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Can You Keep Yourself Well and Healthy During A Pandemic?
December 13, 2020
How can you keep well and healthy during a pandemic – or despite one? And apart from the obvious illness due to the pandmic, which health issues quickly become disrupted and widen the damage? This article was originally presented at the first annual conference of the Foundation for Women’s Health Promotion and Welfare Initiative, FWHPWI on 12th December 2020.
First, do you feel you’re in a better place healthwise now than in December 2019? I think most of us will say, No!
And this is because the nature of pandemics is to disrupt and cause change.
Since we humans are mainly reactionary most of the time – we have to adapt ourselves to change in the world around us – like wear masks, self-isolate or wash hands more often than we are used to.
But there are other disruptions a pandemic creates.
And I don’t just mean by getting sick which is, of course, the most significant impact.
Our usual routines get flung aside, and we feel as if we going along for the ride – waiting till things get back to ‘normal’.
But how much other damage happens during that time if we are not careful?
And like other disruptions, is it possible to overcome them and adapt ourselves in a way that we emerge better than when we started?
And why is it essential to think about how to maintain our health and wellness in a pandemic?
To explore this, I have another question and would love your answers in the comments section below:
“Outside actual Covid-19 sickness, which of these was your biggest challenge to be well and healthy during a pandemic?”
A – A health problem developed that was more difficult to solve (weight gain or loss/ mental health problem/ sexual health problem/ other health condition)
B – You couldn’t see a doctor or nurse when you needed one for advice or treatment for yourself or a family member, or it was a lot harder to do so
C – No health challenges
Okay, so we can see how things could go during a pandemic even if you are fortunate not to be ill from the infection.
According to Barak Obama, former US President in a speech in 2014:
“There may, and likely will come a time in which we have an airborne disease that is deadly.
And in order for us to deal with that effectively, we have to put in place an infrastructure not just here at home but globally that allows us to see it quickly, isolate it quickly and respond to it quickly.
So that if and when a new strain of Flu-like the Spanish Flu crops up, five years from now or a decade from now, we’ve made the investment and we are further along to be able to catch it.”
These are some areas doctors observe as the critical impacts on people during the time of pandemic – and understanding them will help us stay well.
Going suddenly into isolation or quarantine has many significant results few of us prepare for.
But just like Obama advised in 2014; and after the experience of Ebola, our mindset now should be to prepare for the impacts a global pandemic could mean to us personally.
Isolation and routine change could lead to different situations closely related to how we were before the beginning of the pandemic.
It could be things as ordinary as eating or overeating; being unable to exercise or visit the gym as you would typically do; keeping children at home usefully busy; problems in a relationship with a partner that becomes obvious in close confines.
Of course, there are financial implications which we have seen, and the results this could have on a person’s mental health and their families.
Here is another vital issue that affects health and wellness in a pandemic. People choose not to visit a hospital or clinic to get care of non-pandemic related health problems.
When you are generally fit, and well, this may not be so much of a problem.
However, when it affects babies and young children, pregnant women, older adults, it takes on a dangerous dimension.
We must have access to health care that is safe during these times.
But even a ‘fit and well’ person could develop appendicitis or some other infection that demands care. In such instances, we should not allow fear from preventing us seek the care we need; and we should have the confidence that the care is available to us.
It’s making the right choices to maintain your health despite (and because of) the disruption around you:
Making the necessary health investments NOW to keep you well and healthy during a pandemic can make the big difference to how you cope succesfully now and in the next one.
Editing by AskAwayHealth Team
All AskAwayHealth articles are written by practising Medical Practitioners on a wide range of health care conditions to provide evidence-based guidance and to help promote quality health care. The advice in our material is not meant to replace the management of your specific condition by a qualified health care practitioner.
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