Tips For Social Distancing, Quarantine, And Isolation During An Infectious Disease Outbreak
What Is Social Distancing?
Social distancing is a way to keep people from interacting closely or frequently to spread an infectious disease. Schools and other gathering places such as movie theatres may close, and sports events and religious services may be cancelled.
What is quarantine?
It is a state, period, or place of isolation in which people or animals who have arrived elsewhere or been exposed to the infectious or contagious disease are placed.
Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who have been exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. It lasts long enough to ensure the person has not contracted an infectious disease.
What Is Isolation?
Social isolation is a state of complete or near-complete lack of contact between an individual and society. An individual can do it at home or in the hospital where a patient is isolated in a room. Isolation prevents the spread of an infectious disease by separating sick people from those who are not. It lasts as long as the condition is contagious. Medical staff who work in isolation wards wear protective clothing to prevent them from contracting the disease.
Ways To Support Yourself During Social Distancing, Quarantine, and Isolation
UNDERSTAND THE RISK
Consider the real risk of harm to yourself and others around you. The public perception of trouble during a situation such as an infectious disease outbreak is often inaccurate. Media coverage may create the impression that people are in immediate danger when infection risk may be shallow. Take steps to get the facts:
• Stay up to date on what is happening, while limiting your media exposure. Avoid watching or listening to news reports 24/7 since this tends to increase anxiety and worry. Remember that children are significantly affected by what they hear and see on television.
• Look to credible sources for information on the infectious disease outbreak.
BE YOUR ADVOCATE
Speaking out about your needs is particularly important if you are in quarantine, since you may not be in a hospital or other facility where your basic needs are met. Ensure you have what you need to feel safe, secure, and comfortable.
• Work with local, state, or national health officials to find out how you can arrange for groceries and toiletries to be delivered to your home as needed.
• Inform health care providers or health authorities of any needed medications and work with them to ensure that you continue to receive those medications.
Health care providers and health authorities should provide information on the disease, its diagnosis, and treatment.
• Do not be afraid to ask questions—clear communication with a health care provider may help reduce any distress associated with social distancing, quarantine, or isolation.
• Ask for written information when available.
• Ask a family member or friend to obtain information if you cannot secure this information on your own.
WORK WITH YOUR EMPLOYER TO REDUCE FINANCIAL STRESS
If you’re unable to work during this time, you may experience stress related to your job status or financial situation.
CONNECT WITH OTHERS
Reaching out to people you trust is one of the best ways to reduce anxiety, depression, loneliness, and boredom during social distancing, quarantine, and isolation.
• Use the telephone, email, text messaging, and social media to connect with friends, family, and others.
• Talk “face to face” with friends and loved ones using Skype or FaceTime.
• If approved by health authorities and your health care providers, arrange for your friends and loved ones to bring you newspapers, movies, and books.
TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR
If you are in a medical facility, you may have access to health care providers who can answer your questions. However, if you are quarantined at home, and you’re worried about physical symptoms you or your loved ones may be experiencing, call your doctor or other health care provider:
• Ask your provider whether it would be possible to schedule remote appointments via Skype or FaceTime for mental health, substance use, or physical health needs.
• If your doctor is unavailable and you are feeling stressed or are in crisis, call the hotline numbers listed at the end of this tip sheet for support.
USE PRACTICAL WAYS TO COPE AND RELAX
• Relax your body often by doing things that work for you-take deep breaths, stretch, meditate or pray, or engage in activities you enjoy.
• Pace yourself between stressful activities and do something fun after a challenging task.
• Talk about your experiences and feelings to loved ones and friends, if you find it helpful.
• Maintain a sense of hope and positive
You are welcome to chat with an online counsellor for more help or information. Just click on LIVE CHAT
HOTLINE NUMBERS SOUTH AFRICA:
0800 029 999
- Do not visit your doctor if you display any symptoms of the coronavirus.
- You will infect him and her and anyone in the waiting room.
- Put yourself into self-quarantine.
- Instead, phone your doctor and have him email a test request to you as well as a prescription if you test positive.
- Share this number with everyone.