With the recent outbreak of coronavirus dominating the news and social media, it can be hard to ignore. We’re all having information shoved down our throats at all hours of the day, whether it’s correct or not. It is extremely important in times like these to remember that misinformation is our greatest enemy and that staying informed is your best defense against health issues.

While numbers in the United States have been quickly growing as more and more testing is getting done, it’s easy to begin to feel overwhelmed and even helpless against illness outbreaks like this one. We’ve been seeing our friends and neighbors isolate and go mad over getting toilet paper and other groceries to the point where store shelves are completely empty. It has been compared to the start of every outbreak movie, where people start to panic. The key in this and every public health situation is to stay calm and stay informed. So how are we to make certain that everything we hear is correct and how do we keep ourselves and our families healthy?

Beyond washing your hands for twenty seconds and keeping up basic hygiene, it is a great idea to take advantage of social distancing while it is still likely to be effective in halting the spread of the virus. While it can feel lonely and can be difficult, a few weeks of social distancing can really help to reduce the number of people who get infected. This practice has become known as flattening the curve. It helps protect those who are most at risk for infection and who stand to suffer the most from it. Those who are immunocompromised (such as those undergoing chemotherapy or who suffer from chronic illness) and the elderly are the most at risk, and while it is important to make sure that they are properly cared for and have everything they need, it is very important that we protect them from the virus as much as we can.

In addition to social distancing, we should also be mindful of our health beyond whether or not we are developing symptoms of the coronavirus specifically. Remember, it is still flu season, and we should be careful of those symptoms as well. While the coronavirus vaccine is currently in development, the flu vaccine is readily and cheaply available and helps prevent an easily transmitted illness. Additionally, your health is more than whether or not you are sick. It also includes your pain management and mental health. We might not think about chronic pain as having a major impact on our overall health and immune system, but studies have shown that managing pain can help boost your immunity and reduce stress levels. With our stress levels rising with so many extenuating circumstances that our current situation is causing, it is better to do everything you can to reduce your stressors such as pain. Visiting your regular chiropractor and massage therapist is a great way to help ensure that you are staying ahead of pain that might reduce your immune response.

Part of keeping ahead of pain is staying fit, but that can be hard to do when we are trying to avoid large crowds. Along with hundreds of resources online that provide at-home workouts, there are also plenty of ways to still get outside and getting some fresh air. Try going for a run if you’ve been feeling like you’re going a little stir-crazy inside, or for a bike ride. If you live in a crowded city where there would be too many people to do this comfortably, try purchasing a treadmill or stationary bike. If you do feel comfortable going to the gym, just make sure to wipe down the equipment with disinfectant wipes both before and after you use it.

While all this is great for keeping yourself healthy physically, it’s important that you take care of your mental health as well. If you find that you are feeling lonely, try giving a friend a call and checking in with them. If you are confident that everyone is healthy, it’s a great time to visit with friends. You can also video chat if you do have someone in your life who happens to get sick. It can be hard to stay completely isolated, especially when we might be feeling afraid. Take time to check in with yourself and make sure you are doing well. If you notice that you are developing any unusual pain in your back, shoulders, hips, etc., it may be because you are carrying stress in your body that is manifesting in painful ways. As mentioned above, physical pain can cause your immune response to be lowered. If you notice that your stress is giving you pain, make an appointment with your chiropractor for an adjustment to try and stay ahead of it.

Staying informed is also an important factor in keeping yourself healthy. When you hear a fact that you aren’t sure about, try checking on the CDC’s website to verify that what you have heard is correct. Avoiding misinformation and making sure that you are following the recommendations of health care professionals is the best way to make sure that you are not getting sick or spreading any illnesses, coronavirus or otherwise. Stopping yourself from worrying about information that is untrue also helps you to stop unnecessary stress from weighing on your mind.

If you find yourself afraid in the current health climate, take a step back and take a deep breath. Remember that there are steps you can take to prevent illness. Your health care professionals are there to help and to guide you through what can be a very worrying situation. Try keeping yourself healthy beyond just not getting sick; check in with your body and make sure that you are managing your fitness and any pain issues, in addition to maintaining your mental health. Chiropractic care is a great way to make sure that you are staying pain-free and healthy during the course of the next few months. They can help you assess your pain points and direct you on how best to avoid future pain issues, including things like stretches, exercises, and adjustments.