All childhood, adolescent and young adult cancer survivors should continue to follow recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19, like mask wearing, social distancing, frequent hand washing, etc, as advised by national and/or local authorities. Cancer survivors with specific health conditions (heart disease, chronic lung disorders, diabetes, and those with impaired immune systems) may have a higher risk for a severe course of COVID-19.
The changes and uncertainty caused by COVID-19 may also cause increased stress, anxiety, and other emotional effects. Think about how you can adapt and find creative ways to continue to do things you enjoy. Experts from the United Kingdom have also provided recommendations to help improve your mental health and well-being:
- Stay in touch with others: Connect with your friends and family by calling, texting, or using social media.
- Get outside at least once a day: Spending time in green spaces can benefit both your mental and physical well-being.
- Help and support others: Helping those around you can make a big difference to them and can make you feel better too.
- Talk about your worries: It is quite common to feel worried, scared or helpless about the current situation. Sharing how you are feeling with your family and friends is important. In the US, you can also call SAMHSA's National Helpline 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
- Look after your physical well-being: Your physical health has a big impact on how you feel emotionally and mentally. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water, exercise, and try to avoid smoking, alcohol and drugs.
- Look after your sleep: Try to maintain regular sleeping patterns and good sleep hygiene -- good-quality sleep makes a big difference to how you feel mentally and physically.
- Manage your media and information intake: Constant news and social media updates can make you more worried. Be sure to get the facts from trusted high-quality news sources. If it is affecting you, try to limit the time you spend consuming coverage of the outbreak.
For a complete list of the recommendations click here.
Click here for the full IGHG guidance.