Helping Give Away Psychological Science/Coping with Coronavirus and other Epidemics

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Coronavirus Outbreak Timeline

This page brings together information and resources for dealing with the recent coronavirus pandemic. The information can be re-used quickly in response to other situations. We have a second page that is more general, with information and resources for coping with infectious disease outbreaks in general, such as the flu. The page is organized similarly to what we have done in response to wildfires, hurricanes and flooding, such as we recently updated for Hurricane Dorian. This page was curated by Helping Give Away Psychological Science, a non-profit focused on dissemination and connecting people to resources from which they could greatly benefit.

Please help improve the page. If you are comfortable editing, make the changes directly on the page or on the "Discuss" tab. You can also click here to make suggestions and drop links on a GoogleDoc that we will review and use to add more material.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)[edit]

Information on COVID-19[edit]

  • What is coronavirus? Coronavirus is part of a large family of viruses that may cause illness in humans and animals. Coronavirus can lead to respiratory infections such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
  • What is COVID-19? An infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus in Wuhan, China in December 2019.
  • What are the main symptoms of COVID-19? Fever, coughing, and shortness of breath.
  • How is it spread? The main way COVID-19 spreads is through direct contact with someone who has the virus. Droplets from someone who has coronavirus (through coughing or sneezing) can enter your system and infect you.
  • Is COVID-19 airborne? Droplets of the virus are often too heavy to stay in the air and thus quickly fall to the ground or on surfaces. The main way COVID-19 is transmitted is through person-to-person contact with someone who has the virus.
  • Is there a cure or vaccine to prevent COVID-19? As of April 2020, there is no cure or vaccine.
    • Antibiotics do not work against viruses. Since COVID-19 is caused by a virus, antibiotics are not effective in preventing or treating it.
  • How long does the virus last on surfaces? Research suggests that the virus may persist on surfaces from a few hours to a few days.
  • How to Prep and Protect Your Home for COVID-19
  • Are children at an increased risk for getting the virus? According to the CDC, children are not at a higher risk.
  • Information For Women Who are Pregnant or Breastfeeding
  • Things to do if you are sick or have COVID-19 and how to care for yourself
  • Coronavirus FAQ
  • Travel - If you are traveling from the USA, here is a link to check whether the US Department of State has issued a travel advisory.
    • Travel FAQ
    • For those returning from high-risk countries such as China and Iran and arriving in the U.S.
    • Traveling within the U.S.
    • As of 15 March 2020, the US Department of State classified all international travel as "Level 3 -- Reconsider Travel". Countries that had a Level 3 Travel Health Notice in early March 2020: China, Iran, South Korea, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City
  • COVID-19 Informational Videos

Preventative Measures to Take[edit]

  • Wash your hands frequently.
    • Wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • An alcohol-based hand sanitizer can also be used to kill viruses that may be on your hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who may be sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • If you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth with a tissue and immediately throw it in the trash. Additionally, wash your hands right after.
  • Clean and disinfect commonly-touched surfaces and objects throughout your house.
  • If you show symptoms of COVID-19, wear a facemask to prevent possible spreading of the disease.
  • The CDC does not recommend the use of masks for most people. Only people who have COVID-19 and those caring for them are recommended to wear masks.
  • If you have a fever, are coughing, or have difficulty breathing, call your doctor and seek medical help.
  • More Protective Measures

High-Risk Groups[edit]

Tips for People Who are Considered to be High-Risk

1. The Elderly

  • These individuals should stay home as much as possible.
  • The CDC says that older individuals are 2x as likely to develop a serious illness from the Coronavirus.
  • People over 60 years old should avoid traveling by plane, attending religious services, or going other places where there are a lot of people.
  • Things family members and caregivers can do to support older adults:
    • Make sure there is extra medication on hand
    • Stock up on non-perishable foods in the house
    • Frequently check in on the health of the older individual

2. People Who Have Underlying Health Conditions

  • Includes those who have: a heart disease, a lung disease, respiratory issues, diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure)
  • These individuals should stay home as much as possible.
  • These people should avoid being in places where there are large crowds.

Current Cases/Live Maps[edit]

Mental Health and Coping Tips[edit]

Dealing directly with stress can help improve your health, mindset, quality of life, and overall wellbeing.

Signs Indicating That You May Need Additional Help or Support[edit]

  • Your mind is constantly flooded with thoughts of COVID-19 and it is hard to stray away from these negative thoughts.
  • You take extreme measures to isolate yourself from others.
  • You feel extremely hopeless about the situation and do not feel in control.
  • Your appetite has significantly increased or decreased.
  • Your sleep patterns have drastically fluctuated and you are having a hard time getting to sleep.
  • You are experiencing physical symptoms such as intense headaches or an a frequent upset stomach.
  • Your anxiety affects your daily life.
    • You are extremely scared to leave your house and go to a supermarket.
    • You are having trouble concentrating and getting your schoolwork done.
    • You are spending a great deal of time disinfecting parts of your living space multiple times a day.

For Parents: Signs That Your Child May Be Highly Stressed[edit]

  • A drastic change in sleeping or eating habits
  • Avoidance of wanting to go to school/wanting to do schoolwork
  • Avoidance of activities they used to enjoy
  • Constant headaches or somatic complaints
  • Difficulty maintaining attention or concentration
  • Excessive crying or irritability in young children
  • Acting out behaviors and defiance in teens
  • New or increased use of drugs or alcohol in teens
  • Excessive worrying or signs of sadness

For Parents: How to Help and Support Your Child[edit]

  • Take the time to sit and talk to your child about COVID-19. Explain to them what it is in ways they can understand and discuss the impacts it has had on your family and lifestyle. Additionally, listen to your child and any concerns they may have.
  • Focus on prevention. Teach them important preventative measures such as frequent hand-washing and maintaining distance from others.
  • Provide a sense of safety and comfort. Educate your child about what is going on, but reassure them that everything will be okay and that you'll get through it together. Let them know it is okay for them to come to you if they are feeling sad, worried, or anxious.
  • Give your child tips on how to deal with stress. Share your own coping methods or adapt them to the things they may be experiencing.
  • Limit your child's exposure to news coverage. Excessive exposure to COVID-19 news through the radio, television stations, and social media can scare children. They may not fully understand what is going on and they may misinterpret information they hear and become frightened. Provide them with accurate information and make sure they understand the real facts.
  • Create and maintain routines. Schedule set wake-up times, meal times, learning times (if school is closed), leisure/relaxing times, and bedtimes to follow daily. Sticking to a routine can ease, ground, and comfort your child. For younger kids, consider implementing a reward system to motivate them to stick to these routines.
  • Be a role model for you child. Making sure you eat healthy, get a proper amount of sleep, and find a balance between work and family time can set a good example for your child to follow.
  • Setting up times for your child to call or video chat with family members or friends can connect them to others and make them feel less alone. Friends can be a good outlet for kids and adolescents to express their true feelings and receive support.

Educational Activities and Content For Students[edit]

  • #CreateAtHome - a resource guide that promotes learning of the arts
    • #CreateAtHome - additional arts related resources* Science Mom - a kid-friendly YouTube channel that teaches various science lessons
  • Science Mom - a YouTube channel that teaches various kids-friendly science lessons
  • A guide with over 60 math websites
  • Students can learn a new language for free
  • Online ballet instruction program
  • Learn choreographed dance routines* Virtual international museum tours
  • Learn about different zoo animals
  • Educational TV Shows For Young Kids:
    • Netflix: Brainchild; The Who Was? Show; The Magic School Bus; StoryBots
    • Disney+: Brain Games; National Geographic
    • PBS: Wild Kratts, Xavier Riddle, Reading Rainbow, Between the Lions, Peg + Cat
    • Amazon Prime: Horrible Histories

How to Improve Social Well-Being and Mental Health[edit]

  • Take care of yourself. The following tips can make you feel better and reduce your anxiety.
    • Exercise - engage in at home-workouts or go for a 30-minute walk outside (remember, you can still go outside, just take precaution and maintain a safe distance from others)
    • Eating healthy - learn how to make new and healthy recipes with ingredients you already own; be creative and have fun with your creations
    • Get enough sleep - getting 8 hours of sleep per night is ideal; waking up well-rested and refreshed can set you up for a good day
  • Pick up new hobbies. Reading books you are interested in, learning how to play an instrument, or baking treats can help occupy your time and allow your mind to relax and focus on these activities.
  • Help others. Check up on the people in your life and offer them reassurance and support.
  • Video-chat with friends and family. Just because you may be advised to practice social distancing does not mean you have to socially isolate yourself. Texting or video-chatting with your friends and loved ones is a great way to stay connected, share moments together, laugh, and improve your mood. Maintaining personal relationships is extremely important.
  • Limit the amount of time you spend reading new articles on COVID-19. Constantly scrolling and reading material from unreliable sources can heighten your anxiety and put you in a state of panic. Remember to take breaks from media coverage to clear your mind and maintain your mental well-being.
  • Celebrate successes and take pride in completing tasks, even if it's as small as completing a household chore or organizing your closet.
  • Cultivate ways to be calm.
    • Understand that it is okay to feel anxious and worried during these trying times and realize that many others are likely experiencing these emotions as well.
    • Limit the amount of time you watch the news if you feel like it is making you particularly stressed.
    • Try to offset your stress with positive and calming activities such as meditation or yoga. Partake in something you enjoy.


Mindfulness is a technique that can can help reduce stress during difficult times. By grounding yourself in the present moment and focusing in on your breathing and senses, your stress may dissipate and you may begin to feel at ease. Engaging in mindfulness practices can improve emotion regulation, well-being, and focus, as well as decrease stress, anxiety, and depression.

  • Some goals of mindfulness:
    • Relax and focus in on the present moment
    • Maintain moment-by-moment awareness of your mind and body
    • Pay attention to thoughts and sensations without judgment
  • Mindful Practices You Can Do From Home
    • Journaling/writing
    • Working on a puzzle
    • Coloring in an adult coloring book
    • Taking a bath
    • Mindful eating
    • Doing yoga
    • Meditating or listening to a mindfulness playlist
    • Reading a book
    • Tidying up your living space
    • Baking a new recipe
    • Practice different breathing techniques
  • Free Mindfulness/Meditation Apps
    • Headspace
    • The Mindfulness App
    • Ten Percent Happier
    • Calm
    • Breathe, Meditation & Sleep
    • Insight Times - Meditation App
    • Stop, Breathe & Think
    • MINDBODY: Fitness, Salon & Spa