Back to Top Skip to main content

Addressing emotional responses to threat of Coronavirus

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Kathleen A. Myhre, 446th Airman and Family Readiness Center noncommissioned officer in charge, meditates outside the 446th Airlift Wing Headquarters building on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, Feb. 12, 2020. Myhre traveled to India in 2016 to study to become an internationally-certified yoga instructor. She now shares her holistic training with Reserve Citizen Airmen of the 446th AW. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Mary A. Andom) U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Kathleen A. Myhre, 446th Airman and Family Readiness Center noncommissioned officer in charge, meditates outside the 446th Airlift Wing Headquarters building on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, Feb. 12, 2020. Myhre traveled to India in 2016 to study to become an internationally-certified yoga instructor. She now shares her holistic training with Reserve Citizen Airmen of the 446th AW. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Mary A. Andom)

Recommended Content:

Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Psychological Fitness | Physical Fitness | Combat Support | Public Health | Coronavirus | Coronavirus

While in graduate school, I was involved with some interesting research that examined students’ reactions to media coverage on the potential threat of a disease pandemic such as coronavirus. The study showed several interesting findings, including high rates of worry that family members would contract the disease or that treatment might not be available. We also found that negative emotions associated with an outbreak (such as worry, fear, or hostility) might result in ignoring precautions rather than taking positive actions to decrease risk of infection.

With mounting worry and fear about the current outbreak of coronavirus, it’s worth taking a pause to look at how to mitigate some of the emotional and behavioral effects that might come from media coverage and the threat of coronavirus.

Stay home if you’re sick – and even if you’re not. If you’re feeling sick, be responsible and isolate yourself at home. This will be a great opportunity to binge watch your favorite series. We all want to preserve our paid time off, but a few unproductive hours being sick at work likely won’t be worth potentially sharing a virus with your coworkers. Even if you’re feeling healthy, medical professionals recommend staying home and limiting social contact as much as possible since avoiding those who are sick is the best way to decrease transmission of viruses.

Coping with Isolation. In most of the country, school has been cancelled, religious services have been curtailed, and recreational venues have been closed. The result for many has been a sense of isolation and feeling cut off from friends, family, and coworkers. The most important way to cope with this type of isolation is to re-establish and stick to a regular routine. Even if you are “stuck” at home, you can establish a regular schedule for activities, such as routine chores, reading a book, or exercise. Kids in particular benefit from a consistent schedule, to include time set aside for learning activities and a regular bedtime.

Limit media exposure. During events such as natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and pandemics, the 24-hour news cycle can create significant anxiety and pull attention away from consistent day-to-day tasks. The best option for news updates is to find a reliable source, and check it on a limited schedule.

Control what you can. Consistently practicing good habits is one of the best ways to deal with worry and anxiety. The most effective ways to decrease coronavirus risk are the things you learned as a child: 1) Wash your hands regularly with hot water and soap (if you sing the “happy birthday” song while you do it, then you are washing long enough); 2) Prevent spreading viruses by coughing into the crook of your elbow; 3) Decrease likelihood of contracting a virus by not touching your face. Focusing on these basics will give you a better sense of control over your risk of infection.

Decreasing anxiety in others. During the 2009 H1N1 swine flu pandemic, I had small children who had risk of infection. Rather than anxiously chasing them around with a bottle of hand sanitizer, my wife and I made a game of making pig noises with the kids while practicing good hand washing. This ensured that we were creating good habits without focusing on the anxiety of our kids getting sick.

What’s with the facemask? One of the interesting effects of anxiety about coronavirus has been buying and wearing surgical masks. Although these might seem like a tangible and visible step to decrease risk, these masks won’t actually prevent you from catching the disease. The intent of a surgical mask is to keep the person wearing the mask (such as your surgeon or dentist) from infecting other people. The only time you should wear a mask is if you are already sick and you want to decrease the likelihood that you will get other people sick. You also can increase your risk of infection if you are frequently touching your face to adjust an ill-fitting mask.

Get your info from reputable sources. Seeking information is a common way to cope with fearful situations. However, anxiety about the coronavirus has led to a lot of absurd myths being perpetuated from less-reputable sources. Any promises of a miracle cure for coronavirus involving essential oils, household chemicals, or herbal concoctions are inaccurate and frequently harmful. If you are worried about coronavirus and need more information, stick to these reputable sources with a scientific basis:

Manage your anxiety symptoms. If after taking the steps above anxiety is still interfering with your daily activities, practice these tips from the Real Warriors Campaign to help manage symptoms:

  • Prioritize sleep and aim to get seven to eight hours each night.
  • Get active to boost your mood, reduce stress, and help improve your quality of sleep.
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol which can reduce feelings of anxiety in the moment but increase fatigue and anxiety the next day.
  • Reflect and relax by practicing breathing and relaxation techniques, such as meditation and yoga, or writing down your thoughts in a journal.

Dr. Hoyt is a former Army psychologist who is chief of Psychological Health Promotion and supervisor of the Combat and Operational Stress Control mission at the Psychological Health Center of Excellence.

You also may be interested in...

MSMR Vol. 6 No. 8 – September / October 2000

Report
1/1/2000

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Breast cancer among female soldiers, 1998 – 1999; Acquired hallux valgus (bunions), U.S. Armed Forces, 1998 – 1999; Reportable events, U.S. Army, third quarter, 2000; ARD surveillance update; Assault - related hospitalizations, active duty military personnel, 1990 - 1999 (revised); Sentinel reportable events by reporting facility; Sentinel reportable events, active duty soldiers; Active duty force strength (June 2000).

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 6 No. 7 – August 2000

Report
1/1/2000

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Relationship Between Body Mass Index and Musculoskeletal Disorders, U.S. Army, 1990 – 1999; Sentinel reportable events by reporting facility; Sentinel reportable events, active duty soldiers; Assault - Related Hospitalizations, Active Duty Military, 1990 – 1999; ARD Surveillance update; Allergic Rhinitis Among Active Duty Service members, 1998 – 1990; Force Strength, Active Duty Soldiers, April 2000.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 6 No. 9 – November 2000

Report
1/1/2000

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Noncombat gunshot injuries, active duty service members, 1990 – 1999; Sentinel reportable events by reporting facility; Sentinel reportable events, active duty soldiers; Monthly and installation - specific rates of pneumonia and influenza diagnoses, U.S. Army, July 1998 - June 2000; ARD surveillance update.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 6 No. 6 – July 2000

Report
1/1/2000

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Adenovirus type 4 outbreak among basic trainees, Ft. Benning, Georgia, April-May 2000; Sentinel reportable events by reporting facility; Sentinel reportable events, active duty soldiers; Completeness and timeliness, 1999; ARD surveillance update; Migraines among active duty military personnel, 1998-1999; Supplement: HIV-1 antibody screening among active duty, reservists, and civilian applicants for military service, 1985-2000.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 6 No. 3 – March 2000

Report
1/1/2000

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Heat-related injuries among active duty soldiers and Marines, 1997-1999; Sentinel reportable events by reporting facility; Sentinel reportable events, active duty soldiers; Overhydration and hyponatremia among active duty soldiers,1997-1999; Five most common arthropod-borne diseases among active duty service members in the U.S. Armed Forces, 1995-1999; Acute respiratory disease surveillance update; Envenomations of active duty soldiers, October 1997 - September 1999.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 6 No. 1 – January 2000

Report
1/1/2000

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Meningococcal disease among soldiers, U.S. Army, 1964-1998; Sentinel reportable events by reporting facility; Sentinel reportable events, active duty soldiers; Incidence of renal stone disease, U.S. Military, 1998; ARD surveillance update; Supplement #1: Reportable medical events; Reportable events, by quarter, 1999; Reportable events, by patient category, 1998-1999; Active duty force strength (September 1999).

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 6 No. 2 – February 2000

Report
1/1/2000

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Malaria among members of an inspection team after a one-week mission to Central America; Sentinel reportable events by reporting facility; Sentinel reportable events, active duty soldiers; Appendicitis and appendectomies, active duty U.S. Armed Forces,1990-1998; Injury-related morbidity in relation to military occupations, active duty U.S. Armed Forces, 1998-1999; Acute respiratory disease surveillance update; Correction: Force strength, active duty soldiers (September 1999).

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 6 No. 4 – April 2000

Report
1/1/2000

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Summary of ambulatory visits, U.S. Army, 1999; Summary of hospitalizations, U.S. Army, 1999; Summary of reportable events, U.S. Army, 1999; Sentinel reportable events by reporting facility; Sentinel reportable events, active duty soldiers; Acute respiratory disease surveillance update; Force strength, U.S. Army, December 1999.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 6 No. 10 – December 2000

Report
1/1/2000

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: ARD surveillance update; Completeness of reporting of hospitalized cases of reportable medical events, U.S. Navy, January 1998 - June 2000; Cold weather injuries, active duty soldiers; Sentinel reportable events by reporting facility; Sentinel reportable events, active duty soldiers; Ehrlichia chaffeensis infection in an active duty soldier, Korea; Completeness and timeliness of reporting of hospitalized notifiable cases, U.S. Army, January - June 2000.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 5 No. 3 – April 1999

Report
1/1/1999

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Editorial; Hospitalization Trends, U.S. Army, 1998; Selected sentinel reportable events, March 1999; Selected sentinel reportable events, 2 year trends; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, March 1999; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, 2 year trends; Active duty hospitalizations; Active duty hospitalization rates; Hospitalization-related lost duty days; Hospitalization-related lost duty rates; Ambulatory trends, U.S. Army, 1998; ARD surveillance update; Active duty ambulatory visits; Active duty ambulatory rates; Reportable events, 1998; All reportable events, 1998; Sentinel reportable events, 1998 (vs. 1997); Sentinel reportable STD's, 1998 (vs. 1997); Force strength (December 1998); Supplement #1: Hospitalization summary, 1998; Supplement #2: Ambulatory summary, 1998; Supplement #3: Reportable events summary, 1998.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 5 No. 1 – January/February 1999

Report
1/1/1999

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Malaria, U.S. Army, 1998; Selected sentinel reportable diseases, January 1999; Selected sentinel reportable diseases, 2 year trends; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, January 1999; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, 2 year trends; Mortality trends, active duty military, 1990 – 1997; ARD surveillance update; All reportable conditions, 1998; Sentinel reportable diseases, 1998 (vs. 1997); Sentinel reportable STDs, 1998 (vs. 1997); Active duty force strength, September 1998; Supplement #1 reportable diseases.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 5 No. 8 – December 1999

Report
1/1/1999

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Malaria experience among U.S. active duty soldiers 1997-1999; Sentinel reportable events by reporting facility; Sentinel reportable events, active duty soldiers; Incidence of diabetes mellitus among active duty service members, U.S. Armed Services 1998; Completeness and timeliness of reporting of hospitalized notifiable cases, U.S. Army, January 1999 - June 1999; ARD surveillance update; Completeness and timeliness of reporting of hospitalized notifiable cases, U.S. Navy, January 1998 - June 1999.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 5 No. 2 – March 1999

Report
1/1/1999

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Overhydration/hyponatremia, recent trends, U.S. Army; Selected sentinel reportable diseases, February 1999; Selected sentinel reportable diseases, 2 year trends; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, February 1999; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, 2 year trends; Field study, ARD, U.S. Army trainees, Fort Jackson, SC; ARD surveillance update Correction: Mortality trends, active duty military, 1990-1997.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 5 No. 4 – May 1999

Report
1/1/1999

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, 2 year trends; Varicella Primary Prevention Program (VPPP), Fort Knox; ARD surveillance update; Completeness and timeliness of reporting; Pneumococcal pneumonia outbreak, Fort Benning; Selected sentinel reportable events, April 1999; Selected sentinel reportable events, 2 year trends; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, April 1999.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 5 No. 7 – October/November 1999

Report
1/1/1999

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Acute respiratory illnesses, pneumonias, and influenza, U.S. Army, January 1998 - May 1999; Sentinel reportable events by reporting facility; Sentinel reportable events, active duty soldiers; Predictors of accidental death in male soldiers, 1990-1998; Injuries among senior officers, U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania; ARD surveillance update; Supplement #1: Reportable medical events; Quarterly update, all reportable conditions, 1999; Sentinel reportable events; Sentinel reportable STDs; Active duty force strength (June 1999).

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health
<< < ... 56 57 58 59 60 > >> 
Showing results 841 - 855 Page 57 of 60

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.