American Consequences - April 2020


If coronavirus is so easily transmitted should we be worried about our paper money, coins, and checks being infected? A recent study found that the virus lives for 24 hours on cardboard and 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel. This came from a branch of the National Institutes of Health in Montana. That doesn’t really help for things like paper or clothes. Another study from the Journal of Hospital Infection compiled everything we know about how another coronavirus – SARS – behaves. The study found disparity in results when it came to surfaces like paper – one SARS strain only survived three hours but another was four days. So again, we just don’t know. We recommend using caution. Wear gloves when handling money and always wash your hands after handling any kind of currency. And we recommend this year-round – money can hold tons of germs given how often it’s exchanged. It’s a hotbed of germs, so just make it a good practice to always wash up after handling. Advise your family to do the same. Can pets contract coronavirus from their owners... and vice versa? Great news – pets can’t contract COVID-19. It did jump from an animal species to humans, but it can’t live in other animals that we know of. So don’t worry about Fido getting you sick – spend time with your pets. It’ll help lower your stress and anxiety levels.

While it’s tempting to watch TV all day and keep up with the news cycle, too much of this leads to feelings of depression, anxiety, and even a sense of impending doom. Psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb calls this “unproductive anxiety.” In other words, worrying for the sake of worrying. It’s easy to worry too much about things that are out of our control. You’ll wind up catastrophizing (imagining the worst outcomes) and making yourself sick. The best way to combat this is to limit your time watching, listening to, or reading the news. Try just an hour a day or do a quick check in the morning and again at night. That goes for stock market news as well – set up a reminder for your stops and quit worrying over every move. We spoke to a doctor of psychology at Ohio’s Nationwide Hospital. She shared this phrase: Social distancing does not equal emotional distancing. In other words, you need to work harder these days to maintain your social network. Socialization is our way to combat loneliness and depression – both of which hit older folks harder than others. I touched on this last week, but I want to repeat it again: Make


April 2020

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