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Coping with Anxiety, Stress Over New Coronavirus

Health experts recommend staying at home as much as possible to avoid spreading the new coronavirus. (Adobe Stock)
Health experts recommend staying at home as much as possible to avoid spreading the new coronavirus. (Adobe Stock)
March 16, 2020

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise, so does anxiety. Health professionals say social distancing, frequent hand washing for 20 seconds with hot, soapy water, and staying at home if you feel sick are especially critical to protecting the state's vulnerable populations.

But Marcie Timmerman, executive director at Mental Health America of Kentucky, said it's also important to find healthy ways to cope with stress and anxiety, including deep breathing and meditation.

"There's also a cognitive behavioral therapy trick that I use personally, whenever my mind starts to get wrapped up in all the what-ifs, what could happen, I visualize a stop sign in my head," Timmerman said.

Gov. Andy Beshear has announced more positive cases of the new coronavirus, bringing the state's total number of cases to 21. He has also urged child-care centers to begin planning for potential emergency closures, and recommended that hospitals cease all elective procedures.

The state's Cabinet for Health and Family Services is urging anyone who believes they might have the disease to isolate themselves at home and call the state's COVID-19 hotline at 1-800-722-5725 for further guidance.

Timmerman pointed out that social media can feed hysteria, worry and misinformation.

"Make sure you're limiting your time on social media if it's starting to stress you out," he said. "Also, make sure you're following places of good sources of information."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, older adults and people with serious medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and lung disease seem to be at higher risk for COVID-19 illness.

Nadia Ramlagan, Public News Service - KY