Dr. Jason West discusses healthy ways to combat cabin fever


(WEHT) – The coronavirus is not the only pandemic people around the world have been experiencing the past few months. Some are also experiencing cabin fever or as some experts call it quarantine fatigue.

Healthy living Expert Dr. Jason West talks about this pandemic and what we can do to combat being at home.

Brandon Bartlett: Dr. West, thanks for joining us again tonight. Most people have been staying at home for weeks now because of the state stay at home order. A recent study found there’s another pandemic that’s sweeping the globe right now: cabin fever. Some are calling it quarantine fatigue. What is quarantine fatigue? And what can we do about it?

Dr. Jason West: Well, it’s when you’re cooped up and you feel anxiety or depression, and it’s literally from not doing your normal thing. It’s a deviation from normal life, and it really affects your mental health.

Brandon Bartlett: Well, what does staying at home and not being able to go out and do the things we normally do, what does that do to us mentally and physically?

Dr. Jason West: Well, I think that’s the wrong thing that we’re doing because what I mean by that is social distancing and quarantine and stuff like that doesn’t mean to go into a closet and lock yourself down. Although I think a lot of people are doing that. What it’s doing is saying, hey, you should be careful with being around people and having transmissible vectors. But we need to be active, we need to have motion, we need to have a hobby or do a puzzle or read a book or get out and walk without being inside of a group. And that’ll help so much with quarantine fatigue.
Brandon Bartlett: So we can get outside and still social distance and be okay?

Dr. Jason West: Absolutely. I mean, matter of fact, we know that sunlight and fresh air is going to help people to overcome quarantine fatigue to get your immune system to be healthier. It’s good to get oxygen in your system. Sunlight kills viruses. I mean, it’s important to get out, it’s just you don’t need to be locked down. That’s what so many people are doing. And they’re getting sick of it. They’re getting antsy.

Brandon Bartlett: Now this study shows that some people let down their guards early and began going to places even if it wasn’t an essential trip. Does that raise the risk of a second wave of COVID-19?

Dr. Jason West: Well, I think that that’s the risk although you’re watching what’s happening in Sweden who didn’t really do the lockdown, and then recognizing that like, it’s not wise to go out and go and poke the Coronavirus giant in the eye, but at the same time, if you stay cooped up, it’s gonna be hard on you physically and mentally. You can get out and move and still fall within the quarantine guidelines and the social distancing guidelines. It’s not healthy to be cooped up.

Brandon Bartlett: In our area, both governors of Indiana and Kentucky announced that their states will began to reopen soon some things in Indiana will begin to reopen next week. But that doesn’t mean that we should all just run out at one time to the mall and out to eat does it?

Dr. Jason West: It doesn’t matter of fact, we need to be gradual. And again, what I’m telling people is what this virus is doing, it’s a wake up call to see how healthy your immune system is, and getting enough water to lubricate your mucous membranes, having healthy emotions and interacting with your your circle, your family is healthy. Now it’s time to get out and be smart about integrating back into society.

Brandon Bartlett: Is there a fear that since some are experiencing this quarantine fatigue that a large number of people will want to get out of their house on the day that certain places began to reopen?

Dr. Jason West: Well, I certainly think it’s a concern because we haven’t seen the, and this sounds really crass to say, we haven’t seen the body count go up. I mean, it hasn’t really kicked in for people that this was a really, really serious infection that occurred and tragically, it’s killed, you know, 60,000 people. What you want to do is to be smart when you get back into the society as the restrictions decrease, it doesn’t mean to go willy nilly, it means, hey, let’s let’s start to integrate in with a plan.

Brandon Bartlett: So the bottom line here is should we all ease into trying to get back to normal or be smart about it, as you say?

Dr. Jason West: Well, it’s a little bit of both. I mean, we need to get back and support our economy, our community, our country, at the same time, we don’t want to, you know, he can have a bunch of risk factors. And it really just comes down to being smart and using common sense. I don’t want you to be locked up in a closet, and at the other end of the spectrum, you don’t want to go out and go to, you know, a big party event or something like that. It’s it’s the middle, where you were incorporating or taking care of ourselves. We’re eating healthy, where we’re drinking water, we’re putting in vitamins in our system. We’re not trying to purposely socialize with people that are sick, but at the same time, hey, it’s time to go back to normal.

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