Coronavirus is in Pittsburgh: Don’t Panic

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The Coronavirus is in Pittsburgh. And it is not hard to panic. With the news and social media blowing up with information on the novel virus, COVID-19 has invaded our lives. So, it can be very easy to get sucked into a vortex of worry. Now that the World Health Organization (WHO) has deemed the virus a pandemic, society appears to have gone into even more of a panic. We hear stories of store shelves wiped out of food, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper. All of a sudden, we see that colleges and universities are closing down and switching to online courses. We’ve even seen Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf order the closing of all schools K-12 for the next 2 weeks. This all becomes very anxiety arousing.

Reduce your fears while the coronavirus is in Pittsburgh

This does not need to be the case. Instead, focus your energy on one of the following tips to reduce your coronavirus fears. A healthier lifestyle during a time when health is a number one priority will ease your mind and keep you safe.

Coronavirus self care tips for Pittsburgh

One of the best ways to take care of yourself during these anxiety-arousing times is by practicing self-care. This includes:

  1. Getting adequate sleep (8-10 hours a night will help you think clearly and maintain your overall health)
  2. Practicing meditation and breathing techniques, like the 4-7-8 breathing rule, can be helpful in relieving tension and anxiety
  3. Eating a balanced diet (proper vitamins and nutrients will help keep our immune system healthy)
  4. Doing something that sparks a personal joy like creating art or watching a movie.

Preventing the coronavirus in Pittsburgh

COVID-19 is spread in a number of ways through the nose, ears, and mouth. This is easily preventable. While we decide to take measures without the advice of the CDC, WHO, or government officials and they appear to help, some are unnecessary and may potentially do more harm than good.

We don’t need to panic. We need to be mindful.

The most noticeable and nerve racking thing for anyone right now may be going to the store only to find empty shelves. Stocking up on toilet paper and food supplies is one thing, but hoarding leaves too little for those who need it. Many of us do not require as much as we are purchasing.

While it may appear necessary to wear a mask outside, it is not. Face masks should only be used if you are already ill. Supplies should never be lacking when needed by medical professionals. It is most important to keep your hands and surfaces clean. This demon of a flu can camouflage itself in the most obvious of places, in the most obvious of ways. Being diligent and mindful will be your saving grace.

The following tips for preventing the spread of COVID-19 are Department of Health advised and should be followed.

Personal Hygiene

There are personal hygiene tips that can be used to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Most of them should be practiced year-round. They include:

  • Washing your hands. Always wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least twenty seconds. Do this before, during, and after food preparation, before eating, after using the bathroom, and after coughing or sneezing.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze but never use your hands. Instead, sneeze or cough into your elbow, almost as if pretending to be a vampire or “dabbing” – if you would like to imagine it that way. Now you have prevented germs from spreading farther and to other people.
  • For the time being, you should also try to avoid touching or shaking hands, as these are areas where germs are typically in high concentration.
  • Sanitizing surfaces. In order to minimize the amount of germs that get onto our hands, try to keep surfaces that are frequently touched – counters, doorknobs, light switches, etc. – clean and sanitized. Don’t be afraid to get crazy with a Clorox wipe!

Travel Around the Coronavirus

Many countries currently have different levels and numbers of cases of COVID-19. For that reason, it is essential to be extra cautious when traveling. Do not travel to countries that are currently listed as Level Three travel advisory. Nonessential travel should be avoided when possible. By taking these extra precautions, we lessen our risk of exposure to the virus and the risk of spreading the virus to places it may not have reached yet.

Coronavirus Symptoms and Seeking Help in Pittsburgh

Symptoms of COVID-19 may look like typical symptoms of the flu, so it is extra important to pay attention to where you’ve been, when your symptoms appear, and how long they last. Gen Symptoms of the virus which may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure include:

  1. Fever
  2. Shortness of breath
  3. Cough

The CDC has identified the following as emergency symptoms:

  1. Difficulty breathing
  2. Persistent chest pain or pressure
  3. Confusion
  4. Bluish lips or face

If you experience any of these emergency symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

If you believe you may have COVID-19 and are experiencing non-emergency symptoms, try to follow these procedures.

  • Call your doctor before seeking treatment. By doing so, you can allow healthcare centers to take precautions to avoid having others effected by the virus.
  • Now, this is when you should try to wear a face mask when going into public. If you must go out while sick, you must try to avoid potentially spreading the virus to others.
  • Be sure to monitor your symptoms while they last and ask your healthcare provider to alert state and local health departments.
  • Stay at home until you are otherwise cleared by your healthcare provider.

How Do I Stay Mentally Sound In A Time Like This?

We understand that many people feel growing anxiety due to the current pandemic. Social distancing is not in our nature. Right now, we are all afraid of germs and the people who may be possibly spreading them. This is not the time for fear. We must now be more mindful than ever!

Makin Wellness providers are specially training to help with the treatment of anxiety, stress, and phobias. If you are feeling particularly anxious and would like to speak to a mental health professional, please call (412)-523-1249 or email [email protected]

Our office manager will be happy to set up an appointment for an online session. While we do offer in person counseling, we will remain via teleconference until the virus has passed.

Better safe than sorry!

On behalf of all Makin Wellness… Stay healthy..Stay kind.. We are here when you need us!


Sara Makin MSEd, LPC, NCC

Sara Makin MSEd, LPC, NCC

All articles are written in conjunction with the Makin Wellness Research Team.

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