General Practice

5 ways to look after your mental health during lockdown


We are currently experiencing a collective traumatic experience which is incredibly overwhelming. Living through such uncertainty can bring up our darkest thoughts and fears. It is important to understand that this experience of uncertainty and anxiety will bring up past traumas and fears, it magnifies our worries and we may begin to regress. Regression happens as our unconscious attempts to take us back to times where we felt safe and protected. It is a defense mechanism that appears in response to stressful situations. We may find that our children have regressed developmentally or that we may be seeking solace in old songs, movies and books. These are all normal responses to the abnormal situation we find ourselves in. In an attempt to process this difficult time, it may help to try follow these steps to look after your mental health during lockdown.


  1. Manage your expectations

Understand the limitations you have now. This time may not bring out the master chef in you. Balancing life might feel overwhelming now, so understand your situation and the needs you have. A basic routine will help to manage your workload. There will be days where you have to be more flexible, allow yourself the freedom to understand and accept this. Set yourself weekly goals to keep up to date with deadlines.


  1. Find something creative to do daily

Creativity has been shown to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. Creativity can be expressed in many ways. Challenging yourself to journal, draw, photograph something can be a powerful cathartic experience. Cooking and gardening can be creative challenges. Use what you have to allow yourself to find joy in being creative. You will be surprised at how healing it can be!


  1. Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness involves being present without judgement in the moment. Allow yourself to find moments of mindfulness throughout your day. A few minutes spent breathing in silence can help calm your mind and body. A mindful walk allows you to notice the beauty that surrounds you and can help shift your perspective. Mindfully eating a meal can be a great experience for the whole family. Focusing on being present in the moment can be a powerful way to connect to your thoughts and feelings. Be present with your children, use this time to notice their quirks and to witness their individuality.


  1. Move your body

Find ways to move your body in doing things you enjoy. Morning walks can be a great way to start your day and to establish a routine. Gentle stretching can ease your muscles and can be done between meetings. Playing with your pets can provide fun for the whole family. Dancing to your favourite songs is a fun way to move in a carefree way.


  1. Communicate

Being away from loved ones is difficult. Finding ways to communicate and connect with them can ease the longing you feel. Virtual visits are better than nothing. Video call your friends and record moments for those who are missing out by being away. Communicate the difficult feelings too. It’s important to find ways to speak about these feelings and fears. Remember that your mental health needs to be protected now more than ever. Psychologists are offering teletherapy now and this is a great way to manage these overwhelming thoughts and feelings.


Be kind to yourself and those around you. If you feel you are not coping, you can set up an appointment with Juliana on

Avoiding mosquito bites

Precautions that can be taken when entering a malaria endemic area;

  • Mosquitoes which carry malaria generally bite between dusk and dawn. Close windows and doors and remain indoors during this time.
  • Use insect repellent on exposed skin. Lotions and spray options are available. Generally, apply before the sun sets, and reapply before climbing into bed.
  • Spray your accommodation with an aerosol insecticide, or use other approved indoor mosquito repellent methods (burning coils, mosquito mats, etc.).
  • Wear long-sleeved, light-coloured clothing, long trousers and socks.
  • Sleep under a bed-net or in a netted tent or use screens to prevent mosquitoes from flying in.

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Common Myths Regarding Malaria

  • “It is better not to take any prophylaxis, as it masks the symptoms and makes diagnosis difficult”

This is incorrect. Prophylactic drugs suppress parasite development, and therefore, even if not totally effective (due to partial drug resistance or non-compliance), symptoms tend to take longer to appear, may be less severe at first and development of complications is retarded. In the complete absence of drugs, parasites are able to multiply at phenomenal rates, and malaria can quickly get out of hand, and lead to severe complications and death.

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HPV Vaccine (“Cervical Cancer Vaccine”)

Two vaccines are available to prevent the human papillomavirus (HPV) types that cause most cervical cancers. These vaccines are the bivalent vaccine (Cervarix) and the quadrivalent vaccine (Gardasil). Both vaccines are given in 3 injections over a 6-month period.

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Hand Foot and Mouth Disease

What is hand foot and mouth (HFM) disease?

Hand foot and mouth disease (HFM) is a viral infection characterized by fever and a typical rash most frequently seen on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, and inside the mouth. It should not be confused with foot (hoof) and mouth disease that affects cattle, sheep, and swine. HFM is caused by several members of the enterovirus family of viruses. The most common cause is Coxsackie virus A16.

What are the symptoms and signs of hand foot and mouth disease?

Initial symptoms of mild fever and malaise are followed within one or two days by a characteristic rash. Small (2 mm-3 mm) red spots that quickly develop into small blisters appear on the palms, soles, and oral cavity. The gums, tongue, and inner cheek are most commonly involved. Oral lesions are commonly associated with a sore throat and reduced appetite.

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Fever in children

Fever itself is not life-threatening unless it is extremely and persistently high. Fever may indicate the presence of a serious illness, but usually a fever is caused by common infections which are not necessarily serious.

The part of the brain called the hypothalamus controls body temperature. The hypothalamus increases the body’s temperature as a way to fight the infection. However, many conditions other than infections may cause a fever.

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