Health experts warn of 'quarantine fatigue'

Maan Macapagal, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 24 2020 02:10 AM

Health experts warn of 'quarantine fatigue' 1
Buses ply along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City on June 22, 2020 to accommodate more commuters amid the general community quarantine. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Health experts have warned the public against "quarantine fatigue" wherein people are becoming lax on health guidelines following months of coronavirus-induced lockdowns.

Working student Sheila Escosio told ABS-CBN News she sometimes forgets bringing a mask when going outside.

"No'ng umpisa very anxious ka... Pero minsan kapag may bibilhin ka or pupunta ka sa labas, nakakalimutan mo eh. Minsan 'di mo matatandaan na meron pa ring quarantine," she said.

Dr. Tony Ramos, administrative services manager of Lung Center of the Philippines, said some people become lax in protecting themselves from the virus.

"Nawala na 'yung takot.. That’s why what we’re saying is we should be afraid enough to be careful. Of course not afraid to lose hope, tama lang 'yung takot mo na nag-iingat ka. Dapat 'yung takot laging nandiyan," he said.

The hospital's safety officer, Dr. Gerald Tejada, makes the rounds to check if the staff are following health protocols.

"Kapag nga siesta time, 'yung lull time walang ginagawa, makikita mo talaga minsan nakababa ang mask. You have to remind them na they are still in the hospital," he said.

Ben Ampil, a US-certified neuroscience coach, said some people are experiencing "quarantine fatigue," as authorities gradually lift restrictions against COVID-19.

"Tatlong buwan na siyang naka-quarantine napapagod na 'yung ating utak," he said.

Some people may have become numbed to threats and gotten used to repeated warnings, Ampil added.

The amygdala is the part of the brain that processes fear and threat from the environment, he said. Meanwhile, the hippocampus forms the memories and the prenatal cortex analyzes the concept of danger.

"Parang kumakain tayo ng paborito nating pagkain. Sa una, masarap. Sa pangatlong araw, nakakaumay na... Kung araw-araw tungkol sa COVID-19, nago-overload na 'yung brain natin," Ampil said.

He reminds the public to be "SELFISH" - sleep, exercise, laugh, food, invest in learning, sunlight and help others.