10 Simple Ways to Help Others and Yourself Fight the Pandemic
"Real strength has to do with helping others" – Fred Rogers
Listen to the experts
By now we’ve all heard the urgings of the Centers for Disease Control and others to avoid large gatherings, practice social distancing, stay home if we are sick and of course, wash our hands. It might feel unnatural to avoid shaking hands or giving someone a hug, but for now, that’s the new normal.
Support small businesses
Think about the small businesses you normally patronize. You can still support them by buying a gift card or order a product over the phone. Local restaurants are facing uncertain times, but many are choosing to remain open for now. Tip extra if you can, even if you’re ordering takeout.
Donate to local food banks
Because of the pandemic, the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank has a specific request for donors. “As we continue our core mission services, cash donations are requested over any product donations at this time,” writes Lisa Scales, the Food Bank’s President and CEO, on its website. ”If people would like to make a donation to the Food Bank, the best way for them to do that is to visit our website at pittsburghfoodbank.org.”
Support the Arts
Pittsburgh’s cultural organizations are heeding the advice of experts to shut down, a decision that comes at a tremendous cost. Consider a donation, or, if you are holding tickets to a canceled event, consider ticket exchanges for future shows or donating your tickets for a tax refund.
Check on the elderly
Whether a relative, a friend or a neighbor, some older people may fear shopping for groceries or other essentials because of the virus. Check on them, from a safe social distance, to see what that might need.
The coronavirus is impacting the blood supply, and Vitalant (formerly Central Blood Bank) urgently needs donors. The Red Cross also is urging people to donate and says there’s no known coronavirus risk from giving blood (or receiving a transfusion).
Watch for scams
The state of Missouri has sued televangelist Jim Bakker and six others to stop them from selling fraudulent coronavirus products. The products include teas, essential oils, tinctures and colloidal silver, which have been cited as not safe or effective for treating any disease, the Federal Trade Commission said in a statement. Experts also report that hackers have used coronavirus information to distribute malware, and scammers will likely invent other ways to take advantage of people’s fears of the virus.
Be careful what you read and watch
False information is also circulating on social media, so verify questionable information from a reliable source. The Allegheny County Health Department’s website has frequently updated information from the CDC and the Pennsylvania Department of Health and updates about COVID-19 in our area. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, which include fever, cough and shortness of breath, stay at home and contact your primary care provider to determine if you need to be tested.
Support your children
Consider these tips from the CDC:
- Take time to talk with your child or teen about the COVID-19 outbreak. Answer questions and share facts about COVID-19 in a way that your child or teen can understand.
- Reassure your child or teen that they are safe. Let them know it is ok if they feel upset. Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn how to cope from you.
- Limit your family’s exposure to news coverage of the event, including social media. Children may misinterpret what they hear and can be frightened about something they do not understand.
- Try to establish regular routines. Since schools are closed, create a schedule for learning activities and relaxing or fun activities.
Take breaks from watching, reading or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
- Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep and avoid alcohol and drugs.
- Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
- Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about any concerns and how you are feeling.
- Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.
“In times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other is to listen with our ears and our hearts and to be assured that our questions are just as important as our answers.”
– Fred Rogers