A great question sent to us and answered by our virologist Ben Jones. ⏳ We just don’t have the data yet to answer the question in full. ⌛️ In influenza it has been shown that initial exposure to a higher infectious dose is more likely to cause severe disease. It is important however, to bear in mind that these are two entirely different viruses, so at the moment we just don’t know. Regardless, whilst scientists gather and analyse data, 𝐢𝐦𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐞 that healthcare workers are adequately protected with appropriate PPE.
Humans are naturally social animals so it’s no surprise that Isolation is linked to lower mood and poor mental health. It can be hard to maintain relationships during a lockdown but they’re very important for our wellbeing.
Take time out of your day to talk to the people in your household, try using video call software to reach out to friends and colleagues or even just send a good old fashioned e-mail or text. Now could be a good time to join an online community too, if you have a hobby, chances are there are lots of other people who do too, why not join a forum or discussion group and make some new friends?
Exercise has been shown to increase mood and feelings of wellbeing in both the short and long-term. Getting the blood flowing releases feel-good chemicals called endorphins for a natural boost. Think how great you’ll look and feel when this is all over.
You are allowed one outside exercise session per day, it can be a great chance to get out of the house and see some nature (which also boosts mental wellbeing!). If you’re self-isolating and can’t leave the house, there are plenty of workouts you can do from your bedroom, your home gym or even your armchair!
Learning a new skill is a great way to boost your self-esteem and can give a sense of direction and purpose. Learning new skills also helps to keep your brain healthy and your mind active, fighting off those lockdown blues.
There are lots of free and accessible online courses for nearly anything you could be interested in. Learn a language, an instrument, a new recipe or a DIY job. It doesn’t matter what it is you learn, that’s up to you, just that you’re interested enough to keep it up and that it’s challenging enough to keep you engaged without being so difficult you give up. Don’t worry about earning certificates unless you want to, it should be fun, not a chore!
Acts of giving and simple kindness can increase your mood and give you a sense of purpose and self-worth. Plus, it makes someone else feel good too as an added bonus!
You can start small and reach out to help colleagues or friends who might just want someone to talk to. There are also plenty of volunteer schemes to get involved with if you’re symptom free and want to help with the crisis.
GoodSAM can help you find volunteering opportunities during the coronavirus outbreak.
Mindfulness is paying attention in the present moment: to your body, your thoughts, the world around you and how you’re feeling. It can boost mood and make you appreciate life more.
The lockdown will affect us all differently, pay attention to how you feel and take time each day to check in with yourself.
Connect, Get Active, Learn, Give and Pay Attention
If you do notice your mental health suffering, don’t feel like there’s nothing you can do. There are still plenty of services that are remaining open during this lockdown because mental health is just as important as physical health. If you don’t feel right, don’t feel like you have to suffer alone.
A final note: self-care is incredibly personal, and you should take these only as suggestions alongside things you know work well for you. None of us are obligated to come out of the end of this with new skills, a summer body, or anything else. If you keep yourself feeling well and functioning, you are doing well in this stressful time.
I’m sure we’re all fed up of hearing “WASH YOUR HANDS” but it really is a quick and easy way to protect yourself and those around you. 👐
We were asked how this actually works and which stages of the handwashing process makes a difference… ❓
Soap and warm water: 💦
The number one preferred method. Soap contains fatty substances known as amphiphiles. These clever little molecules work to lift things off your hands when you wash them. 🦠Viruses, like the soap are made of fatty molecules. When you mix soap with the virus, it breaks down the outside layer and opens it up. Essentially, “killing” it. Therefore it is no longer infectious.
This should only be used when you DO NOT have access to soap and clean, running water.Hand sanitizing rubs are also incredibly important for healthcare professionals to use in hospitals, and stocks are running low. 🏥
It is also important to mention, that for hand sanitizers to be effective against viruses, you need at least 60-70% alcohol content in your sanitizer.
Like the soap, this high level of alcohol breaks down the outer shell of the virus and causes it to break down. Now.. How long do you need to wash your hands for? @who recommend singing happy birthday twice through to yourself (lasting for 20-30 seconds). ⌛ But there have been plenty of other suggestions…. What has been your favourite? Comment below ⬇️
Here is our easy guide to The Self Isolation Timeline:
We’ve had a couple of queries about self isolation and when the clock should start and stop. 🔴 If you develop symptoms, however mild, you must self isolate in your home for 7️⃣ days post onset or until you no longer have symptoms. 🔵 If you live with someone who has developed symptoms, you must also self isolate but for 1️⃣4️⃣ days from the onset of your housemates symptoms. ⭐️ 🔴 If you develop symptoms during the 14 day isolation period, the clock resets for you ⏱. You must now self isolate for 7️⃣ days from the onset of your symptoms or until you are symptom free.
We should all be practicing 𝐬𝐨𝐜𝐢𝐚𝐥 𝐝𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚𝐬 𝐚 𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐦𝐮𝐦. It is important at this time that you stay at home. To help you, here are a few key things you should know: 𝐒𝐭𝐚𝐲 𝐚𝐭 𝐡𝐨𝐦𝐞 unless absolutely necessary ▪️ You may 𝐨𝐧𝐥𝐲 leave home for: • Work where this cannot be done from home i.e. if you are a 𝘬𝘦𝘺 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘬𝘦𝘳 • Or for essential groceries, medicines or sensible exercise ▪️ A minimum 2 meter distance should be kept between you and those outside your household ▪️ Maintain good handwashing practice There will be some who need to 𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐟-𝐢𝐬𝐨𝐥𝐚𝐭𝐞. Self-isolation requires you to stay at home and not leave the house at all for a period of time. ▪️ 7 days: from the onset of symptoms; a high temperature above 37.8oC and/or a new continuous cough ▪️ 14 days: if someone in your household has symptoms. You need to self-isolate for 14 days from the onset of their symptoms. 🔸𝐃𝐎 𝐍𝐎𝐓🔸 go to your GP, pharmacy or hospital. If you develop symptoms that are unmanageable at home, call NHS 111 for further advice. 🔔 As an example: Jack and Jill share a house. Jack develops a mild cough and fever so he needs to self-isolate for 7 days. Jill, at this time has no symptoms BUT she must isolate for 14 days. On day 9, Jill develops symptoms too. She must now self-isolate for 7 days from the onset of her symptoms.🔔 ‘𝐒𝐡𝐢𝐞𝐥𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠’ 𝐨𝐫 ‘𝐜𝐨𝐜𝐨𝐨𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠’ is a practice recommended for those who are clinically vulnerable. Individuals that fall into this category are likely to have weakened immune systems or serious lung conditions. ▪️ Avoid all but essential face-to-face contact for 12 weeks ▪️ If you require healthcare or personal support this should continue, although carers must not have contact with you if they themselves have symptoms ▪️ Keep in contact with your loved ones through other means; video chat and regular phone calls could be useful! ❇️ All advice from NHS and Gov.uk 24th March 2020