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How Do I Balance Self-Care with Protecting my Health?

Don’t let the pandemic compromise your health.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a rapidly evolving problem that will have a number of consequences both in the short and long term.

This article provides a snapshot of COVID-19’s impact of healthcare systems, as well as how people can balance protecting their health with prioritizing self-care in this time.

COVID-19’s Impact in the United States and Globally

As of May 17th, 2020, there have been nearly 4.7 million confirmed cases across the world. The United States leads confirmed cases with 1,470,199, though Russia’s numbers have been rising rapidly, with 281,752 positive cases. Globally there have been 312,381 deaths.

Outside of the United States, Russia and Brazil’s increasing case counts are troubling health experts. Both countries are adding more than 10,000 new cases per day. Increased case counts are also being reported in the Middle East, including in Iran, Kuwait, and Qatar, as well as in Southeast Asia.

In the United States, it appears that most states have plateaued or are on the verge of declining. However, overall, case counts still remain high.

What’s more, an analysis published in April 21st by the New York Times has noted that substantial numbers of illness and deaths may not be recorded either due to how records are processed or to a lack of testing to confirm COVID-19 was the primary or contributing factor to the death.

More testing is needed to understand the speed and coverage of the infection.

Health Systems Impacted

The pace of other diseases, however, is not being stalled by COVID-19. Argentina, for example, is attempting to manage two outbreaks at once. As of May 7th, Argentina has reported 25,000 cases of dengue fever, along with 5,000 COVID-19 cases.

This highlights COVID-related threats to healthcare systems:

  • Less resources to address other health concerns
  • Battling infection alongside comorbidities

Less resources. COVID-19 is overwhelming healthcare systems around the world, which means other diseases may temporarily go untreated or be under-treated. What’s more, patients who would normally go to the hospital for signs of illness unrelated to the coronavirus are staying home. One study has found that in the US, ambulatory care practices dropped in March and is at half of its usual numbers as of mid-April.

The Comorbidity Challenge. A study of 5,700 patients in New York City found that diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and obesity were often present in hospitalized patients. This issues make recovery from COVID-19 more challenging, meaning patients might be hospitalized longer, limiting the number of new patients that can be admitted and treated.

Some good news. The news isn’t all bad, however. For example, researchers are hoping to conduct widespread testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and work to limit their spread while people are practicing social distancing. This might offer an opportunity to radically reduce the spread of these diseases.

Balancing Self-Care and Protecting Your Health

Can online dating be self-care?

In the current situation, protecting yourself has never been more important, but it needs to be balanced with self-care.

Health protection measures include:

  • Social Distancing. Practice social distancing by staying at least six feet apart from others, especially in enclosed areas.
  • Using PPE. Wear a mask to block your respiratory droplets and limit disease spread.
  • Practicing good hand hygiene. Wash your hands for at least twenty seconds using soap and hot water whenever you go out in public or touch “high traffic” surfaces, such as door handles, in public areas.
  • Monitoring symptoms. Be informed of possible COVID-19 symptoms. If you or someone in your household is displaying them, contact a doctor immediately.
  • Staying current on COVID-19 updates. Monitor the social media feeds and websites of local health authorities for COVID-19 updates.

Incorporating self-care measures: 

  • Stay active. Getting outside can be a welcome relief from lockdown orders. Research has demonstrated that exposure to sunlight and the outdoors in general elevates mood, while exercise also helps to mitigate stress.
  • Eat whole foods. More people are cooking at home now that restaurants are closed for dine-in services. Sticking to a healthy eating plan can assist you in your health goals and help you create a routine, which has been shown to support emotional health.
  • Maintain social connectivity. Friendships and romantic contacts are especially valuable during this time. While dating during the pandemic may mean delaying that first in-person coffee date, you can still keep in touch and build relationship virtually.
  • Prioritize sexual health. Now is a great time to prioritize your sexual health. If you’re working with a doctor on issues such as erectile dysfunction (ED), now may be the time to look into a combination of treatment options, such as exercise and Viagra. Not sure if you need an ED medication? Visit to consult with a doctor online. You can have a consult, obtain a prescription, and order medication, all completely online.

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