We all understand the heavy impacts COVID-19 is bringing to not only Australia but the world, with cases rising in unprecedented numbers and guidelines and procedures changing by the day. Many workplaces and institutions have implemented their own processes for handling potential cases and travelling employees or students, but at the time of publishing Australian health authorities are enforcing self isolation if you have tested positive for COVID-19, been identified as a close contact of a person with confirmed COVID-19 infection or you've entered the country from overseas.
Whether this includes you or not it doesn't hurt to be a little prepared, but this doesn't involve raiding and hoarding on every supermarket in your vicinity for toilet paper. Here's how to prepare for potential self-isolation and what to do if it actually happens.
1. Add a little extra food to your stores every time you hit the shops
Health authorities advise that there's no need to bulk-buy food products but say it's prudent to have a small stock of non-perishable groceries in case you do need to self-isolate for 14 days. However, you can just ask a mate to drop some items at your door and in most parts of the country you can order groceries online.
Vitamin C rich foods
"Vitamin C is a well know nutrient for both innate (first response) and adaptive immunity," Vitamin C accumulates in phagocytic (“pathogen killing”) cells. It plays a role in the cleanup at the site of infection and reduces potential tissue damage. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables will supply adequate vitamin C to support your immune system.
"Fermented dairy products like kefir, have been used for centuries. Not only do they contain probiotics, which support the immune system, but they also have a longer shelf life than regular dairy products
"Protein is a macronutrient that is often overlooked when it comes to immunity. The deficiency of protein and amino acids impairs immune function and increases your susceptibility to pathogens."
Our go-to, long-lasting protein sources include dried or tinned legumes like lentils or chickpeas, quinoa, nuts and seeds.
For breakfast, stock up on items like plant-based protein powders and rice milk, almond milk or coconut milk for healthy smoothies. Superfood powders like acai or spirulina can be added to smoothies to increase vitamin and mineral intake.
2. Do not leave your area of quarantine
This seems like a no-brainer but do not go into work, get on public transport or attend public spaces. Stay on your property for the duration of your isolation.
Us this time to Netflix binge or catch up on books you need to read.
3. Stay away from your housemates
If you share a home with others, health authorities suggest you stay separate as much as possible. This might involve setting up camp in a different room, wearing a surgical mask when moving around and using a separate bathroom, if available.
4. Wash your hands properly
Wash your hands for 30 seconds and follow the proper procedure. Ensure you wash your hands before entering an area used by other people, after using the bathroom, after coughing or sneezing and before putting on and after removing face masks.
5. Keep an eye out for symptoms
If you develop a fever, a cough, sore throat or shortness of breath while house-bound, call your doctor or healthdirect on 1800 022 222. When you call, tell them where you have traveled or if you have been in contact with a confirmed case.
6. Stay mentally healthy
The current climate is undoubtedly anxiety-inducing and self isolation can take an additional toll on mental health. The best thing you can you do is try to keep to a daily routine, stay in touch with your family and friends, and, if you're feeling up to it, do regular exercise without leaving the home.
byLauren Williamson | Men's Health