With all schools and places of worship closed, crowds are not supposed to gather, visits put on hold, death string in your face , coupled with a lot of misinformation about COVID-19 treatment and vaccination on the social media, the panic spreading through the news, it can be tough to keep your head up straight.

As the coronavirus spreads, there are so many unanswered questions that make us feel vulnerable or fearful. While anxiety is a normal and expected reaction to the pandemic, too much anxiety is harmful.

Yes, there is national anxiety at the moment, a kind of shared stress and we are all in a state of extreme uncertainty, but the more you stress, the more vulnerable you can become to the virus, because stress can reduce your immune response. So, what do we need to do in such a situation?

Take little breaks and give yourself a fresh perspective and remind yourself that no matter how dark things are, there is still some little light at the end of the tunnel. Tell yourself you are not going to worry about the virus in your body for at least an hour, yes, it will still be there at the end of the hour, but go and do something enjoyable.

It is important to be in the know, but you do not need to obsess over the news. What makes the news, are the worst stories or cases. For example, we do not hear much about the majority of people who are recovering in the news. Therefore, focusing on sad stories like thousands of people dying in a day, fake vaccines, vaccines being associated with triple 666” etc fuels anxiety and fear which affects one’s immunity. Keep yourself informed, but check for factual updates on the virus from trusted sources and refrain from obsessive Googling. You could spend all day and night reading headlines, news alerts or tweets but this does not change your risk of getting coronavirus.

Know the facts, COVID-19 is a pandemic, but we do not need to panic. A pandemic does not describe the deadliness of an illness, but how widespread it is. COVID-19 is thought to be a droplet disease, it spreads from person to person via respiratory droplets, when someone coughs or sneezes. Constructive precautions to take include staying away from large crowds, wear your mask properly in the public, disinfecting surfaces, and washing your hands frequently. In addition, forego hugging, hand-shakes, and replace these with the elbow bump.

When an infectious disease hits a community, there is only so much anyone can do. You can’t sterilize your entire environment. But taking a few preventative actions will help reduce your risk and hopefully relieve your anxiety.

Erina Najjingo