SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- With so much to decipher on a daily basis with the coronavirus, between the stock market and the number of new cases confirmed, it can be hard for many people not to hit the panic button.
Mental health professionals said while some anxiety is common, it should not be debilitating.
It can be a fine line for some. With so much information coming in seems like by minute, we get answers on the fine line between a healthy concern about the virus and what to do if that fear becomes all consuming.
Global information on the spread of COVID-19 is 24/7 - on our phones, tablets, and TVs.
"In 2020, things are instantaneously available. You can look on your phone and see the number of people who got ill in China this morning, right? We are overloaded with information, instantaneous information," said Baystate Medical Center psychiatrist Dr. Stuart Anfang.
Anfang said that constant flow of information could be part of the problem, that it's feeding into many people's fears and anxieties, creating runs on things like sanitizer and cleaning products.
While it is healthy, Anfang said, to admit you're afraid, "Acknowledge that it is anxiety producing and acknowledge that it's fear, it’s not wrong to have fear and it's not wrong if your kids are afraid and you should acknowledge that."
Anfang advised people to take a deep breath.
"I realize it’s easier said than done because everyone's anxious obviously, but at the same time, we need to reality test against what we know and be open to the guidance we get from our officials," Anfang explained.
Anfang told Western Mass News that it's imperative that we recognize "a little anxiety is okay. It's normal, but if it’s starting to impair your ability to do your everyday life, you may want to seek some assistance with that."
Studies show stress can actually reduce your immune response. To alleviate stress, a study out of Northeastern University said plan ahead to help you feel more in control. For example, ask about work-from-home options. Also, unplug. Researchers said it's important to know what's going on, but not to obsess.
"The biggest thing we have to fear is fear itself...While you don't want to minimize but you have to realize that too much fear too much panic is only going to get in our way as we try to handle this medically.
The Surgeon General, meantime, said for the general public, the immediate health risk for the coronavirus is considered low. He has created a Fact vs. Myth section on the CDC website. For more information, CLICK HERE.