Social distancing is a way to keep people from interacting closely or frequently enough to spread an infectious disease. Schools and other gathering places such as movie theaters may close, and sports events and religious services may be cancelled. What Is Quarantine? Quarantine separates and restricts the move- ment of people who have been exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. It lasts long enough to ensure the person has not contracted an infectious disease. What Is Isolation? Isolation prevents the spread of an infectious disease by separating people who are sick from those who are not. It lasts as long as the disease is contagious. Introduction
In the event of an infectious disease outbreak, local officals may require the public to take measures to limit and control the spread of the disease. This tip sheet provides information about social distancing, quarantine, and isolation. The government has the right to enforce federal and state laws related to public health if people within the country get sick with highly contagious diseases that have the potential to develop into outbreaks or pandemics.
This tip sheet describes feelings and thoughts you may have during and after social distancing, quarantine, and isolation. It also suggests ways to care for your behavioral health during these experiences and provides resources for more help.
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What To Expect: Typical Reactions
Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations such as an infectious disease outbreak that requires social distancing, quarantine, or isolation. People may feel:
Anxiety, worry, or fear related to: • Your own health status • The health status of others whom you may have exposed to the disease • The resentment that your friends and family may feel if they need to go into quarantine as a result of contact with you • The experience of monitoring yourself, or being monitored by others for signs and symptoms of the disease • Time taken off from work and the potential loss of income and job security • The challenges of securing things you need, such as groceries and personal care items • Concern about being able to effectively care for children or others in your care • Uncertainty or frustration about how long you will need to remain in this situation, and uncertainty about the future • Loneliness associated with feeling cut off from the world and from loved ones • Anger if you think you were exposed to the disease because of others’ negligence • Boredom and frustration because you may not be able to work or engage in regular day-to-day activities • Uncertainty or ambivalence about the situation • A desire to use alcohol or drugs to cope • Symptoms of depression, such as feelings of hopelessness, changes in appetite, or sleeping