This unprecedented pandemic that reached our Malaysian shores early 2020 has undoubtedly impacted so many of our lives in many different levels. What was thought to be a simple flu has evolved into something so much more detrimental and snatched many lives and left millions unable to cope with its aftermath.
The uncertainties coupled with retrenchments and loss of income has negatively affected us all. This pandemic has cruelly snatched away our freedom of socializing and has left us confined to our homes. This in turn has contributed to mental health deterioration and cascades of other health issues. Since its inception, this pandemic has showed a drastic statistical increase of depression, domestic violence, unwanted pregnancies and even divorce.
Luckily, in Malaysia now there are many food banks and charity organizations who are helping those in need. But even these organizations are running low.
This virus has baffled us, coupled with its constant evolution and emergence of many new variants. Covid was initially thought of as ‘just’ a flu. I know of medical personnel who initially didn’t even think wearing a mask was necessary for people who are well and was only necessary for those unwell. Fast forward 2 years, later we are still struggling to cope. With all these strategies in place, we are still left struggling.
Women, on the other hand have a greater burden to bear- juggling between house hold responsibilities and their own wellbeing.
How do we cope?
1) PERSONAL PROTECTION:
Protective grade masks, general hand hygiene and avoidance of crowded places. This plays a vital role in keeping safe.
It does not prevent infections but helps prevent worsening of infections. This has been proven with data available now. No doubt about this!
There are numerous other possible treatment out there which are still being evaluated. Sadly, non-medical personnel who have suddenly gathered knowledge from questionable resources have taken to social media peddling unproven alternative medications, traditional remedies, and even veterinary medications. Evidence-based medicine is the way forward in combatting this pandemic.
Most who endure the lock down and home quarantine will have somewhat of a “Cabin Fever”. This comes as daily mundane routines gets to even the best of us.
Slight changes to our routine might be helpful with getting children involved. They usually see a lighter side to things therefore sitting with them or indulging in their activities may help with thinking out of the box.
Undoubtedly, trying some outdoor activities and getting some exercise is a great mood stimulant.
Keeping a healthy and balanced diet has been shown to increase resistance to infections by increasing immunity. Data has proven those who are obese and unhealthy have a higher risk of having detrimental effects of covid infection.
Being spiritual or practicing things that calm the soul can be beneficial.
This can be addressed with many doctors providing advice online or by a telephone call (Telemedicine and Telehealth). In urgent cases having to meet a doctor should be arranged by seeking medical advice. Most hospitals have strict SOP to even meet Covid infected patients with other ailments. However, do not hesitate to seek professional medical help if you feel unwell. You may call the hospital or health care facility if you are unsure of their Covid-19 regulations.
Many pharmacies with prescriptions from doctor will be able to help you source these medications sent straight to your door step with mobile services. This includes contraception.
Mental health issues:
These trying times can further worsen pre-existing mental health issues or simply drive people into depression. Many organizations have counselors on site to take a call or even direct you to health care professionals to address this.
Alcohol and other substances used during these period may worsen depression and add to many other other adverse effects. Consumption should be in moderation and done responsibly.
Domestic violence has risen by leaps and bounds during this pandemic. There are many helplines with dedicated people to assist women.
Trying to get pregnant during these times is a personal choice. Covid infections has been noted to be severe in pregnancies, and even more in unvaccinated patients and unhealthy, obese patients. The vaccine is available for these pregnant women and pre pregnancy discussion with your doctor is useful.