Panic! No! Don't Panic!

Updated: Mar 23

Firstly, let me just say that I'm keeping you all in my prayers ... the rosary beads are getting a good workout ... We have been through a rough patch, what with a drought, fires, floods, and now "pestilence", anyone who has read the Bible would think we're in for worse ...


But there is one thing upon which we can and should rely, and that is our own compassion. When people rush to buy up all the last remaining stock of something (like toilet paper), we can - through our compassion - remember that not everyone feels safe all the time. Things will get worse, and things will improve, and life will be a comfy cruise as well as a roller-coaster.


You and I know that we will find a way through the tough times. It's when the tough times turn up the heat, that we discover how nice our neighbours are. And we can call up our family and friends, our colleagues and business partners, and the people we love and appreciate. We can reach out.


That's exactly what happened to me today. I was busily juggling a few things online, when Grace, the lovely marketing consultant from my publisher (Balboa) sent me an email to ask how I am. That is so thoughtful. And though it was about COVID-19, I really appreciated it because I have actually been through a worrying medical issue (that is totally unrelated, and now not worrying, thankfully), and I just felt reassured that someone cared enough to ask:


"How are you?"

If you are worried about COVID-19, then read on ...

My university and research institute send weekly emails with COVID-19 updates, and to remind us of how to avoid infection. The University of Newcastle (UON) has a handy self-assessment guide. We also have reminders about personal hygiene (as I've copied below from our Vice Chancellor, Professor Alex Zelinsky). It's interesting how we forget to clean our work environments, bathrooms and kitchens (or expect someone else to do it for us).

Personal hygiene

"Hand washing is the most effective way to protect yourself. Keeping work environments clean may also help to stop the spread of COVID-19 and other infections such as the common cold. I encourage you to follow the hand washing technique demonstrated by one of our clinical educators in this video."


The video is pretty good - I approve, and I am very pedantic about hand hygiene (having been raised in a family full of nurses, and having worked in hospitals, myself). If I were to add anything, it would be:

  • to moisturise occasionally, and cover any abrasions or cuts;

  • pack alcohol-based hand-rub (hand sanitiser) in your hand-bag or back-pack, and use it;

  • I would also add when to wash hands - the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (USA) has a handy little list. The CDC suggests a shorter duration of handwashing time than the video posted by UON, but I definitely agree with this list (which is hyperlinked to the CDC's page for more info):


Also, Hunter Medical Research Institute's Professor Tom Walley reminded us,

"In accordance with NSW Health advice, HMRI recommends the practising of good general hygiene practices & social distancing practices including:

  • Clean your hands

  • Coughing/ sneezing into your elbow

  • Stay at home if you are sick

  • No shaking hands

  • Attempt to keep a distance of 4sqm between yourself and others

  • Avoid large gatherings especially if you have symptoms or are in a high-risk group"


The things I am doing (and I'm no expert), include the personal and workspace/home hygiene tips (as above), and checking my temperature (as per the chart below). Why am I checking my temp? Because I have had a dry cough lately, and some aches and pains. Happily, my temp has stayed a stable 36.5. So, I am not worried for myself. As the saying goes, I'm a "healthy puppy".

At what temperature are you said to have a fever? Around 38 degrees celsius.

For more information about

I'd like to extend my condolences to those who have already suffered a loss. My heart goes out to yours. And to you who are starting to worry, do what Grace did and reach out to those you care about. This is so important for the people in our midst who are feeling ostracised because of COVID-19 related racism - just think that they have possibly lost someone dear, and now they have to contend with unkind words and actions. Well, our actions can tell them "You are welcome" and "I'm here for you". Don't let fear win. Let love flow.



What do you focus on? The shade from the leaves, or the light shining through? They're both good ...

I hope this helps ... know you're in my prayers 

©2018 Mary-Claire Hanlon - The Centre Of Serendipity