Dr. Tsubokura's Radiation Lecture Vol.140

Author: Masaharu Tsubokura PhD.

Editors: Akihiko Ozaki M.D.,PhD., Yuki Senoo MUDr.

279. Beware of rapid changes in the surrounding environment

 As of May 14, 2020, the Japanese government has lifted the COVID-19 state of emergency in Fukushima Prefecture, and many people are slowly resuming their daily routines. Still, careful consideration is needed for making any changes in our living environment, particularly in the post-coronavirus phase.

In my outpatient office, I see many patients who have a variety of complaints.

 For instance, disrupted lifestyle and reduced daily exercise due to the coronavirus pandemic led to increased weight and worsened blood glucose control in patients with pre-existing diabetes. Furthermore, many patients complained of sleep disturbances associated with increased screen time and time spent teleworking or working abnormal work hours.

 On the other hand, some patients said their eating habits improved as they ate at home on more occasions and were dining out with work colleagues less. Furthermore, some patients also claimed they did not feel any impact from the pandemic at all.

The important thing is that the health effects of stress that the COVID-19 pandemic caused are completely different from person to person. Further, the speed and degree of recovery from the negative impacts the pandemic brought are also different between each individual.

Given our current circumstance, it is likely many people will experience frustration and conflicts coming from many factors, including being unable to return to the previous daily routines as fast as expected, the difference in the time it will take to adapt to changes in the environment, and feeling overwhelmed by the situation. Moreover, all these experiences could accumulate and become a huge stress factor.

    It is important to note that what people are experiencing during this COVID-19 pandemic in terms of anxiety, living circumstances, and how they deal with the virus are different from person to person. If you are currently feeling anxious, that is a normal reaction for you in this situation. In this difficult time of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to care for each other by empathising, supporting, and respecting different opinions instead of criticizing.

280. If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, take it easy and rest at home

 As of May 31, 2020, no new cases of the COVID-19 virus have been reported for the last three weeks in Fukushima Prefecture. Furthermore, the number of patients infected with COVID-19 is observably decreasing in many regions of Japan. Although we all hope the current situations related to the COVID-19 pandemic will settle down as it is presently doing, the novel coronavirus has not completely disappeared. Therefore, we need to prepare ourselves for the potential second wave of the pandemic. (This article was originally published on 31st, May 2020.)

 One of the most important strategies for managing and preparing for the second wave of COVID-19 is not refraining from going out of the house. However, it is rather important to notice the early signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and staying home to prevent the further spread of the virus. To accomplish this, it is important to rest and take care of yourself when you have any of the COVID-19 symptoms. Moreover, it is also crucial to let family members and the people around you know as soon as possible about your health status when you have flu-like symptoms, and for workplaces and others to recognize that you need to rest.

 No one wants to be the first person in their circle to get COVID-19. That said, forcing yourself to continue working without letting others know about your symptoms can make the situation a lot worse later on.

 In addition, it is important to wash your hands and frequently gargle when coming home from being outside. Furthermore, it is recommended to practice cough etiquette and not touch your mouth, nose, or eyes after touching places many other people have touched, such as doorknobs, light switches, or the hanging straps on public transport leashes. Also, making it a habit to wash your hands after removing masks and other protective gear can effectively prevent infections.


The Japanese version of the manuscript was originally published in Fukushima Minyu, a local newspaper in Fukushima prefecture, Japan, 24th May and 31st May, 2020 was reproduced for MRIC Global under the author's permission.