Coronavirus, its mutations and panic

The mutations of the coronavirus and the panic that followed the news of this are not at all surprising. The flow of information about Covid-19 every day captures an increasing number of people, and every even more or less well-known information resource does not miss the opportunity to share information, which is often, unfortunately, unsubstantiated. The desire to attract attention, to interest users does not at all provide for taking care of their mental state.

Some people can become so anxious because of the enormous amount of frightening information that the problem is no longer Covid-19, but the restoration of their mental state. Now all the media are full of headlines about new mutations of the virus, which gives rise to fear of the unknown and the emergence of panic.

A new mutation of the coronavirus

A new mutation of the coronavirus, according to infectious disease specialists, is expected. Viruses tend to mutate, change.

 Let’s try to figure it out together.

The new virus strain (with the N501Y mutation in the RBD spike protein), which was first tracked in September 2020 in England, was already detected in December in 20% of cases of newly diagnosed diseases. In the Republic of South Africa (South Africa), it began to prevail, followed by its growth reported by Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands and a number of other countries. A feature of this virus was a change in the epidemiological picture with a higher incidence in young people. However, infectious disease specialists report that the emergence of new variants of the virus was not unusual, and this is not a reason for panic. It is already known that the new variant of the coronavirus did not affect the severity of the disease and its outcome. Indeed, it spreads faster, but the disease lasts for a shorter time. The negative, of course, is the increased burden on the health care system . Coronavirus tests remain just as sensitive for new strains. Diagnostic methods and treatment tactics have not changed. Infectionists speculate that the Covid-19 mutation means that the virus will gradually weaken and become less dangerous, since, like other respiratory viruses, it seeks to reduce its mortality. Simply put, it is not in the best interest of a virus to destroy its host. Therefore, there should be no reason for panic. There is an assumption that over time, the coronavirus will be carried by people like a common cold.

But, while this has not yet happened, timely diagnosis and treatment of Covid-19 is important.

During a pandemic, attention should be paid not only to physical but also to mental health. It has already been proven that SARS-CoV-2 can enter the human brain through the olfactory nerve and can cause impaired concentration, impairment of memory, mood, sleep, anxiety, etc.

Therefore, it is very important to comply with quarantine norms of behavior and continue to be in a state of moderate social activity.

Panic around the coronavirus. How can I help myself?

Today, information about virus mutations is relevant in the media, tomorrow something new will appear. Many of us know the saying that a tree should be judged by its fruit. And what benefits do you get from depressing news and frightening conversations with your neighbors? Will it help you overcome your problems in life? No – then why waste your life and panic?

Have you noticed that news programs are almost completely filled with negativity. This does not mean that nothing good is happening in the world, it is just that such news is in great demand. Media experts have long concluded that it is disturbing news that leads to addiction, people listen and watch it over and over again. There is a kind of dependence on thrills, the need to get an additional rush of adrenaline, which has an extremely negative effect on the state of the psyche. In this situation, a lot depends on ourselves. What we choose, the results of that we will reap over time.  

We all try to monitor our appearance, hygiene, but for some reason we absolutely do not pay attention to what information we load into ourselves. It is necessary to find something that will fill our inner world, and not destroy it. Fortunately, modern technologies provide an opportunity for development and interesting leisure time even in conditions of complete isolation. Now on the Internet, you can find many different types of courses that can be studied remotely, listen to your favorite music, read the most modern books, get consultations from psychologists, psychotherapists and psychiatrists, play educational games, watch ballet and visit exhibitions of modern painting, without even leaving at home. Therefore, you can and should look for what you like, will be useful and interesting for you. 

There is no need to react to negative information from social networks, not to engage in useless discussions . It is much better to spend a precious resource – time – on yourself and your family. 

You should not enter into conversations that relate to unsubstantiated information about the coronavirus. Will there be any benefit from this? Only anxiety will increase, followed by insomnia, phobias, panic attacks or depression. If your work is not directly related to the treatment or prevention of the virus, forbid yourself to search for articles and programs about sick and dead people, discuss Covid-19 with colleagues, friends, family, etc. Give up being in negativity, take care of your mental state, it will still be useful to you.

Self-isolation for coronavirus. What to do?

We are all accustomed to living at a certain pace, rhythm, working, visiting our favorite establishments, communicating with colleagues, friends, acquaintances.

If you or someone from your family gets sick, the usual way of life is immediately disrupted, since there is a need for long-term self-isolation. Naturally, the fear of a decrease in income, a narrowing of the circle of friends, even the inability to visit a store or a pharmacy leads, at least to indignation, and more often to anger and depression. To maximize your quality of life while self-isolating with coronavirus, use the following guidelines:

  1. Create a new daily routine.

It is very unpleasant to be in a state of uncertainty, confusion. To avoid this, you can use planning methods, it is organizing. Decide on the approximate time of awakening, eating, physical activity, work, rest.

  1. Make a list of goals, a map of desires.

Quarantine and self-isolation can be an opportunity, not a deprivation. Define for yourself a range of goals and desires that can be achieved and fulfilled thanks to the free time that has appeared. It can be a long-neglected creative project, learning a foreign language or a new computer program. Perhaps you have an unfinished book or an unfinished scarf for a long time – do something that was not available just recently. 

  1. Maintain social connections.

Naturally, during self-isolation it is impossible to meet with friends and relatives, but you can communicate via the Internet and by phone. The only caveat is to put a taboo on talking about diseases, statistics on the spread of Covid-19, deaths, etc. Find a pleasant informational topic for communication.

  1. Make time for your health and appearance.

There is a joke that staying at home for a long time can become like a homeless person. Don’t let this happen. Try to look beautiful for yourself and your family. Do not lose shape by overeating, as the quarantine will end, and the extra pounds will not evaporate.

  1. Provide yourself with mental stress

Be sure to devote time to reading serious and beloved literature, intellectual games such as checkers, chess, backgammon, solving crossword puzzles, etc. Exercising for the brain is no less important than exercising for the body.

  1. Get exercise.

The load for the muscles is what allows you not to age, keeps the body in good shape and in good physical shape. And also doing physical exercise promotes the production of endorphins, which bring us a sense of pleasure.

  1. Remember responsibility.

This point is especially true for those who live with elderly parents or children. You are their authority. They constantly monitor your reactions to what is happening and react accordingly to the situation. It is in your power to prevent a state of panic and disorganization of your life and theirs. As you name the ship, so it will float.

  1. Control your emotional state

Don’t let anxiety and worry take over. If positive emotions, pleasant thoughts, rest and communication with family and close people do not help, and the level of anxiety, fear and panic rises and takes over you completely, insomnia appears – seek help from specialists (psychotherapists, psychiatrists).

  1. Plan for the future.

If you focus only on the Covid-19 problem and not think about later life, you can really get discouraged. Try to make bright plans for the future. Think about where you would like to relax at the earliest opportunity, what events you will attend when available, what you want to change in your career and life.

Mental health problems and coronavirus

If a family member suffers from mental disorders, during the coronavirus pandemic and self-isolation, you need to take care of the following:

  1. Make sure you have all the medication you need at home to continue with your doctor’s recommended treatment.
  2. Arrange telecommuting with a psychotherapist or psychiatrist to continue to receive specialist advice while on self-isolation during the coronavirus pandemic (remotely if needed).
  3. Stay in touch with people who can help you if needed.

Quarantine support

Support during quarantine is necessary for everyone, its importance can hardly be overestimated now. Psychologists advise avoiding loneliness during this period, since it is felt very sharply and can lead to difficult emotional experiences. It is important to ensure regular communication with relatives, friends, loved ones, as this is a powerful resource for maintaining calmness, peace of mind, and confidence. Physical isolation should not turn into psychological isolation. 

You can help not only yourself and your relatives, but also try to support those who may not have a family and relatives, those who already succumb to despondency and need a warm word, as well as your participation.

event_note June 23, 2021

account_box Winona Tse MD

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