March 25, 2020
The quick spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, has also brought many sudden and difficult changes to our world. Businesses and schools in most states have been forced to temporarily close in response to the pandemic. Families have been encouraged to remain self-isolated as much as possible to slow the spread of the disease. The magnitude of these changes, combined with fear of the virus itself, has left many people feeling worried about their health and finances. If you live with chronic pain, you likely have additional concerns.
How Do Chronic Pain Conditions Affect the Coronavirus?
Everyone who experiences chronic pain is different. There are a wide variety of conditions that cause or contribute to chronic pain. The most important first step that you can take during this pandemic is to express your concerns to your Riverside Pain physician. Your doctor can advise you on your own personal risk and offer suggestions to protect your health, like spending less time in public.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that anyone who could potentially be at increased risk of COVID-19 stay home as much as possible to avoid contracting the virus. The Arthritis Foundation noted that this recommendation is particularly for people with lung conditions or past respiratory infections requiring hospitalization.
Since COVID-19 is a new virus, it’s important to understand that there is still a lot that scientists don’t know about this condition. We’re learning more everyday about how immunosuppressant drugs and NSAIDs could affect the virus. As of now, scientists don’t know if taking medications that suppress the immune system can increase a person’s risk of getting the new coronavirus. There has also not yet been any validated evidence that taking NSAIDs (like ibuprofen) worsens the symptoms of the virus. While more research is being done, the best thing to do is to follow the advice of your physician. Never stop taking any medication or treatment without first consulting your doctor. You also shouldn’t begin any new medication on your own in an attempt to prevent COVID-19.
Protecting Yourself During the Pandemic
Challenging times like these can make you feel out of control, but there are steps that you can take to feel calmer and more prepared. Following the advice of your Riverside Pain physician and taking proper precautions are easy, effective ways to be more in control during the coronavirus pandemic. Proper precautions include:
Washing Your Hands Frequently
Major medical and health organizations, including the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO), suggest washing your hands often for at least 20 seconds. Make sure you hit the 20 second mark — and have a little more fun doing so — by singing along to a favorite song while your scrub. While soap is best, you can also use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol all over your hands.
As difficult as it sometimes is to stay home, it’s the safest place to be right now. Stay at home as much as you can during the pandemic. When you do have to leave the house, focus on staying at least 6 feet apart from others and try not to touch your mouth, eyes, or nose. When you’re back home, use disinfectant wipes or a cleaner to wipe down doorknobs, lightswitches, and other parts of your home that are frequently touched.
Paying Attention to How Often You Read the News
With the 24/7 news cycle being completely focused on this pandemic, it’s easy to catch yourself updating your browser window over and over again for the latest update. Try to strike the right balance between spending too much time reading the news and not being thoroughly informed. It’s important to be aware of news updates surrounding the coronavirus, but reading too many news pieces can contribute to anxiety and stress. Definitely give yourself an amount of time each day to read the headlines and review updates, but don’t spend your whole day refreshing Google news.
Taking Care of Yourself
Just as you did before the COVID-19 outbreak, prioritize your health. Get plenty of rest and daily exercise. Eat nutritious foods. If you’re safe and secluded, go outside and enjoy the weather. Make sure to avoid any chronic pain triggers. Continue reducing stress. All of these choices work together to strengthen your immune system.
Riverside Pain Physicians: Jacksonville’s Leading Pain Management Group
The coronavirus pandemic is a scary and uncertain time for our world, but staying level headed and aware will everyone approach this outbreak head-on. Your team at Riverside Pain Physicians is here to guide you through this experience. Don’t have a doctor at our pain management clinic? Are you concerned about chronic pain? Contact us today for more information on how our pain management center can help you alleviate pain and look to the future.
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