Speaker 1 (00:03):
Welcome to smart sex, smart love. We’re talking about sex, goes beyond the taboos and talking about love goes beyond the honeymoon. I’m dr Joe Kort. Thanks for tuning in.
Speaker 2 (00:13):
Speaker 1 (00:16):
hello and welcome to all my new listeners and all of my existing listeners. Today we’re going to be talking about a special topic, the Corona virus, the novel coronavirus, also known as coven 19 has given all of us cause for concern in light of the pandemic unfolding all over our world this week I’m doing a special show dedicated to mental health and coping during coven. The outbreak of covert 19 can be stressful for many people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and caused strong emotions in adults and children. My guest today is Kim Stevens, MSN, R, N C N. O. R. Kim who has been a registered nurse for 25 years, is currently director of clinical operations for a third gen health group in Troy, Michigan. She is also getting certification on coaching patients on stress management and resiliency through Massachusetts general hospital and Harvard university. Kim is here to talk about non panic ways to respond to covert 19 and how to manage coronavirus anxiety. The facts not fiction. Welcome Kim.
Speaker 3 (01:25):
Speaker 1 (01:26):
So glad to have you here to talk about the facts and not the fiction and how to help people deal with their anxiety and not to panic. Thank you for being here.
Speaker 3 (01:35):
You’re welcome. Thank you so much for having me.
Speaker 1 (01:38):
So what would you like us to know maybe from the star about this coronavirus
Speaker 3 (01:44):
well first I want to say to all the listeners that you’re not alone. There are a myriad of resources out there to manage your stress and anxiety. But I always like to go with one source of truth and that one source of truth is the CDC, the center for diseases control and prevention they have on their website, cdc.gov number of resources as far as the numbers, as far as the symptoms and also a special site within their site called manage anxiety and stress. And here, this is where not only can we, can we here together, you and I have what to do, but later people can go to the cdc.gov the managing stress and anxiety site and look for themselves to really remind themselves how to deal with the stress, how to cope. Because if someone gets too stressed and cannot cope, then this does affect their physical health.
Speaker 3 (02:52):
And at this time we want everyone to remain as healthy as possible so that we can get through this together. So I can, I can take you down. I’m on this website. First it talks about stress and coping and you know, everyone responds a little bit different. Um, older people with chronic diseases, they are at higher risk. So of course those 60 and over they’re going to be a bit more heightened because of course this affects you with things that are beyond our control. The beautiful thing called aging. And then children, teens because their parents, um, their caregivers may be a bit stressed about it. These children and teens, they’re looking for that solid leader to say, I got you. And if that leader within their household is stressed, then that’s when children and teens become so much more stressed. But we may not see that because they’re great chameleons.
Speaker 3 (03:53):
They can hide it. So on down, especially people with mental health conditions, um, those people, um, we’re already stressed. We’re already a stressed environment with mental health issues. Now put this on top of it and the whole world is swirling. So to get out to all these groups to say we got you and here’s some information as a reminder. So during this infectious disease outbreak, um, you may have changes in your sleep or eating patterns. You may have difficulty sleeping, concentrating, um, worsening chronic health condition just because the stress response, like I said, that we have, it comes out in our, um, physical response and some may, you know, see an increase of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs using that as a way to cope. So I always like to remind everyone, all of all of our patients and everyone, if you, if you’re feeling overwhelmed and you can’t, you can’t get on the front line and talk to myself or talk to one of our physicians or providers, please go to the substance abuse and mental health services administration. There’s a helpline, it’s +1 800-985-5990 or you can text talk with us at six six seven four six.
Speaker 1 (05:27):
Let me you if I could just interrupt. I really like what you’re saying but I just want to add some things. One thing I think that we have to be careful about it. I don’t really like this term social distancing. I’ve been calling it physical distancing that we need to maintain being social and we can do that through the internet, through webcam, through telephone and I feel like that people that are having any kind of mental health issues, um, should not do exactly what you asked. But also let’s stay in touch. What I’ve been doing is webcamming with my friends group webcamming you can do that with FaceTime. You can do it with zoom, you can do it with lots of platforms on the internet. And it’s calming us down to say, Hey, we’re still here with each other. We’re social beings. Staying physically separate. Um, might be necessary. But socially I think it’s important to continue.
Speaker 3 (06:15):
You are a hundred percent correct on that. And I love and thank you so much for um, you know, talking about this because absolutely social distancing is six feet. But here at third gen health at all of our, um, family practice sites, we are doing video videoconferencing, not only with, um, those that are ill that need to, to have our time and attention but also doing proactive reach out to those, um, that, that we may not know, they may not have called us, but we’re calling them. So to speak, to just a Recho, whether it’s your physician provider, whether it’s friends, it’s a great time. You are right to reach out, FaceTime, phone, video, whatever it is. Because in this time of pandemic we need each other more than ever.
Speaker 1 (07:10):
And can I ask you some specific questions? Cause I have clients asking me things and I have my own questions. I mean like for instance, um, I just heard that, um, people that are older are more um, susceptible and you just talked about that. But that people that are younger, if they are asymptomatic but a carrier, they have it’s seven times more than the person, uh, an older person. Is that true or is that not true?
Speaker 3 (07:36):
You know, I, as far as you know, hard numbers is as far as you know, who, who is more virulent than the next? I hate to, you know, speak to that because right now we’re, we’re in the gathering data phase. Um, we don’t know all there is to know about this Corona virus. You know, of course in a time like this with ambiguity, people want black and white, they want an answer. Um, but there’s not, there’s not many answers right now. So we’re gathering that data and the CDC is gathering that data and the world health organization is gathering that data. So then we will have, you know, confirmed, um, whether someone seven times, whether it’s this age, that age and we’ll have more information. But right now as far as you know, active outbreak, which have there in the data and more to come.
Speaker 1 (08:30):
Yeah, it’s a really good response because I remember, I’ve, so I’m 57 years old and in the 80s when HIV and AIDS came out, I mean this was very, very similar. We didn’t know what brought it on. We didn’t know what, how you could catch it. I remember, I don’t even remember what year I keep meaning to look it up. Barbara Walters from 2020 was holding a baby that had AIDS and she was kissing it and touching it and racking it. And she was saying it’s okay. Like we knew better at that point, but people were panicked. And I remember of course, as a gay man being, um, stereotyped and out, you know, like before they had enough information that we were already stigmatized. So I appreciate your answer.
Speaker 3 (09:08):
Yeah, you’re, you’re welcome. And that’s why I stress going to one source of truth. Um, gather your information from the cdc.gov they updates their, their site, um, regularly, uh, every day. And, um, go there because you could get it from the media. You can get it from your friend. It’s a runaway train. But go to one source of truth. Go to the cdc.gov and find the real information.
Speaker 1 (09:37):
Yeah. Meaning you can get information, runaway train information is what you’re talking about.
Speaker 3 (09:43):
Exactly. Definitely like a friend of a friend. And then that, then that increases your stress and anxiety.
Speaker 1 (09:49):
So when people say, let’s, um, do you know what happens? So let’s say you are tested and you actually have the virus, how long does it last? Does it, how long does it go away? Do you know that information?
Speaker 3 (10:02):
So it’s as far as you know, how long does it lasts? Um, you are, you are in infectious, you know, they say two to 14 days. That’s why they have the quarantine for, you know, 14 days. Um, as far as how long it lasts. Again, we are still learning all there is about this coven virus. So I hate to, you know, give a hard, fast number on how long it lasts and then another site or it comes out differently. So I do know we have our arms wrapped around, you know, how long we’re infectious, but how long it lasts. Um, that could be someone could take that all different ways. So I need to speak to that hard, fast number.
Speaker 1 (10:49):
Since you’re in the middle medical field, do you have a sense of why were people not taking this very seriously at first? You know, I’m sure it happens with other things as well. Medically.
Speaker 3 (10:59):
So when you say not taking it seriously, are you saying in January we heard about it from China, but it wasn’t really here. Is that okay because, um, we always think that we always hear in the news about other countries and things happening in other countries and our country is sometimes the most of the time not affected. So when people, you know, see it in the news about other countries that are like, Oh, that’s that country, that’s not mine. So I’m now, when it’s getting closer to home, people are like, ah, shoot. It really is real. So we’ve been talking about this since January, but since it hadn’t come to the States until a bit later, um, I don’t think, you know, right or wrong, I don’t think that, you know, people took it seriously because they did not think possibly it could affect us.
Speaker 1 (11:52):
Right, right. I remember. So
Speaker 3 (11:54):
a lot of my psychotherapy conferences, I should be at one now and then there’s one in a couple of weeks and there was another one out of the country and a lot of people were saying, we’re still going forward. Um, because they didn’t really get it. They didn’t understand, and then suddenly it was like, we get it, you know, it just seemed like it came out really, people are started locking down really fast. Correct. Um, because you know, again, we’ll speak about the runaway train. Once it is in your area, just like the flu virus or any virus, um, it can, it can be spread very quickly. So, um, that’s why, yeah, people are like, Oh my goodness, it really is real. Wait a second. Yesterday was, no, you know, this number today is this number today we haven’t all 50 States. Oh my gosh. Well, no, but I think the, the, the greatest thing that I always remind patients and colleagues is, um, and for anything let’s, you know, let’s look at reality.
Speaker 3 (12:58):
What is the reality? Quit thinking of three or four things that are, what if or could be, let’s look at the reality. Because once we start getting our mind into that, into that, you know, what ifs or this and that, then we start heightening and getting super stressed and then we forget what reality is. We all do it. I myself do it with, with, you know, something. We look at a situation and then we think of three or four things and then we forgot what the reality was. So if we just pull ourselves back to reality, then we can stay grounded and then move forward with a good plan.
Speaker 1 (13:31):
And that can be so hard for people. You know, it’s easy to get into a group panic. You’re at the grocery store, you’re at a mall, wherever you’re, wherever you got to do whatever you need to do to get your stuff and go back home. And if you see a lot of anxiety, it’s easy to blend in with that. And so as therapists, we always say, stay, come back to yourself. What do you need in this moment to separate yourself from what’s going on in the group? For me, what’s helped me is not, I could get panicked, I guess if I thought, Oh my God, this could be a spread widespread and mass deaths. But when I think about what really the physical distancing is about is prevention, I’m stopping a overflow of hospitals and medical care so that we aren’t at risk of all getting sick and not having enough care. That helps me. I’m more of a prevention guy than I am a guy that’s in the middle of a crisis. Now what do we do? So I take a breath when I think of prevention.
Speaker 3 (14:26):
Yeah, you’re 100% correct. And I always, I always say in times like this, if you can’t be close, you can still have, you know, nonverbal. So, you know, for example, I was at the grocery store yesterday, uh, and you know, people were looking away and looking down and I looked at people, of course I was the, the appropriate distance, but I, but I put my hand up on wave and I smiled as big as I just to say hi and do you just from that, so many faces, a couple of people looked away, but I think it was afterwards like, Oh shoot, hi. Um, but so many people raised their hand and smiled so big, like, thank you. Thank you for just waving and smiling and saying hi and you know, let’s not forget that we don’t have to be, you know, talking clothes and, but we can just nonverbal smile wave. Hi. That’s all it takes.
Speaker 1 (15:22):
Speaker 3 (15:22):
Mile. What was it? It’s a thousand [inaudible]
Speaker 1 (15:25):
so what do you say? I don’t know if you can speak to this idea of, you know, like people having hookups, right? So you’re in a monogamous relationship, you’re fairly safe. They are, you know, hopefully there’s no breaking of the relationship agreement and, and cheating going on there. But what about single people who are, or just be open relationships where they’re hooking up? What, what are the, um, safety cautions that they should have?
Speaker 3 (15:48):
Well, you know, as with, you know, as with anyone hooking up whether you’re monogamous or not, because let’s face it, we’re all out in the community touching door handles, touching in different things. So number one, hand wash, hand wash, hand wash, I can’t stress that enough. So, um, hand-wash and, um, I, as far as, you know, keeping yourself self healthy, um, first and foremost, good nutrition, good nutrition can help that body to heal and help the immune system. So always think good nutrition. Um, so whether, again, whether you’re in a monogamous or you’re hooking up, everyone should have the same response, have the same protective response. Um, and if you are, um, not if you’re in a situation where you, um, aren’t in social distancing, um, you know, make sure at this time that you’re smart and that you’re, you’re thinking of others. So if you’re not monogamous, um, possibly it’s, it’s a, you know, a good time to be a temporarily monogamous just to think of others.
Speaker 1 (16:58):
Okay. And I actually decided to talk to some gay men because of all the, um, sexual orientations out there that have the highest hookups. It is gay men. Uh, research shows that, uh, then, um, more than straight men and women and lesbians and we’ve had to deal with this anyways when HIV came. So I asked some of my friends and colleagues, what do you say, uh, to the gay male community. And um, this is some, this is one of the things people said. Um, he said distancing is the only solution right now, but we are not going to die, but we can do our part. Avoiding the virus to spread and save elderly and weaker people for sex is the same. Although we think we are healthy. Many people are positive but asymptomatic, spreading virus around, uh, wipe your genitals before and after does solve the problem. This is going to change our sexual habits for a long time. People all around the world are experiencing monastic life means. And what cloistered monks feel every day. Be safe and joy and enjoy more. What do you say to that?
Speaker 3 (17:59):
I say, you know what spot on. Um, yes, temporarily we will have to, you know, be monogamous, but then we have to remind ourselves, um, of, you know, why, why it’s some the greater good it’s for other people. Um, you know, and, and I believe, you know, sex in and of itself, if you, um, if you think of, if you think of others, then actually it’ll, it’ll be more pleasurable for you. So, um, it might be for those that are, that are not monogamous, it might be a new way of life for them. They may find that they, uh, they love it and um, then they start practicing that.
Speaker 1 (18:42):
Yeah. I like what you’re saying. I would just add as a sexual health therapist and as a sex therapist that, you know, we always, that is what people do when they get afraid. They go right to monogamy. Like that’s the, the only way, and it might be the safest way. I mean, probably the safest way would be masturbation, right? Just sex with yourself. I always jokingly say, but it’s true, you cannot get an STI just from masturbation, from yourself, but it’s, it’s most likely not realistic for many, many people to, to just, uh, do monogamy. And so, um, I really think people need this in greater than ever sexual health conversations with each other. We’re about to hook up. What does that mean? Um, do you know your status? Most people aren’t going to know the coronavirus status. Um, how are we going to make sure that we do this in a responsible way with each other? It’s going to force people to talk, which I think is a good thing.
Speaker 3 (19:33):
You know, communication, I’ll tell you for everything and anything, whether it’s personal, professional, I don’t care what it is. Communication is key. So it will open the lines of communication. And with that, people can build deeper relationships and actually start respecting one another. I know a bit more because you know, whether you know monogamous or not, um, that is someone’s choice. Um, but at the same time we have to look at safety. Safety is always first. And if we, um, if we can’t have all of our, you know, all of our boxes checked that this this’ll be safe then you know, at this time possibly shouldn’t do it and then think a bit deeper, you know, why you, um, are, you know, wanting to, wanting to engage in this [inaudible] unsafe behavior right now. Um, not that monogamy or you know, is safe or, or you know, having multiple partners is unsafe. But what I’m seeing is in this time of coven virus, if not all the boxes are checked for safety, don’t do it.
Speaker 1 (20:42):
Yeah. Um, and, and I, I don’t disagree with your point. I just know that people are still going to do it. I know that when the AIDS crisis came around and they shut down all the places, people could go out to have sex, they found other places. And I think about teenagers. I just think, I’m hoping that this forces our country to have medical conversations, but sexual health conversation. So people are, um, you know, cause we don’t have them with, with teens and teens are going to be hooking up the, a lot of them aren’t going to think of this as um, you know, a time for abstinence and a time for monogamy and they’re going to do whatever they want. And I’m hoping parents will step up and talk to their children about what that means cause we can turn a blind eye and say be this way. And I do as I say, and people are going to do whatever they want, you know.
Speaker 3 (21:28):
Well I mean, you know, bottom line is, um, if this is, if, if, if somehow, you know, a virus is a virus and if we, um, if someone should get the, um, code 19, what we do is we treat the symptoms. There is no antibiotic to help this. There is no, um, medication such as we give Tamiflu for the flu there, you know, viruses treat the symptoms. So if you should, you know, get the symptoms of fever, cough and know you’ve been around someone that you know has been diagnosed or suspected diagnosis of Cobin then you know, be, be smart and start treating the symptoms. Um, you’ll go see your doctor or go to one of the sites where they have the drive through testing. Um, many of the hospitals have a, you know, I know all my has at Beaumont and Troy and, and a lot of the other hospitals have it. So Henry Ford, he has it as well. So, um, be smart.
Speaker 1 (22:32):
Speaker 3 (22:33):
you know, listen to your body.
Speaker 1 (22:35):
Let me ask you something. I had somebody that went to Beaumont, um, and they had, they had all these symptoms and they were told they weren’t going to test them because they didn’t meet all the criteria. So what would that be like? What would, what would be some, well, why would someone get turned away and not meet the criteria? Do you know?
Speaker 3 (22:50):
So, um, first I would have to ask, so when was this timeframe? Because from the time that we had our questions in January to the time now is a little bit, a little bit different. So, um, it depends on at what timing, um, because the, the information has changed greatly. Uh, day by day, week by week.
Speaker 1 (23:11):
Yeah. This was Sunday, this past Sunday,
Speaker 3 (23:15):
so this past Sunday. So there, there are questions, um, there are the, um, again, the, the symptoms. So, um, first, you know, they ask if the person has the symptoms, um, you know, fever, um, cough like that, upper respiratory, you know, type cough, um, you know, then they ask them, uh, where have you traveled? So of course it’s everywhere now, but we still, um, you know, want to identify within those last 14 days. And you, of course, this isn’t so much from Sunday because really people haven’t traveled, but there’s those high risk countries. Um, but also there’s a question, have you been around someone’s, um, suspected or, um, or diagnosed with Cove ed? And, um, those were the three questions now, um, today, uh, cause actually as of yesterday, some of the, some of the guidelines changed. And now the, um, they’re swabbing, you know, more people because it is here in our area and they are first testing for the flu.
Speaker 3 (24:23):
So if you, um, are test positive for the flu, then your symptoms are influenced the ARB related. Okay. Or RSP. So they do those three tests and then if they’re negative, then they will send it on for, um, coven testing. So, um, I know that even as a, you know, Sunday, Monday, some of the, you know, questions, we’re still a big district, but now that it’s here, now that we have actual diagnosed cases in the area, in the local area, um, that question of, you know, where you traveled or have you been around someone, um, you know, may have, you know, laxed a bit. So even from Sunday, that’s how fast moving and changing this is,
Speaker 1 (25:09):
which is a good thing, right? Because then people can, you know, um, be more UpToDate and we know that it don’t have to be shut away, turned away. Um, I, I also liked the idea of practical things. Like I heard people saying when I go, they’re going to the grocery store, they’re wearing latex gloves. When I went to a one store, the, the, um, employees were wearing gloves. Um, what do you think about like practical ways? Like for me, for a year now, I’ve been doing portion controlled meals where they’re made at a place and they bring it to my, uh, house. And, um, so for me it’s nice. I don’t have to go to the grocery store. Someone is making it. I know the people making it. Uh, the only thing that we’re shifting is they’re not coming into my house or to the office. They’re, I’m leaving it outside and we’re exchanging it there. Do you have other practical ideas?
Speaker 3 (25:54):
Um, so I wanted to get, let me just jump to the, you know, wearing gloves issue. So, um, wearing gloves, um, is just, I think it’s, you know, smoke and mirrors. Um, with every your contact, you should wash your hands if you don’t have, um, if you’re not readily available to soap and water, then use the, you know, the hand sanitizer. Um, sometimes they think when people wear gloves and then they’re touching door handles. How do I, how do you know that that door handle wasn’t already affected and now you’re touching food, now you’re touching people stop when you have an encounter such as, you know, delivering food such as an encounter, we just have an encounter off, go wash your hands. It’s a quick wash it so hand, hand washing, hand washing, it cannot replace glove usage. Sure it can help protect, you know, you and I, but that’s for a small situation that’s not to wear around and you know, picking things up and now you’re just spreading it all over.
Speaker 1 (26:58):
Well, I like what you’re saying because there’s this argument now out there. Uh, and some of it’s harsh, but I like the, the spirit of it is, it’s not just about protecting you, it’s about protecting each other. So the gloves would protect you. But what you’re saying is it could still spread it to others.
Speaker 3 (27:13):
Speaker 1 (27:13):
I like that. What about, um, I understand, and I don’t know enough about this, but my husband, um, was telling me that, uh, in China, um, things are a little bit better. Like there’s, they sort of have a better handle on it. Is that true? And if so, what does that mean?
Speaker 4 (27:31):
Speaker 3 (27:31):
So what that means is they, they’re starting to, there’s this 32, you know, get better. But the reason being, they’re the ones that had it first because viruses, they can’t stay in your body forever. They peak and then then your body fights it and you get better. So, um, they were the first to have it. So of course it makes sense that it’s getting better for them because they’ve, they’ve had it the longest.
Speaker 1 (27:59):
And what, yeah, go ahead.
Speaker 3 (28:01):
Oh, I, I, so I mean, again, it just makes sense. You know, how viruses, how any virus, the flu or whatever in your body. I mean, your immune system fights it. Uh, you get better and then less people are affected. And, um, that’s why the numbers are going down.
Speaker 1 (28:20):
Okay. And so people are saying here too, I don’t know if you’ve heard this, that this isn’t going to be a couple of weeks. This could be a couple of months. It could even be up to a full year that we’re going to have to do this. What do you say to that?
Speaker 3 (28:31):
So I, I’d say just like, um, the flu season. Um, we’re gonna, we’re gonna have, we’re gonna have people affected and then it gets better and then people affected again and then it gets better. So just like the flu season, um, we’re going to, this is just one of those strains of viruses that’s going to be around now, the second and third time that, uh, you know, comes around our bodies have great memories and we’ll remember that virus strain so that, um, our symptoms may not be, you know, as wreck as drastic. Um, so right now this is a new virus that then, no, nobody even knew how to fight. So, um, that’s why this is so, so, um, critical for, um, elderly and those with, you know, heart disease. And lung disease and you know, diabetes and you know, and, and different, um, you know, different comorbidities. So, um, but as time goes on, it w it won’t be so, um, so what I, what I’ve heard is for here that we may see it, you know, peak in, you know, mid may and then as it gets warmer out and more people outside just as the flu season tampers, you know, goes down in the summer.
Speaker 3 (29:57):
So will this,
Speaker 1 (29:58):
that’s what I wanted to hear you say
Speaker 3 (29:59):
won’t ramp up in the fall.
Speaker 1 (30:01):
Right. Okay. But that’s helpful. I want to do to say that, that people need to hear that because I think people are so panicked. They don’t know how much was this going to ramp up? Is there any, how long will I be in quarantine kind of thing?
Speaker 3 (30:13):
Well, we’ll be in quarantine until we see the numbers go down. And as people’s bodies start to, you know, fight it off and get better. Um, but we can’t get better without decreasing our anxiety, having great nutrition, great hand washing and protecting ourselves and others.
Speaker 1 (30:30):
And it’s so important. I think the government’s been so good about, um, you know, saying like, we have these telehealth rules in mental health and medical health where we’re not supposed to, we’re only gonna have to use certain platforms to talk to clients if they can’t make it into the office and they’re waving a lot of those things so that we can, because not everyone’s up to speed. I am, I do a lot of, um, long distance, um, discussions and consultations with people and clients. So I use VSI virtual site of, it’s made specifically for telehealth and medical health and now there’s doxy, um, and there’s zoom is HIPAA compliant, but the government has said it’s okay for a little bit, since we’re in a state of emergency here to use any platform you have. So clients have access to talk to their therapists, talk to their medical practitioners and deal with their anxiety and depression or whatever. It’s coming up with them.
Speaker 3 (31:22):
I think that is so smart and I think that is the right way to go because we can’t do it alone. We need each other. And, um, for a, you know, a therapist, a physician, a provider, um, a nurse, whoever, to reach out to that person, um, to just say, I got you, I got you. And we’re going to do this together. We’re going to get through this together. That’s when people’s anxiety will decrease and that’s when people will organically just start getting better.
Speaker 1 (31:54):
I agree. What are any additional thoughts you have that you want to share before we come to a close?
Speaker 5 (32:01):
Speaker 3 (32:03):