Two doctors from Northern Light Health talked about the difference between healthy fears, in connection with the pandemic, and when that fear becomes unhealthy.

There's no question that this is scary. Our lives have been turned upside down by a pandemic that's closed businesses, made us wary of being near others, and is taking the lives of our oldest residents. But, at what point does that fear go too far? When is it time to overcome our fears and do what needs to be done?

Northern Light Health held a press briefing on Thursday, with two of their physicians, who are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Anthony Tannous, MD, is a surgeon at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center and Dr. John Southall, MD, is the associate vice-president of Inpatient Medicine at Northern Light Mercy Hospital. Both doctors agreed that social distancing and staying home as much as possible are examples of healthy fear. We should be concerned about catching the virus from others, and taking care to protect ourselves.

However, not getting needed medical attention because you're afraid of being exposed to the virus at the hospital is an unhealthy fear. Dr. Southall used a hot appendix as an example and advised not letting something that's causing you pain or discomfort go for too long. Contact the hospital or your personal care provider to find out your best course of action. The medical facilities are doing everything they can to minimize the risk of infection, including cleaning, sanitizing, and wearing protective equipment when around anyone who is, or may be, positive for the virus.

We all still need to take care of ourselves, and that's not limited to cloth masks and sanitizer, staying home and social distancing. It means taking care of other health issues that come up. Seeking medical treatment when we need it, and staying as healthy as we can.

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