carrots, kale, and apricots for beta carotene
Beta carotene gets converted to vitamin A, which is essential for a strong immune system. It works by helping antibodies respond to toxins and foreign substances, Majumdar said.
Good sources of beta carotene include sweet potatoes, carrots, mangoes, apricots, spinach, kale, broccoli, squash, and cantaloupe.
Oranges, strawberries, and broccoli for Vitamin C
Vitamin C increases blood levels of antibodies and helps to differentiate lymphocytes (white blood cells), which helps the body determine what kind of protection is needed, Majumdar explained.
Some research has suggested that higher levels of vitamin C (at least 200 milligrams) may slightly reduce the duration of cold symptoms.
You can easily consume 200 milligrams of vitamin C from a combination of foods such as oranges, grapefruit, kiwi, strawberries, Brussels sprouts, red and green peppers, broccoli, cooked cabbage, and cauliflower.
Eggs, cheese, tofu, and mushrooms for Vitamin D
Vitamin D regulates the production of a protein that “selectively kills infectious agents, including bacteria and viruses,” explained Dr. Michael Holick, an expert on Vitamin D research from Boston University who has published more than 500 papers and 18 books on Vitamin D.
Beans, nuts, cereal, and seafood for zinc
Zinc helps cells in your immune system grow and differentiate, Majumdar explained.
One meta-analysis revealed that zinc supplements may shorten the duration of symptoms of the common cold. However, it concluded that “large high-quality trials are needed” before definitive recommendations can be made.
Sources of zinc include beans, chickpeas, lentils, tofu, fortified cereals, nuts, seeds, wheat germ, oysters (including canned), crab, lobster, beef, pork chop, dark meat poultry, and yogurt.
Milk, eggs, nuts, and more for protein
Protein is a key building block for immune cells and antibodies and plays a crucial role in helping our immune system do its job.
Protein comes from both animal and plant-based sources and includes fish, poultry, beef, milk, yogurt, eggs, and cottage cheese, as well as nuts, seeds, beans, and lentils.
Bananas, beans, and more for prebiotics
Probiotics and prebiotics help boost the health of the microbiome, which in turn supports our immune system, explained Majumdar.
Sources of probiotics include fermented dairy foods such as yogurt and kefir, and aged cheeses, as well as fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, and sourdough bread. Sources of prebiotics include whole grains, bananas, onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, artichokes, and beans.
Though not dietary staples, some herbs may be helpful when looking for natural alternatives for viral symptoms. One of the more convincing studies found that supplementation with elderberry substantially reduced upper respiratory symptoms when taken for the cold and flu.
“While it hasn’t been studied specifically with coronavirus, it may be good for general immune health,” Majumdar said. If you are interested in taking any herbs, check with your doctor first.
Water, fruit, soup, and more for hydration
Finally, stay hydrated.
“Mild dehydration can be a physical stressor to the body,” Majumdar said. Women should aim to consume 2.7 liters or 91 ounces of fluids daily, and men, 3.7 liters or 125 ounces; an amount that includes all fluids and water-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and soups.
Please do not forget to exercise also. I have several articles on Yoga along with videos. I have also covered essential vitamins and minerals for which I will leave you the links. Also a link to mushrooms. Herbs and spices.
Please be safe and healthy.
Thank you for reading,
Comments are welcome