Coping with stress

Older people and people of any age who have serious underlying health conditions are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. People who may have issues getting assistance if they become ill, like those experiencing homelessness or people with disabilities are also at increased risk from COVID-19.

These conditions and situations may result in increased stress during this pandemic. Fear and anxiety can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions.

Things you can do to support yourself:

Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories and social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.

Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.

Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.

Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.

Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.

If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others call 911.

Have a plan for if you get sick

Know how to stay in touch with others by phone or email. You may need to ask for help from friends, family, neighbors, and community health workers if you become sick.

Determine who can care for you if your caregiver gets sick.

Contact your healthcare provider to ask about obtaining extra necessary medications to have on hand in case there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in your community and you need to stay home for a prolonged period of time.

If you cannot get extra medications, consider using mail-order for medications.

Be sure you have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies (tissues, etc.) to treat fever and other symptoms. Most people will be able to recover from COVID-19 at home.

Have enough household items and groceries on hand so that you will be prepared to stay at home.

Consider ways of getting medications and food brought to your house through family, social, or commercial networks.

Have a plan for someone to care for your pets during your illness.

Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Home

Check with your local public health officials

Depending on how severe the outbreak is, your local public health officials may recommend community actions to reduce people’s risk of being exposed to COVID-19. These actions can slow the spread and reduce the impact of disease.

Stay home as much as possible. Take extra measures to put distance between yourself and other people to further reduce your risk of being exposed to this new virus.

What to do if you have symptoms

  • Watch for symptoms and emergency warning signs.
  • Pay attention for potential COVID-19 symptoms including, fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
  • If you feel like you are developing symptoms, stay home and call your doctor. Tell them that you have or may have COVID-19. This will help them take care of you and keep other people from getting infected or exposed.
  • If you are not sick enough to be hospitalized, you can recover at home.

If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. In adults, emergency warning signs* are:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face
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