Heard On Sundial: Physical And Mental Health During Coronavirus Pandemic

Mar 26, 2020

On this Thursday, March 26, episode of Sundial:

COVID-19 is impacting all aspects of our daily lives like our physical health, financial stability and mental health.

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"We need to recognize our role and the importance of all of us to cooperate in flattening the curve," says Dr. Aileen Marty, an infectious-disease expert. "We will have a staggering number of deaths if all of us do not take this (coronavirus) seriously."

Read more: What Does 'Slowing Down' The COVID-19 Curve Mean?

On today's WLRN Sundial program, we gathered a group of infectious-disease experts and psychologists to give you some tools to stay physically and mentally healthy during this difficult time. Guests: Dr. Aileen Marty, with the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine at Florida International University; Dr. Bindu Mayi, a Professor of Microbiology in the Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine, Nova Southeastern University; Dr. Scott Poland, a Professor at the College of Psychology at Nova Southeastern University; and Dr. Jill Ehrenreich-May, a Professor of Psychology at the University of Miami.

These are some of the questions you’ve asked us about physical and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. We answered them for you. 

If you want to ask the WLRN Sundial a question about anything coronavirus related, send us an email at sundial@wlrnnews.org, message us on Facebook or tweet at us

Q: Do you build immunity to coronavirus after you get it? 

A: Yes, we should be building immunity against this virus. But reinfection is always a possibility with any infection, which puts young people at risk later in life. Also, COVID-19 will lower your immunity to other infections. 

Q: Do masks work and who should be using them? 

A: There are two different kinds of masks: surgical and face masks (N95). Anyone who is shedding virus should be using them and anyone with a severe underlying condition should use surgical masks. We have a terrible shortage of face masks. If you don't have one, the CDC says a bandana is an alternative, which will provide a little protection. 

Q: Is this more contagious than the common flu?

A: Yes, and it has a longer period of time between when you are shedding virus and when you're symptomatic. 

Q: I’m a caregiver. At what point will testing be broadened? 

A: People who only have a certain level of symptoms can take tests and that is hiding some of the outbreaks. 

Q: What are healthy practices for parents to handle their stress or strong emotions when they are in close quarters with their children? 

A: It's important to reiterate that there are rules to your kids. Set expectations and reward systems. And for yourself, keep your brain and body busy. Reach out to friends and family and seek help when you need. 

Q: How should I talk to my kids about the coronavirus?

A: It is important to talk to them, but talk to them at their level. Share facts and try to use ‘kid speak,’ in an age-appropriate way. Speak simply. Also, validate their feelings. Tell them how you feel and think of ways together to cope. And a reminder that you are doing the best that you can.

WLRN producer Chris Remington helped in the production of this episode.