UK

7 practical things to remember if you’re suffering from coronavirus health anxiety

Coronavirus has catapulted the world into completely unchartered territory, and it’s scary times for all. With the UK government recommending social distancing, encouraging the whole population to avoid busy social places such as pubs, clubs, restaurants, and theatres, we’re facing a long road ahead of… well, not a lot.

And in that empty space, anxiety can manifest. Whether you’re someone who has long suffered from health anxiety, or if these are new feelings for you, it’s important to find coping mechanisms that help to calm you.

With that in mind, we asked GP Dr Adwoa Danso to share some useful, practical things to remember in these worrying times. If you find yourself spiralling, read through these pointers slowly, and remember that you are certainly not the only one experiencing this kind of fear.

1. Remember that it will pass

“The COVID-19 situation is changing rapidly but it is important to remember that the outbreak will pass,” says Dr Danso. “The majority of people will be unaffected or have mild symptoms which they will completely recover from.”

2. Be aware of the symptoms of stress

“And address them quickly by seeking help from your GP,” advises the doctor. Symptoms of stress can include “overindulging in alcohol and tobacco, having difficulty concentrating, and having a poor sleep pattern”.

3. Focus on the facts

This is a particularly important one, especially with social media facilitating all sorts of information flying about. “Not everyone is an expert,” reminds Dr Danso. “Use reputable sources such as WHO and Public Health England for your information.”ADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW

4. Talk

“Speaking to people you trust about any concerns helps a lot,” advises the GP. If your friends and family aren’t in the same household as you, utilise the extensive technology we’ve got at our disposal and have regular calls and FaceTimes.

5. Continue taking any prescribed medication from your GP

“Have a plan to obtain your medication if you are to self- isolate, to ensure you do not run out of medication,” reminds the doctor.

Antidepressants, mental health, medication

GRACE CARYGETTY IMAGE

6. Try to avoid feeling claustrophobic

During times of self-isolation and social distancing, it’s natural that the four walls around you might feel as though they’re closing in. “If you’re feeling cooped up, focus on hobbies you can do more of, such as cooking, reading and yoga,” suggests Dr Danso. What better time to crack into that 1,000 piece puzzle…

7. Focus on things you CAN do

Which are: “Follow medical advice, wash your hands and use sanitisers regularly, and avoid non-essential travel.”

Coronavirus, health anxiety

DELMAINE DONSONGETTY IMAGES


The information in this story is accurate as of the publication date. While we are attempting to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, the situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic continues to develop rapidly, so it’s possible that some information and recommendations may have changed since publishing. For any concerns and latest advice, visit the World Health Organisation. If you’re in the UK, the National Health Service can also provide useful information and support, while US users can contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr Adwoa Danso is finding new ways to reach communities where some health topics are taboo

Profile – Dr Adwoa Danso

Roles – Full-time locum GP in Essex and east London; resident doctor on GN Radio UK, including as host of The Medical Show with Dr Danso; founder of The Clinic Diaries online platform; executive at the Ghanaian Doctors and Dentists Association UK (GDDA UK)

Hours worked – Eight to 10 NHS sessions and additional work

Saturday

I’m filming a women’s health series for The Clinic Diaries, my YouTube channel. It’s good to vary themes – this one follows the success of a male-focused series. Other episodes have covered pregnancy, contraception and the impact of social media on mental health.

We film at my home (it’s more relaxed that way), joined by family and friends or special guests such as activists or other healthcare professionals.

The group format enables everyone to share a variety of views. Our audience is mainly black and minority ethnic women, and we discuss issues affecting them and women in general, such as the pressure to have children, and a recent report stating black women are more likely than white women to die during childbirth.

Afterwards, I oversee my producer Sarah in editing the footage, before we release the episodes on YouTube.

Sunday

Weekdays are largely taken up with clinical sessions, so I use Sundays to prepare for my weekly radio show for the Ghanaian community in the UK – typically by reading the newest medical guidelines and the healthcare sections of newspapers – plus Pulse, of course.

I decide the topic the week before, and tell listeners in advance. This time, I’m focusing on menstrual problems. Next is chronic kidney disease. I generally choose issues common in this community; we have covered malaria treatment, hypertension and fertility concerns.

Unfortunately, many medical subjects are taboo in Ghanaian culture, mainly because of deep-rooted spiritual beliefs. This can make it difficult for people to seek help, so I’m proud of how the radio show helps to tackle these barriers.

My co-host, Stanley, is a pro at facilitating discourse. As he doesn’t have a medical background, I brief him with basic clinical information. His lay input brings a fresh perspective, raising points that audiences might be curious about.

Monday

In the evening, I have a conference call with the other executives at the Ghanaian Doctors and Dentists Association UK.

We’re organising our annual conference and gala, which will be fundraising for obstetric fistula support in Ghana. There are plenty of details to consider, from sending VIP invitations to selling raffle tickets.

Tuesday AM

Tuesday is the highlight of every week. After a busy surgery, I head to the GN Radio headquarters in Oval, south London for the weekly show.

I get there early to catch up on local news, checking for anything that is timely for our listeners, who are mostly of Ghanaian origin. Stanley is on hand again, setting up cameras to stream the show to Facebook. This is a key part of our engagement, allowing listeners to submit questions while we’re on air.

Tuesday PM

Before long, we are broadcasting. Our topic is the impact of heavy periods on a woman’s life and there’s plenty to discuss – sick days off work, relationship problems, period poverty and being ostracised by some communities.

I ask how much a pack of sanitary towels costs in Ghana. A Facebook user quickly responds: it’s 6 cedis – roughly £1. For context, the Ghanaian living wage is 900 cedis per month – around £135.

I aim to advise on the issues we explore but stress that, despite hosting a medical show, I’m not a replacement for listeners’ own GPs, and won’t offer personal advice. They’re generally respectful of this, and are always engaging and keen to discover more. One enquires about the Mirena coil – how it’s fitted, whether the process is painful and the estimated recovery time. Another wants me to debunk myths about fibroidectomy. I try to answer all questions, then recap the key points for those who tune in late.

Towards the end, I reiterate that more information can be found on my social media accounts – @ClinicDiaries on Twitter and TheClinicDiaries on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Tuesday evenings whiz by, and I’m always left inspired after a productive show.

Throughout the week, I keep an eye out for queries or specific areas to pay attention to, ready to do it all over again.

Source:http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/

Ghana’s queen needs help at Miss World 2019

Rebecca Kwabi, Miss Ghana 2019 and Ghana’s representative at the ongoing 2019 Miss World pageant, needs extra push by way of votes from her home country to make Ghana proud.

The grand finale of the 69th edition of the Miss World pageant is scheduled to take place in London on December 14, 2019.

Currently, different contestants from various countries around the world, including the Ghanaian queen, have been going through various activities to help secure a place at the finale of the world’s most prestigious pageant, but they also need support from their countries via voting.

Rebecca is one of the contestants who are lagging behind with 0.12% points. She needs more votes to secure her bid to make Ghana proud.

The process to vote is quite simple. One can just visit www.missworld.com, sign up and… the person is good to vote,” the Miss Ghana Organisation announced on Instagram.

Rebecca is a student whose ambition is to open a fashion school and have her own fashion line. Her hobbies include dancing, sports, aerobics and swimming. Rebecca comes from a family of seven, and she is very close with them. The proudest moment of her life was winning a modelling contest alongside her twin sister. Rebecca’s life motto is ‘stay positive, be happy, live free’.

She believes she can bring home the Miss World crown, but with support from her county.

Meanwhile, this year Miss World has been hit by controversy over model Veronika Didusenko, who was crowned Miss Ukraine in 2018.

Four days after she won the title, the pageant officials took away her title because she is a mom, which violates the pageant’s policies. The rules of Miss World state that a contestant cannot be someone who has a child.

But on Saturday, more than a year after Didusenko was stripped of her title, the model announced on Instagram that she is taking legal action against Miss World, calling its policy prohibiting mothers from competing “discriminatory.” In an interview with the BBC published Sunday, Didusenko said she wants to “make sure the rules of Miss World move with the times” and hopes the pageant updates its rules to “reflect women’s reality today.”

Stars celebrate Avicii at emotional tribute concert

Stars including Rita Ora, Adam Lambert and David Guetta have played a charity tribute concert in honour of the late Swedish DJ Avicii.

Avicii, whose real name was Tim Bergling, was found dead in Oman in April 2018, at the age of 28.

His family said at the time he was a perfectionist who struggled with stress and “could not go on any longer”.

Proceeds from the concert will go to mental health and suicide prevention charities.

It opened on an emotional note, with thousands of fans lighting up Stockholm’s Friends Arena with their phones; as Swedish singer Sandro Cavazzo performed his Avicii collaboration Without You.

The song’s poignant lyrics – “I’ve gotta learn how to love without you” – have become a eulogy for the DJ in the wake of his death; with the single returning to the top of the charts in his home country.

Embellished by mournful strings, Cavazzo’s sensitive delivery set the tone for the concert, which carefully balanced commemoration and celebration.

As the song ended, she formed her hands into a heart symbol in tribute to Avicii.

After leaving the stage, she posted a heartfelt note on Instagram, saying: “I want to thank Avicii’s family for organising this [concert] to raise awareness for mental health especially within the music industry.

“Often success can be seen as a representation that someone is also doing well mentally, however we can see here that there is sooo much more work to be done.”

Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia of Sweden were among the 60,000-strong audience for the show, which was streamed live on YouTube and Facebook.

A parade of Avicii’s friends and collaborators graced the stage, including Adam Lambert, Michelle Gonzalez, Agnes Carlsson, Kygo and Belgian DJ Dimitri Vegas.

Aloe Blacc, who scored a worldwide hit with Avicii on the dance-country crossover Wake Me Up, was among those paying tribute.

‘Wake-up call’

“Every generation has its icon and heroes who break convention to capture hearts and minds,” he said. “Our friend Tim Bergling was one of those bright, shining stars.

“Through his music, he shared his joy, his pain and his passion, and I witnessed his brilliance first hand.

“I trusted him and I believed in his artistic vision, and in a short time I would see the tremendous impact our collaboration would have on the world. It changed my life forever. Thank you, Tim.”

Dance producer David Guetta called Avicii’s death “a wake-up call for our community”.

Musicians, whether they’re DJs, pop stars or rock bands “push [themselves] constantly and it never stops,” he explained to Rolling Stone ahead of the concert.

“You always need to deliver constantly. It’s very difficult and the expectations, when you’ve reached the top, are huge, and so many people depend on you.”

The star said he had cut back his touring commitments after Avicii died, restricting himself to no more than 100 shows per year.

Aloe Blacc
Image captionAloe Blacc performed Wake Me Up and SOS – a posthumously-released song that addressed Avicii’s struggles
David Guetta
Image captionDavid Guetta said Avicii’s death had made him prioritise his own mental wellbeing
Fans at the Avicii tribute concert
Image captionFans lit up Stockholm’s Friends Arena to memorialise the star
Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia of Sweden were among the 60,000-strong audience
Image captionPrince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia of Sweden were among the 60,000-strong audience

The concert ended with an extended, valedictory version of Avicii’s signature song, Levels, as the arena lit up with fireworks and laser beams. Some of the crowd danced through the sadness, others stood silently in tears.

As the club beats faded into a melancholy orchestral coda, home videos of the late DJ flashed across the screen, lingering on a final, still image before fading to black.

In a statement, Avicii’s father, Klas Bergling, said the family had wanted the concert to put “the stigma surrounding mental illness and suicide” on the political agenda.

“Policies and tools are needed to detect the risks and prevent suicide, especially among young people,” he added.

“We are grateful that his friends, artists and musicians with whom he worked during his career have come to Stockholm to help us realise this tribute concert.”

Thomas Cook customers face refund delays

Customers of defunct tour operator Thomas Cook have reacted angrily after learning they will face delays in getting refunds for Atol-protected package holidays.

The Civil Aviation Authority originally said all valid claims made on the first day of its refund programme would be paid within 60 days, or by this Friday.

But now it says only two-thirds will be paid on time.

It said it had asked the remaining claimants for more information.

CAA boss Richard Moriarty acknowledged many would be worried about not getting their money back before Christmas.

“We thank consumers for their ongoing patience as we continue to do all that we can to work through the UK travel industry’s largest ever refunds programme,” he said.

“I appreciate that this is a concerning time for Thomas Cook customers who are waiting for their refunds, particularly at this time of the year.”

When Thomas Cook ceased trading on 23 September, anyone who had paid for a future Thomas Cook package holiday protected under the CAA’s Atol scheme was entitled to a full refund.

From 7 October an online refund application system opened, and customers were told the Civil Aviation Authority aimed to pay out within 60 days.

The CAA said it had received 67,000 claims on the first day, and two thirds would be paid by this weekend, bringing the total amount of compensation paid to date to £160m.

Garuda airline boss to lose job over smuggled motorbike

The boss of Indonesia’s national airline is being dismissed over allegations he smuggled a classic motorbike into the country.

Garuda’s chief executive Ari Askhara has been accused of failing to declare the importation of a Harley Davidson and two folding bikes.

The country’s finance minister said Mr Askhara had avoided up to $107,000 (£82,000) in customs duties.

It is a fresh blow to the firm, which has faced questions over its finances.

Indonesian national airline Garuda's CEO Ari Askhara speaks during a launch for new flight attendent uniforms, in Jakarta
Image captionIt is not clear when Mr Askhara will have to step down from his position

State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir told a news conference that the items were brought into Indonesia from France.

“This process was done completely within a state-owned company, not only by an individual,” Mr Thohir added, according to Reuters.

He also said payment for the motorbike was made through a Garuda finance manager in Amsterdam.

The ministry would continue to investigate the matter, Mr Thohir said.

It was not clear when Mr Askhara, who took up his role as Garuda’s chief executive in September 2018, would be forced to leave his position.

The State-Owned Enterprises Ministry did not immediately respond to a BBC request for comment.ADVERTISEMENT

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In June this year, the airline was ordered by the country’s financial watchdog to restate its financial results for 2018 over accounting errors.

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