COVID-19 Q&A: Part 6

COVID-19 Q&A: Part 6 | Dr. Ali Ghahary

“Is it safe to go about my daily life?”
While we can’t completely stop everything we’re used to doing, we need to remember that it’s important to take certain precautions when going about our normal everyday routines, whether it’s going to work or running essential errands like going to the grocery store. When out in public or in the office with other co-workers, maintaining that 2-metre distance and wearing a mask when that distance cannot be kept are crucial in preventing the spread of the virus. As far as gatherings and get-togethers with others (for example, larger events like weddings or birthday parties), these are currently restricted to 50 people. However, just because you’re allowed to have groups of this size together at once doesn’t mean you necessarily should. With groups of this size, you must be able to maintain social distancing at all times, and if you’re unable to do so then you should reconsider the size of your gathering.

“What if I need to see my doctor, dentist, or go to the ER?”
Despite COVID-19, we all have other important health needs that still need to be met, monitored and followed up on. Doctor’s offices, dental offices and emergency rooms have all implemented strict protocols for seeing patients, which may require having patients wear masks in waiting areas as well as filling out a COVID-19 screening questionnaire to confirm that you don’t have any symptoms of the virus and have not done recent travel; while many emergency rooms in B.C. are limiting waiting areas to patients only. If you need to see your doctor or dentist, it’s suggested to contact them ahead of time to see if you can be seen or if you need to book an appointment in advance. If you’re in need or urgent medical attention, you should go to the nearest emergency room or call 911.

“Will the flu shot protect me from COVID-19?”
Getting the flu shot does not protect against COVID-19 or other coronaviruses. It will, however, reduce your risk of developing the flu – and getting the flu can actually make you more susceptible to developing other infections, which is why it’s an important vaccine to consider getting. In fact, it’s recommended that everyone over the age of 6 months get the flu vaccine, in addition to other individuals who are considered high-risk such as seniors aged 65 and older, Indigenous people, residents living in residential care or assisted living facilities, women who are at any stage of their pregnancy during influenza season, as well as children and teenagers who have been diagnosed with certain medical conditions including heart or ling disorders, kidney disease liver disease, cancer, anemia, or those with weakened immune systems. If you’re interested in having yourself or your child vaccinated, flu shots are typically available in October in British Columbia. You can find more information on flu vaccines (and other types of vaccines) as well as where you can get vaccinated by visiting ImmunizeBC.ca.

“British Columbia is under a Provincial State of Emergency, but what does that mean in relation to COVID-19?”
Our province has been under a Provincial State of Emergency since March 18th, and it has been renewed every two weeks since that date, marking the longest Provincial State of Emergency in British Columbia’s history. This allows the province to us powers under the EPA (Emergency Program Act) to support the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the response to other types of emergencies and disasters. You can learn more about the Emergency Program Act by clicking here.

“My anxiety has been at an all-time high since the pandemic. What can I do to alleviate it?”
It’s not uncommon for there to be an increase in anxiety and other mental health related conditions, like depression, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, early on in the pandemic, many things like businesses and schools shut down, and we had less face to face interactions with friends and even family members thanks to social distancing. Combined with the uncertainty of the pandemic, this can lead to adverse psychological and physiological effects. Fortunately, there are things you can to do try to improve your experience as you’re socially isolated and boost your mood – the most important being creating structure. While it may not be the type of structure you’re normally used to, you should try to find things around your home to do to keep yourself busy, or find a fun new hobby – whether it’s exercise, arts and crafts, journaling, or even doing small home renovation projects that you might have put off. It’s also important to try and stay socially connected to others. While you might not be able to see those you’re closest to in person, there are still ways you can communicate – such as on the telephone, via video conferencing, e-mails, etc. If you’re struggling, know you’re not alone, and that there are supports out there. If you’re in distress and need someone to talk to, you can contact Crisis Centre B.C., which is available 24/7 and offers both telephone and online chat support for youth and adults. For more information on their services, visit their website at CrisisCentreBC.ca.