Many of us are facing stress and anxiety due to the uncertainties the COVID-19 pandemic has brought in our lives. To prevent the spread of the disease, all have to stay updated and follow precautions set by several health organizations.
More so, people who are considered most susceptible have to take extra precautions to avoid getting sick. Such as people who have heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
According to Lisa Gralinski, Ph.D., a virologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, “If you’re over fifty or sixty and you have some other health issues and if you’re unlucky enough to be exposed to this virus, it could be very bad.
Cancer patients do not only need to manage their current condition, but they also need to cope with the risks of getting the virus.
It can be a tough time if you’re living with cancer right now. With that, we bring you ways on how cancer patients like you can cope during these trying times.
Take Extra Precautions
Cancer patients may benefit from extra precautions. Health professionals are recommending everyone to perform the guidelines regarding social distancing and hand washing. Furthermore, for people with cancer or living with people with cancer, these extra precautions can make sure everyone is safe in the household. Do not forget these following reminders:
- Do not go to crowded areas and avoid close contact. Limit your distance within about six feet to people who have a cough or respiratory problems.
- Wash your hands for about 20 seconds. Use clean water and soap. You can sing the “Happy Birthday Song” to help you keep track of how long you’re washing.
- If there is no soap and water, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. You can also place a hand gel dispenser at your front door so that everyone who comes in or out can cleanse their hands.
- Prevent touching your ears, nose, and mouth.
- Use masks to prevent infection.
- Get vaccinated against the flu, and for older people, consider getting vaccinated against pneumonia.
If prescription medications are needed, do make sure that you have sufficient supply for a couple of weeks or preferably a few months. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused shortages around the world due to the needs of infected patients.
It’s also a good idea to have at least two week’s supply of water, food, cleaning materials, and other household essentials. You can ask your family and friends without compromised immunity for assistance.
Talk to your employer about ways you can work from home if you’re living with cancer or have immunosuppressive conditions. You can also ask your co-workers to not go to work if they’re sick since people with cancer are more at risk.
Connect With Your Loved Ones
During this trying time, you will need all the support you can get. Although physical contact is limited, there are many ways you can connect with your family and friends.
Contact them through social media apps and share your feelings. It can be about your condition, the stress of the pandemic, or anything that can make you feel happy. It will be helpful to talk about other things if you’re already having anxiety about the current situation.
You can also reach out to various online groups or communities for people with cancer. You may feel comfort and strength if you have constant communication with people you feel akin to.
Communicate With Your Cancer Treatment Team
Talking to your cancer treatment team can keep you updated regarding your cancer treatment and how the outbreak has affected it. If you’re worried about how the pandemic can affect your condition and your treatment, your team can also provide answers.
Unfortunately, some health services may be on a skeletal operation to limit the patients’ possible exposure to the virus. Therefore, treatments may take a longer time than initially planned. Discuss with them your concerns that they may help you find various types of support.
Speak With A Professional Counsellor
Having cancer can affect your mental health, and with a pandemic currently taking place, it can be a hard time to cope. Talking with a professional counselor can give you an outlet to express your emotions, thoughts, and worries.
Many counselors offer their services through chat or telephone. Some employers may incorporate private counseling through health insurance or employee assistance programs.
Most importantly, take care of yourself. Being physically active helps your mind to be at ease and your body to feel more relaxed. Eat healthy foods such as vegetables, fruits, protein, and grains. You may also find cooking as a source of comfort. Remain hopeful and find humor during these tough times, it can get you through the following days.