Experience Social Distancing in #MasonCityIA
By Tonya Gray, MD
How can you prevent yourself from getting the coronavirus? By now, you’ve heard about social distancing. Right now that means:
- No gatherings of more than 10 people.
- Keep 6-feet of distance from others when possible.
- Don’t go where you don’t need to go.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Stay home if you are sick. You don’t want to catch coronavirus when you are sick with something else. On that same note, get your flu shot if you haven’t already. Influenza is still circulating. Get all the shots you need, for that matter.
Wash your hands frequently (and don’t forget the soap!) especially after touching public doorknobs, shopping carts, shared workout equipment, etc. Avoid shaking hands with others.
Try not to touch your face. In order to spread, this virus needs to get to your nose/mouth, and your hands are a good way for that to happen.
Make your immune system as strong as you can:
- Stop smoking. Stop vaping. This is the perfect time to quit. Coronavirus is a respiratory virus. Keep your lungs strong. Avoid secondhand smoke, as well.
- Get adequate rest. That means around 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
- Exercise. Getting outdoors in natural sunlight and green spaces (eventually) may be beneficial but any exercise is good… except strenuous exercise can have a negative effect on immune function so don’t go all out every day.
- Reduce stress. Maybe check in with the coronavirus news only 1-2 times daily. Have at least 3 ways to manage stress. Meditation and prayer, reading, gardening/hobbies, talking with friends, exercise, etc are popular ways. I like the HeadSpace app for meditation if you need direction. I have never seen a study indicating that social media/internet use reduces stress, so really consider limiting yourself. I realize this is going to be your main source of what to do, but just check in a few times a day.
- Healthy nutrition. Eat from all the food groups, heavy on the vegetables and fruits. Now is not the best time to start the Keto diet or anything else extreme. If you are missing a major food group in your diet, consider taking a multivitamin. (There is not great evidence that taking vitamins help, but we do know certain vitamins are essential for immune function.) Be sure to discuss use of any other supplements with your doctor! Many of them can make things worse.
- Take care of your medical problems. Take your medications as prescribed by your doctor. Do what you are supposed to do for all your medical conditions. Diabetes, for instance, can affect immune function if it’s not properly controlled.
Lastly, for those who may still think we’re overreacting – If this pandemic ends up not being as bad as we feared, it will be because we did what we were supposed to do when we were supposed to do it. In the meantime, be safe and always err on the side of caution.
Dr. Tonya Gray is a Family Medicine Physician at Mercy One North Iowa in Mason City, Iowa. She provides Travel Medicine Services and currently serves as Chair of the Cerro Gordo County Board of Health.
SUGGESTED WAYS TO EXPERIENCE SOCIAL DISTANCING IN #MASONCITYIA
- Get out and explore over nine miles of trails at Lime Creek Nature Center
- Mason City Bikeways offer numerous multi-use pathways, bike lanes, off-road paths and paved shoulders… all conveniently accessible and connected.
- Enjoy a self-guided tour of the River City Sculptures on Parade or the Prairie School Architectural Tour.
- Hit the links at Highland Park Golf Course – now open for the season (with some additional safety procedures and guidelines)!
- Fishing is a great outdoor activity that also provides stress relief and relaxation. There are numerous places to cast your line in Mason City, Clear Lake, and Cerro Gordo County. (From the Iowa Department of Natural Resources: The way we interact with others may be a little different right now with Iowa’s current State of Emergency. The Iowa DNR has made adjustments to protect the health and safety of state employees, the public, and our angling community. But that doesn’t mean you can’t go fishing. Stay close to home, keep groups to fewer than 10 people, and once you find your fishing spot, be mindful of one another’s safety – keep at least 6 feet of distance between you and others.)
- Get in your car and drive to a quiet area and just sit… Be still. Breath deep. Stretch. Close your eyes. Really take in the sounds of nature and relax.
- Support local businesses by shopping by phone, online or purchasing gift cards
- Enjoy takeout from local restaurants >>CLICK HERE for the latest business updates and closings