It might be hard for socially inactive people who are in their homes for a long time to adapt to the new order. MD Assoc. Prof. Elif Hakko, from Infectious Diseases Department and Clinical Psychologist Ezgi Dokuzlu from Anadolu Medical Center stated that even when people stick to social distancing and hygiene measures, they may still be concerned about contracting the virus. Below you can see their recommendations regarding accepting the “New Normal”.
People who played by the rules and tried their very best to stay home during coronavirus pandemic may feel concerned when they eventually have to use public transport. Fear of contracting the disease and the related suspicion may induce worry, which might make them act carelessly in their daily lives. For instance, an obsessive patient who shows utmost caution not to contract the virus may on the contrary act carelessly and make more mistakes. This, as a vicious cycle, may make that person feel down. This might be particularly challenging for people who previously had obsession or obsessive cleaning symptoms. If one takes cautions and attends to the rules but still cannot leave her/his house or go to public places even in a controlled manner due to the fear of contracting the disease, s/he needs support…
Living without caution is the gravest mistake in adapting to the ‘New Normal’
One of the biggest mistakes in adapting to the new normal is living without caution, considering the risk of disease is over. We must stick to individual hygiene rules and transition to the normal process from the quarantine stage gradually. Crucially, we must warn others not adhering to the rules of hygiene and caution. We must warn them gently rather than blaming them and we have to inform people who are not well-informed. We are at the stage when people are socially longing for each other but are also fearful of each other due to the disease. We must sympathise as much as we can during this process. Concern, albeit at an acceptable level, will drive us to be more careful and attentive. We may be longing for pre-COVID-19 days, yet we have to come to terms with the new order and our new lifestyle.
Children must be told why masks are worn
These days, children might be afraid of people wearing masks. We must clearly explain why everyone is wearing masks, when we should wear masks and what masks stand for to the children.
People suffering from panic attacks should seek support if they endure hardships during the transition to the normal
Panic disorder or obsessive compulsive disorder patients may struggle to adapt to this new order. Some may consider all people as sick or carriers of the disease, and may believe there are people around who deliberately want to infect her/him with this disease. People with problems of these sorts must seek psychological support if they are struggling in transitioning to normal life.
Transition to normal reduces concern
These days, we seem to be receiving favourable results in the battle against the virus. We must take in to consideration that measures taken and patience of all contributed frankly to these favourable results. We must come to accept that we are going to live in accordance with social distancing rules for a very long time. This new order will likely change our social habits and many things we were accustomed to previously. In the fight against the virus, days of fear and worry were present. Now, we are witnessing that the gradual transition to normalisation is reducing concerns.
Many have accepted the situation and adapted to the measures. These measures and social distancing will be present in our new lifestyle for some time. We might be wishing to go back to the pre-pandemic days and hope all this was over but we should try our best to adapt to the new order instead of comparing it to our previous lifestyle we had come to accept for years. We have to have confidence in the measures taken and following directions by experts should be more than enough. We are all concerned about contracting the disease and take individual measures; however, we have to keep in mind that taking these individual measures is our responsibility for the society.
6 items of the ‘New Normal’ we are curious about
Assoc. Prof. Elif Hakko, MD from Anadolu Medical Center Infectious Diseases Department explains what we should watch out for in the “New Normal” phase following the coronavirus pandemic:
There are many questions in the air in this novel time such as “What should we watch out for when we go back to work?”, “Is it ill-advised to go swimming in the pool or sea?” or “What measures should we take in public transport?”. Three constants in the normalisation phase are wearing masks, social distancing and hygiene rules. Another question that often pops up is “Does the impact of the virus decrease as climate gets hotter?”. It is known that coronavirus is susceptible to ultraviolet. In a study in the United States, the virus reproduction rate was shown to decrease with increasing temperatures. However; it is also perplexing to see high number of cases in South American countries at a time when temperatures are high. The virus is expected to transmit less in the summer when people are in larger, more spacious areas and in open air. However; this obviously does not mean we can give up on the measures.
1-) BEWARE OF COFFEE BREAKS
Wearing masks is necessary not only when commuting to work but also in working environment. Wearing the mask so that it completely covers the nose and mouth, washing hands frequently, using hand disinfectant and social distancing with colleagues (1,5 metres) at work are important. We have to stick to social distancing rules particularly in meetings, in open offices, and especially during coffee breaks when masks are not worn. Masks should not be removed without disinfecting the hands and should not be left unattended.
2-) A/C IS A RISK
Air conditioners are risky with regard to spreading the virus. If A/C is blowing clean air, it is OK. The risk, however, increases if A/C filters the ambient air and blows it back. For that reason, ventilation should be done with opening the windows, if possible. You are, though, free to use air conditioners at home or in your car – the ones that only you operate.
3-) PREFER SHOPPING MALLS WITH OUTDOOR AREAS
We should stay away from shopping malls, as much as we can. If we must, then we should prefer the ones with outdoor areas. Keeping shopping mall visits short, opting for escalators instead of elevators and avoiding contact with surfaces are crucial. If you have to try clothes on, make sure the cabin is cleaned after each and every customer while staying in the cabin for a short time and cleaning hands after contact with surfaces are also necessary.
4-) DO NOT WEAR GLOVES
We have to ensure the masks are worn correctly. Additionally, we must not touch the masks. Hands have to be disinfected following contact with surface. Wearing gloves is not right. When gloves are worn, we tend to touch and establish contact with almost all surfaces and then may touch our face and the mask with those gloves. Bags, phones and similar personal belongings may be contaminated with dirty gloves. Instead, not wearing gloves and frequent disinfection of hands is more suitable.
5-) POOL AND SEA: NOT RISKY
As summer approaches, a multitude of questions on whether it is risky to swim in the pool or sea come to the fore. Virus is not transmitted in water in pool which is chlorinated at the right rate, nor it can transmit by swimming in sea. However; we must be careful about social distancing after swimming while sunbathing. Towels must be individualised and sunbeds must be cleaned after each use.
6-) YOU CANNOT CONTRACT THE VIRUS THROUGH FOOD
There seem to be many questions about restaurants and places of entertainment. Ministry of Health is on course for some arrangements regarding restaurants. Both the businesses and the customers should abide by these recommendations. There is a consensus that open buffet is risky since serving spoons and plates are touched by all involved. On the other hand, there is no risk for plates, cups, glasses, spoons, forks and knives so long as the dishes are washed at a high temperature. However; serving these straight to the customers after washing is crucial. Also, it has to be said that the virus does not transmit through food.