Precautions cancer patients can take to stay safe from coronavirus

Do not panic owing to the coronavirus outbreak. Stay in touch with your family members via phone.

Coronavirus is a global crisis, and the situation is changing every day. COVID-19 is a virus that causes respiratory disease and in serious cases, it can lead to pneumonia. If one exhibits symptoms such as respiratory distress, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties then he/she may suffer from coronavirus. Since, everyone is advised to stay safe at home and adhere to the recommended precautions, it is equally imperative for cancer patients to take charge of their health during the lockdown period.

“Cancer patients are at a higher risk of suffering from coronavirus. It is the need of the hour for them to avoid venturing out of the house and follow all the necessary precautions,” remarked Dr Dhairyasheel Savant, senior surgical oncologist, reconstructive and microvascular surgeon, Asian Cancer Institute of Oncology (ACI Hospital).

Here’s what cancer patients must do, as per Dr Savant.

Exercise regularly

It is essential to stay physically active. Not exercising can lead to the loss of body function, muscle weakness and limited range of motion. So, improve your balance and reduce your risk of falls by exercising daily. Try to do your daily chores by leading an active lifestyle. This will allow you to improve your self-esteem. Exercising can also lessen your feeling of nausea. Thus, you will be able to maintain an optimum weight, avoid feeling fatigued and enhance your quality of life.

However, remember to speak to your doctor before undertaking any exercise regime. They will be able suggest an exercise programme based on the stage of cancer and your strength, stamina and flexibility. Other exercises that you can do at home are walking, light stretching and yoga. But avoid doing rigorous activities. If you encounter pain while exercising, then immediately stop.

Eat healthy

Cancer patients should opt for a healthy and well-balanced diet at home. Include all the essential nutrients in the diet. Eat foods such as tomatoes, carrots, pumpkin, green leafy vegetables packed with iron and calcium and cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli). Going for fruits like banana, peach, kiwis, berries, pear and oranges that help you get that much-needed vitamin C can be helpful. Bid adieu to deep-fried, oily, spicy, processed, preserved and sugary foods. Add ginger, garlic, and turmeric in the food to help boost immunity. Stay hydrated by drinking a lot of water.

Take charge of your mental well-being

See to it that you meditate to calm yourself down. Do not panic owing to the coronavirus outbreak. Stay in touch with your family members via phone. Spend some ‘ME’ time by doing activities that you like. Read, write, listen to music or opt for gardening. Do not get bogged down.

Structure your schedule

Make a list of activities you would want to do throughout the day. Maintain a journal and write down your thoughts and feelings.

Other important measures

*Do not be around people who are sick or venture out of the house.

*Maintain good personal hygiene. Clean or disinfect objects that you tend to touch frequently.

*Do not exert yourself and rest as much as you can.

*Do not touch your face, nose or even mouth if you haven’t washed your hands.

*If your family members are sick, see to it that they cover their mouths while coughing or sneezing. Also, you must cover your mouth while sneezing or coughing as well. Restrict visitors at home. Dispose of the tissues used to cover the mouth while sneezing or coughing. Maintain social distance at home by staying six feet away from people.

*Do not believe in rumours. Avoid reading news that is distressing.

*Make sure you don’t skip your medications and stay in touch with your doctor.

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