Loneliness is also a pandemic, and it’s going to become more of a challenge

Get some exercise! Pioneer Walkway provides a short and pleasant walk with views of Osoyoos Lake. Flowers are starting to emerge along the walkway. It is popular, so don’t forget to stay at least two metres away from anyone who is not a healthy member of your own family. Taken March 19. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

Loneliness is itself a serious health issue. With social distancing and other measures, it’s going to get worse.

It’s especially a problem for seniors living on their own. Loneliness contributes to mental anxiety, but it also affects your physical health. Some research suggests loneliness can be as damaging to health as smoking and is more predictive of mortality than obesity.

Volunteering, if you are able, is a great way to stay connected with others, and volunteers are going to be needed. Those who are housebound and lonely are encouraged to swallow their pride and reach out to others for comfort and contact.

It may be as simple as identifying a person living on their own who can’t get out and phoning them regularly. Continue reading “Loneliness is also a pandemic, and it’s going to become more of a challenge”

The dos and don’ts of social distancing

These dos and don’ts on social distancing come from Dr. Theresa Tam, chief public health officer with the Public Health Agency of Canada:

Do:

  • Stay home as much as possible.
  • Get fresh air, go for a jog or walk your dog but always keep two metres (six feet or about two arms-lengths) distance from other people.
  • Go to the grocery store or pharmacy as needed but keep the two-metre distance and wash your hands upon your return home. Shopping online and arranging to have things dropped off at your home is even better.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the washroom and when preparing food. The extra scrubbing time matters. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available.
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Dispose of any tissues as soon as possible in a lined wastebasket and wash your hands afterwards.
  • Clean high-touch surfaces frequently with regular household cleaners or diluted bleach (1 part bleach to 9 parts water). This includes things like doorknobs, toys, toilets, phones, electronics, remote controls and bedside tables.
  • Use technology to keep in touch with people at higher risk like the elderly or those in poor health. Avoid personal contact.

Don’t:

  • Avoid non-essential gatherings. That means no visits with your neighbours or friends, no play dates, no sleepovers, no parties and especially no public gatherings in crowded spaces, like conferences, concerts or sporting events (if there are any on).
  • Avoid public transportation or, if you must use it, travel at uncrowded hours.
  • Don’t shake hands or kiss cheeks in greeting.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

Staying Sane – Preserving your mental health during the pandemic

The current pandemic will for many people cause anxiety, depression and other reactions. It’s as important to maintain mental health as physical health.

This article, Covid-19 and Anxiety, from Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division, provides important information about preserving your mental and physical health. The article was posted by HereToHelp which has other information on mental health and substance abuse.

The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) also has a page on Covid-19 on their website.

 

Finding Help – What to do if you experience symptoms

If you are experiencing symptoms, DO NOT drop into your doctor’s office or the hospital emergency department unannounced!

Use the online Self-Assessment Tool to determine whether you need further testing or medical assistance.

Interior Health Authority provides this advice:

Symptoms

Reported signs and symptoms include: fever, new cough, and difficulty breathing. If you think you have the symptoms of COVID-19, please stay at home and call 8-1-1, or your family doctor/nurse practitioner. People without symptoms, or those with mild symptoms who can be managed at home, should not be tested. The exception is health-care workers with COVID-19 infection who have recovered and require a negative test prior to returning to work.

Testing

Testing will occur by appointment for people who have been referred by their primary care provider or an 8-1-1 nurse.

Health Questions

If you have health concerns, call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1.

Oliver law firm sets up buddy system

Sage Hill Law in Oliver has set up a buddy system for Oliver and area (including Osoyoos).

People register either to be a helper or be helped. The helper checks in regularly while practicing social distancing. If needed, the helper may do things like pick up groceries — delivering them in a safe manner.

For more information and to register as either a helper or someone helped, visit their website.

See also the story in the Osoyoos Times by Lyonel Doherty of the Oliver Chronicle.

 

Business updates – some are closing, others changing their service

AG Foods, like its cousin Buy-Low Foods, is still open and they are doing their best to serve customers and keep supply lines open. Check their Facebook page for updates. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

Local businesses are working hard to adapt their operations to the new reality of the pandemic. In some cases, this means closing down. Others are limiting their hours or are adapting to options like take-out instead of sit-down eating. Continue reading “Business updates – some are closing, others changing their service”

Public Health Authorities and Experts

This news category provides major announcements from public health and other authorities as well as new information from experts.

For links to websites of these authorities where you can get much more information updated regularly, please visit the Osoyoos Persists Public Health Authorities and Experts page.

 

Community Resources

Groups in the community are organizing to help make life easier for those who need assistance. This news category will provide information on new announcements.

Information is often first posted on Osoyoos Loop, so check there.

Keeping in mind all the health advice on preventing spread of the virus, here are some of the services that are likely to be in demand:

  • Delivery of groceries, medicines etc. to those who are in self-quarantine or otherwise can’t get out
  • Drivers to assist people getting to medical and other appointments — keeping in mind the need for personal protection
  • Book exchange — the libraries are closed, but reading will be an important activity for those who are housebound. Again, keep in mind that there’s a low, but real, risk that books may carry infections for short periods of time (the virus can stay active on cardboard for up to 24 hours)
  • Friendship — many people who are isolated will be lonely. With telephones and Skype or FaceTime, it is possible to simulate social contact. Sometimes texting and Facebook aren’t enough!
  • Childcare – with schools closed probably for a longer time than many people expect, there will be a need for childcare to help working parents. It will be challenging to find ways this can be done safely. Although children are the demographic least as risk from the virus, they can spread the virus to those who are more vulnerable. Watch for direction from local and provincial authorities.

Watch for announcements.