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Self–Care Tips for Healthcare Responders During the Pandemic Influenza

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You are unique in that in the normal course of your work you are repeatedly exposed to extraordinarily stressful events. This places you at a higher-thannormal risk for developing stress reactions. Should the pandemic flu occur in New York State, you will experience far greater stress. You need to become fully informed about the impact that such an event may have on you personally and learn how to protect yourself from the emotional toll this event may have on you.

Understanding the Stress Cycle

Stress elevates arousal or readiness. With manageable levels, stress can help sharpen your attention and help you cope with threatening situations. When stress arousal reaches maximum effect, however the gain in performance is lost and your performance and health begins to deteriorate. Should your stress response be active for a long period of time, it can damage the cardiovascular, immune and nervous systems. people develop patterns of response to stress that are as varied as individuals. Most people are resilient and experience mild or transient psychological reactions that are short-lived. The stress response becomes a problem when you cannot turn it off; it lasts too long; or it interferes with your daily life. The following list of common reactions is offered to help you monitor your stress level during the pandemic flu response.

Normal Reactions to a Prolonged Disater Response

Reactions to be Monitored

Physical

Psychological/Emotional

Thinking

Social

Coping with Stress

Material adapted from: "A Guide to Managing Stress in Crisis Response Professions", U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, SAMHSA, Center for Mental Health Services, 2005.