In an effort to reduce the spread of coronavirus and COVID-19, the Oklahoma State Department of Health is urging all residents to practice social distancing and self-quarantine. Limiting exposure is essential to flattening the curve of this disease, slowing the rate of infection, and keeping our community safe during this difficult time.
Our hearts go out to our patients and fellow Oklahomans who are practicing self-quarantine and safe social distancing. Like many of you, we feel anxious during these uncertain times. However, we’re committed to doing our part to keep our patients and community as safe as possible.
While we may feel like things are out of our control, there are some measures we can take in our homes to keep ourselves and our loved ones healthy, both physically and mentally.
Practice Safe Social Distancing
We urge you to practice safe social distancing by adhering to the following guidelines:
- Stay home and work from home, if possible. If you must go out, stay at least 6 feet away from others, including when picking up basic necessities.
- Avoid crowded rooms and gatherings of 10 or more people, especially if you, a loved one, or other people in the room are vulnerable.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. If you’re sick, avoid close contact with other people.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water aren’t available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. When you must leave home, wash your hands as soon as you get back.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Cough or sneeze into a tissue, and throw the tissue in the trash immediately.
Healthy Tips for Social Distancing
We appreciate everyone who is doing their part and practicing safe social distancing, but we understand that isolating yourself for an extended period of time can be difficult. The isolation and change in routine can play havoc with our psyches. Here are a few tips for taking care of yourself and boosting your immune system while social distancing.
Get More Sleep
Sleep plays an important role in immune system health. Studies have shown that individuals who have a lack sleep are more likely to get sick when exposed to viruses. While we sleep, our bodies produce cytokines, proteins that help to regulate immunity and inflammation. A consistent lack of sleep results in lower cytokine production, which can leave our immune systems weak and vulnerable. While social distancing, use your extra time at home to get a full eight hours of sleep each night. If you can’t get a full night’s sleep, try to take short naps throughout the day.
Eat Nutrient-Dense Foods
Do your best to eat healthy foods while you’re home. Many foods offer vitamins and minerals to support your immune systems, such as citrus, garlic, spinach, ginger, turmeric, broccoli, red bell pepper, and Greek yogurt. If you can’t find those items, aim to eat fresh fruits and vegetables every day and a diet high in protein.
It’s important to make an extra effort to get up and move since we’re all spending the majority of our days inside. Regular exercise can help protect against a variety of diseases, including the common cold and flu. Not only does exercise promote overall better health, but it may promote better circulation, which allows the cells of the immune system to work more efficiently. Exercise also releases endorphins which will improve our mood and anxiety.
Practice Good Hygiene
Good hygiene practices can help reduce your risk of infection. Remember to frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Disinfect commonly touched surfaces in your homes, such as doorknobs, counters, and electronics.
Anxiety is high in such uncertain times. Chronic stress can take its toll on the immune system. Anything you can do to manage anxiety and reduce stress can help to keep your immune system strong. That might mean limiting your time on social media, spending quality time with your family, meditating for a few minutes each morning or night, or practicing an enjoyable hobby. Also, remember to reach out to your community via phone, FaceTime, or text. By remembering that we are in this crisis together, it will help to decreases some of our anxiety.
We’re doing our best to keep our office as safe as possible by ensuring a clean and safe environment, offering virtual follow-up appointments and consultations, and allowing no more than one patient at a time. To learn more about what we’re doing to stay safe, read our recent letter from Dr. Bajaj.
Please feel free to reach out to our office staff if you have any questions or concerns.