Coronavirus (COVID-19): Managing reactions.

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a novel virus that is spreading worldwide. Though the full clinical picture is still unknown, the majority of cases are mild and can be treated. Special care and consideration should be taken by individuals with compromised immune systems.

Common signs of infection include: respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties. In severe cases infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death.

As the situation of COVID-19 develops, including media reports, travel restrictions, canceled events, and televised news; concerns for your own health and the health of your loved ones is normative, as these experiences naturally elicit emotional and cognitive reactions.

Expected responses may include:

  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Sadness
  • Anger, frustration, and/or irritability
  • Physical symptoms (increased heart rate, shakiness, upset stomach, or uncomfortable sensations).
  • Helplessness
  • Hypervigilance
  • Withdraw/Isolation/Exclusion
  • Concentration difficulty

Given the widespread coverage of COVID-19, feeling personally impacted and vulnerable is normal. In times like these moderating our thoughts, feelings, and reactions is important for both ourselves and our neighbors. There are many simple and effective ways to manage emergent reactions to events like these. Below are guidelines to improve coping and overall wellbeing:

  • Learn the Facts
    • Limit social media as a direct source of information and updates about the virus. Rather, when seeking-out information use reliable sources such as the Center for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and the California Department of Public Health. The first step toward preparation is information.
  • Take Perspective
    • After gathering relevant information to determine the risk and safety of yourself and your environment, adhere to the recommendations given for prevention. Stay up-to-date on campus-wide emails and information exchange on recent events and precautionary measures. Be sensitive to others going through this experience, as it is a stressful time for everyone. Try to stay positive as much as possible!
  • Adopt Healthy Practices
    • Most importantly, maintain your cleanliness and hygiene (wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, clean common surface areas, shower regularly, and don’t touch your face). Be considerate of your neighbors: if you feel sick, stay at home. If you are around others cover your coughs and sneezes and avoid personal contact. 
  • Practice Self-Care
    • Be mindful of your sleeping, eating, and exercising habits, as the immune system functions best when we are healthy! Take time to care for yourself, similar to how you would a loved one. You are your best when you are healthy, so engage in healthy techniques and skills (see coping exercises) to manage your reactions.
  • Seek Help if Concerned
    • If you believe you have contracted COVID-19 stay at home and call 911 for a medical evaluation. Otherwise, Take time off if you are not feeling well and make sure to visit a doctor or other health professional to discuss relevant symptoms.

For health-related inquires contact the health clinic on your respective campus.

Fresno City College: 559.442.8268                           Clovis College: 559.325.5318
Madera College: 559.675.4759                                 Reedley College: 559.638.3328

If you are feeling overwhelmed by your reactions to the recent events, or if your reaction is beginning to impact your relationships, academics, personal life, and/or general wellbeing, then you may consider contacting Psychological Services at your respective campus.

Fresno City College: 559.443.8687                           Clovis College: 559.325.5377
Madera College: 559.675.4859                                 Reedley College: 559.638.3328