Posted in coronavirus, Covid-19, disease, dogs, Health, news, travel

Dogs To Be Trained To Sniff Out COVID At Airports

The UK is planning a trial in which dogs will be trained to determine if someone has COVID, even if they are asymptomatic.

When a person is infected with a pathogen, be it bacteria, virus or fungus, they may elicit an odor. Researchers from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) in collaboration with Medical Detection Dogs and Durham University will train the canines to learn the smell taken from samples of hospitalized patients.

If all goes well, the UK may have a team of dogs ready to screen travelers coming into their country within 6 months. Euronews reports that the dogs could potentially screen up to 250 passengers an hour.

We assume authorities would then test the potential COVID patient by conventional antigen testing, but the screening process may allow countries to open their borders sooner than anticipated.

Can pets detect cancer?

PBS reports that dogs can smell 40 times better than humans, with over 300 million olfactory receptors in their nose.  They can smell parts per trillion, a keen sense that is potentially sharp enough to pick up cancer cells and the smells they produce.

Healthline reports that cancer cells raise polyamine levels which come with an odor.  Moreover if cancer cells incite an immune response, this can expel a scent as well.

In 1989 a case report revealed a woman’s dog tried to bite a mole off her leg which ended up being malignant melanoma.

According to a 2011 study in the journal Gut, Labrador retrievers were able to sniff out colon cancer in 97% of stool samples.

The Italian Ministry of Defense’s Military Veterinary Center was successful in training German Shepherds to recognize prostate cancer proteins in urine to 98% accuracy.

For those of you with a pet pigeon, don’t feel left out. A University of Iowa study found pigeons to be trained to detect breast cancer cells to 85% accuracy.

So despite our animals possessing the power to sense microscopic anomalies, we shouldn’t panic every time they sniff or lick us.  But if they persist on one area of your body, it might be worth getting checked out.

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Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

Posted in disease, Health, news, pets

Deadly Rabbit Virus Reported in Nevada

A virus that affects both wild and pet rabbits has been reported in Southern Nevada.

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus Serotype 2, or RHDV2, appears to cause internal bleeding and sudden death when exposed.

Humans and other pets are not believed to be affected by this virus.

With early symptoms the rabbit may seem less playful and hungry.  Then they may show a fever, respiratory symptoms and “nervous symptoms”.  Internal bleeding may then occur, elicited sometimes by a bloody nose, and death may follow.

The virus was first detected on Vancouver Island, Canada in September of 2018 but KTNV reports there have been three known cases in Southern Nevada, one of which was a domestic rabbit.

Reporter Joe Bartels informs us that humans can indirectly carry the virus on their clothes and shoes as the virus can live on surfaces for up to 200 days.

Since there is no vaccine to prevent disease, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends the following:

Follow these recommended biosecurity practices:
• Do not allow pet, feral, or wild rabbits to have contact with your rabbits or gain entry to the facility or home.
• Do not allow visitors in rabbitries or let them handle pet rabbits without protective clothing (including coveralls, shoe covers, hair covering, and gloves).
• Always wash hands with warm soapy water before entering your rabbit area, after
removing protective clothing and before leaving the rabbit area.
• Do not introduce new rabbits from unknown or untrusted sources. Do not add rabbits to your rabbitry from animal shelters or other types of rescue operations.
• If you bring outside rabbits into your facility or home, keep them separated from your existing rabbits. Use separate equipment for newly acquired or sick rabbits to avoid spreading disease.
• Sanitize all equipment and cages moved on or off premises before they are returned to the rabbitry. We recommend disinfecting with 10% bleach or 10% sodium hydroxide mixed with water.
• Establish a working relationship with a veterinarian to review biosecurity practices for identification and closure of possible gaps.

Rabbit owners are urged to contact their veterinarian if they see signs of RHDV2.

This is a developing story…

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

 

 

 

Posted in coronavirus, Covid-19, disease, Health, news

Coronavirus: Your Questions Answered

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses come in multiple types and can cause an array of illnesses from the common cold to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). The latter two causing severe illness, as SARS killed over 700 people and sickened over 8000 in the 2002-2003 outbreak.

Hence a coronavirus can be unpredictable, mutate to more virulent forms, or cause mild upper respiratory illness.

How is Coronavirus spread?

The virus can be spread from human contact with animals, and human to human contact. Scientists believe the strain of 2019-nCoV may be transmitted by saliva and respiratory secretions but are still investigating its ability to be spread by this “droplet transmission.”

What are the symptoms of the Coronavirus strain 2019-nCoV?

As with most viruses, this strain can cause any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Cough – dry early on and then in later stages may be productive
  • Runny nose
  • Headache
  • Fatigue/malaise
  • Sore throat
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Red/irritated eyes
  • Loss of taste
  • Loss of smell
  • Lack of appetite

How long after exposure can one become sick?

The incubation period can range anywhere from 2-14 days.

How long can Coronavirus live on surfaces?

Various studies have reported ranges from 3-17 days, with average of 9 days.

How does one die from Coronavirus?

If the illness persists or becomes severe, one could potentially suffer from pneumonia, respiratory difficulty and even secondary infections.

How does one tell if they have a mild Coronavirus strain or a deadly one?

The early onset of disease could mimic a cold or flu, hence it may be difficult to tell. However, severe or persistent symptoms could suggest a more aggressive strain of the virus and will warrant immediate evaluation.  Medical providers have been urged to ask patients about their travel habits and exposure to others who may have been exposed and to notify local health departments to facilitate testing of those who demonstrate symptoms of the 2019-nCoV strain.

Is there a vaccine for 2019-nCoV?

No, however, we have heard a vaccine for 2019-nCoV is being researched and may be in its early development.

What is the treatment for this strain of Coronavirus?

At this time there is no specific treatment for this strain. However, supportive measures can be instilled such as rest, fluids and maintaining oxygenation in severe cases.

How can we prevent a 2019-nCoV infection?

Experts urge avoiding sick contacts and washing hands thoroughly. Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing to avoid spreading illness if you are sick.  And if you do have a family member with 2019-nCoV, the CDC suggests the following:

PREVENTION STEPS FOR PEOPLE CONFIRMED TO HAVE, OR BEING EVALUATED FOR 2019-NCOV INFECTION WHO RECEIVE CARE AT HOME
YOUR DOCTORS AND PUBLIC HEALTH STAFF WILL EVALUATE WHETHER YOU CAN BE CARED FOR AT HOME. IF IT IS DETERMINED THAT YOU CAN BE ISOLATED AT HOME, YOU WILL BE MONITORED BY STAFF FROM YOUR LOCAL OR STATE HEALTH DEPARTMENT. YOU SHOULD FOLLOW THE PREVENTION STEPS BELOW UNTIL A HEALTHCARE PROVIDER OR LOCAL OR STATE HEALTH DEPARTMENT SAYS YOU CAN RETURN TO YOUR NORMAL ACTIVITIES.
STAY HOME EXCEPT TO GET MEDICAL CARE
YOU SHOULD RESTRICT ACTIVITIES OUTSIDE YOUR HOME, EXCEPT FOR GETTING MEDICAL CARE. DO NOT GO TO WORK, SCHOOL, OR PUBLIC AREAS, AND DO NOT USE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION OR TAXIS.
SEPARATE YOURSELF FROM OTHER PEOPLE IN YOUR HOME
AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE, YOU SHOULD STAY IN A DIFFERENT ROOM FROM OTHER PEOPLE IN YOUR HOME. ALSO, YOU SHOULD USE A SEPARATE BATHROOM, IF AVAILABLE.
CALL AHEAD BEFORE VISITING YOUR DOCTOR
BEFORE YOUR MEDICAL APPOINTMENT, CALL THE HEALTHCARE PROVIDER AND TELL THEM THAT YOU HAVE, OR ARE BEING EVALUATED FOR, 2019-NCOV INFECTION. THIS WILL HELP THE HEALTHCARE PROVIDER’S OFFICE TAKE STEPS TO KEEP OTHER PEOPLE FROM GETTING INFECTED.
WEAR A FACEMASK
YOU SHOULD WEAR A FACEMASK WHEN YOU ARE IN THE SAME ROOM WITH OTHER PEOPLE AND WHEN YOU VISIT A HEALTHCARE PROVIDER. IF YOU CANNOT WEAR A FACEMASK, THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE WITH YOU SHOULD WEAR ONE WHILE THEY ARE IN THE SAME ROOM WITH YOU.
COVER YOUR COUGHS AND SNEEZES
COVER YOUR MOUTH AND NOSE WITH A TISSUE WHEN YOU COUGH OR SNEEZE, OR YOU CAN COUGH OR SNEEZE INTO YOUR SLEEVE. THROW USED TISSUES IN A LINED TRASH CAN, AND IMMEDIATELY WASH YOUR HANDS WITH SOAP AND WATER FOR AT LEAST 20 SECONDS.
WASH YOUR HANDS
WASH YOUR HANDS OFTEN AND THOROUGHLY WITH SOAP AND WATER FOR AT LEAST 20 SECONDS. YOU CAN USE AN ALCOHOL-BASED HAND SANITIZER IF SOAP AND WATER ARE NOT AVAILABLE AND IF YOUR HANDS ARE NOT VISIBLY DIRTY. AVOID TOUCHING YOUR EYES, NOSE, AND MOUTH WITH UNWASHED HANDS.
AVOID SHARING HOUSEHOLD ITEMS
YOU SHOULD NOT SHARE DISHES, DRINKING GLASSES, CUPS, EATING UTENSILS, TOWELS, BEDDING, OR OTHER ITEMS WITH OTHER PEOPLE IN YOUR HOME. AFTER USING THESE ITEMS, YOU SHOULD WASH THEM THOROUGHLY WITH SOAP AND WATER.
MONITOR YOUR SYMPTOMS
SEEK PROMPT MEDICAL ATTENTION IF YOUR ILLNESS IS WORSENING (E.G., DIFFICULTY BREATHING). BEFORE GOING TO YOUR MEDICAL APPOINTMENT, CALL THE HEALTHCARE PROVIDER AND TELL THEM THAT YOU HAVE, OR ARE BEING EVALUATED FOR, 2019-NCOV INFECTION. THIS WILL HELP THE HEALTHCARE PROVIDER’S OFFICE TAKE STEPS TO KEEP OTHER PEOPLE FROM GETTING INFECTED. ASK YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER TO CALL THE LOCAL OR STATE HEALTH DEPARTMENT.
PREVENTION STEPS FOR CAREGIVERS AND HOUSEHOLD MEMBERS
IF YOU LIVE WITH, OR PROVIDE CARE AT HOME FOR, A PERSON CONFIRMED TO HAVE, OR BEING EVALUATED FOR, 2019-NCOV INFECTION, YOU SHOULD:
  • MAKE SURE THAT YOU UNDERSTAND AND CAN HELP THE PERSON FOLLOW THE HEALTHCARE PROVIDER’S INSTRUCTIONS FOR MEDICATION AND CARE. YOU SHOULD HELP THE PERSON WITH BASIC NEEDS IN THE HOME AND PROVIDE SUPPORT FOR GETTING GROCERIES, PRESCRIPTIONS, AND OTHER PERSONAL NEEDS.
  • HAVE ONLY PEOPLE IN THE HOME WHO ARE ESSENTIAL FOR PROVIDING CARE FOR THE PERSON.
    • OTHER HOUSEHOLD MEMBERS SHOULD STAY IN ANOTHER HOME OR PLACE OF RESIDENCE. IF THIS IS NOT POSSIBLE, THEY SHOULD STAY IN ANOTHER ROOM, OR BE SEPARATED FROM THE PERSON AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. USE A SEPARATE BATHROOM, IF AVAILABLE.
    • RESTRICT VISITORS WHO DO NOT HAVE AN ESSENTIAL NEED TO BE IN THE HOME.
    • KEEP ELDERLY PEOPLE AND THOSE WHO HAVE COMPROMISED IMMUNE SYSTEMS OR CHRONIC HEALTH CONDITIONS AWAY FROM THE PERSON. THIS INCLUDES PEOPLE WITH CHRONIC HEART, LUNG OR KIDNEY CONDITIONS, AND DIABETES.
  • MAKE SURE THAT SHARED SPACES IN THE HOME HAVE GOOD AIR FLOW, SUCH AS BY AN AIR CONDITIONER OR AN OPENED WINDOW, WEATHER PERMITTING.
  • WASH YOUR HANDS OFTEN AND THOROUGHLY WITH SOAP AND WATER FOR AT LEAST 20 SECONDS. YOU CAN USE AN ALCOHOL-BASED HAND SANITIZER IF SOAP AND WATER ARE NOT AVAILABLE AND IF YOUR HANDS ARE NOT VISIBLY DIRTY. AVOID TOUCHING YOUR EYES, NOSE, AND MOUTH WITH UNWASHED HANDS.
  • WEAR A DISPOSABLE FACEMASK, GOWN, AND GLOVES WHEN YOU TOUCH OR HAVE CONTACT WITH THE PERSON’S BLOOD, BODY FLUIDS AND/OR SECRETIONS, SUCH AS SWEAT, SALIVA, SPUTUM, NASAL MUCUS, VOMIT, URINE, OR DIARRHEA.
    • THROW OUT DISPOSABLE FACEMASKS, GOWNS, AND GLOVES AFTER USING THEM. DO NOT REUSE.
    • WASH YOUR HANDS IMMEDIATELY AFTER REMOVING YOUR FACEMASK, GOWN, AND GLOVES.
  • AVOID SHARING HOUSEHOLD ITEMS. YOU SHOULD NOT SHARE DISHES, DRINKING GLASSES, CUPS, EATING UTENSILS, TOWELS, BEDDING, OR OTHER ITEMS WITH A PERSON WHO IS CONFIRMED TO HAVE, OR BEING EVALUATED FOR, 2019-NCOV INFECTION. AFTER THE PERSON USES THESE ITEMS, YOU SHOULD WASH THEM THOROUGHLY (SEE BELOW “WASH LAUNDRY THOROUGHLY”).
  • CLEAN ALL “HIGH-TOUCH” SURFACES, SUCH AS COUNTERS, TABLETOPS, DOORKNOBS, BATHROOM FIXTURES, TOILETS, PHONES, KEYBOARDS, TABLETS, AND BEDSIDE TABLES, EVERY DAY. ALSO, CLEAN ANY SURFACES THAT MAY HAVE BLOOD, BODY FLUIDS AND/OR SECRETIONS OR EXCRETIONS ON THEM.
    • READ LABEL OF CLEANING PRODUCTS AND FOLLOW RECOMMENDATIONS PROVIDED ON PRODUCT LABELS. LABELS CONTAIN INSTRUCTIONS FOR SAFE AND EFFECTIVE USE OF THE CLEANING PRODUCT INCLUDING PRECAUTIONS YOU SHOULD TAKE WHEN APPLYING THE PRODUCT, SUCH AS WEARING GLOVES OR APRONS AND MAKING SURE YOU HAVE GOOD VENTILATION DURING USE OF THE PRODUCT.
    • USE A DILUTED BLEACH SOLUTION OR A HOUSEHOLD DISINFECTANT WITH A LABEL THAT SAYS “EPA-APPROVED.” TO MAKE A BLEACH SOLUTION AT HOME, ADD 1 TABLESPOON OF BLEACH TO 1 QUART (4 CUPS) OF WATER. FOR A LARGER SUPPLY, ADD ¼ CUP OF BLEACH TO 1 GALLON (16 CUPS) OF WATER.
  • WASH LAUNDRY THOROUGHLY.
    • IMMEDIATELY REMOVE AND WASH CLOTHES OR BEDDING THAT HAVE BLOOD, BODY FLUIDS AND/OR SECRETIONS OR EXCRETIONS ON THEM.
    • WEAR DISPOSABLE GLOVES WHILE HANDLING SOILED ITEMS. WASH YOUR HANDS IMMEDIATELY AFTER REMOVING YOUR GLOVES.
    • READ AND FOLLOW DIRECTIONS ON LABELS OF LAUNDRY OR CLOTHING ITEMS AND DETERGENT. IN GENERAL, WASH AND DRY WITH THE WARMEST TEMPERATURES RECOMMENDED ON THE CLOTHING LABEL.
  • PLACE ALL USED DISPOSABLE GLOVES, GOWNS, FACEMASKS, AND OTHER CONTAMINATED ITEMS IN A LINED CONTAINER BEFORE DISPOSING THEM WITH OTHER HOUSEHOLD WASTE. WASH YOUR HANDS IMMEDIATELY AFTER HANDLING THESE ITEMS.
  • MONITOR THE PERSON’S SYMPTOMS. IF THEY ARE GETTING SICKER, CALL HIS OR HER MEDICAL PROVIDER AND TELL THEM THAT THE PERSON HAS, OR IS BEING EVALUATED FOR, 2019-NCOV INFECTION. THIS WILL HELP THE HEALTHCARE PROVIDER’S OFFICE TAKE STEPS TO KEEP OTHER PEOPLE FROM GETTING INFECTED. ASK THE HEALTHCARE PROVIDER TO CALL THE LOCAL OR STATE HEALTH DEPARTMENT.
  • CAREGIVERS AND HOUSEHOLD MEMBERS WHO DO NOT FOLLOW PRECAUTIONS WHEN IN CLOSE CONTACT WITH A PERSON WHO IS CONFIRMED TO HAVE, OR BEING EVALUATED FOR, 2019-NCOV INFECTION, ARE CONSIDERED “CLOSE CONTACTS” AND SHOULD MONITOR THEIR HEALTH. FOLLOW THE PREVENTION STEPS FOR CLOSE CONTACTS BELOW.
  • DISCUSS ANY ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS WITH YOU STATE OR LOCAL HEALTH DEPARTMENT
PREVENTION STEPS FOR CLOSE CONTACTS
IF YOU HAVE HAD CLOSE CONTACT WITH SOMEONE WHO IS CONFIRMED TO HAVE, OR BEING EVALUATED FOR, 2019-NCOV INFECTION, YOU SHOULD:
  • MONITOR YOUR HEALTH STARTING FROM THE DAY YOU FIRST HAD CLOSE CONTACT WITH THE PERSON AND CONTINUE FOR 14 DAYS AFTER YOU LAST HAD CLOSE CONTACT WITH THE PERSON. WATCH FOR THESE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS:
    • FEVER. TAKE YOUR TEMPERATURE TWICE A DAY.
    • COUGHING.
    • SHORTNESS OF BREATH OR DIFFICULTY BREATHING.
    • OTHER EARLY SYMPTOMS TO WATCH FOR ARE CHILLS, BODY ACHES, SORE THROAT, HEADACHE, DIARRHEA, NAUSEA/VOMITING, AND RUNNY NOSE.
  • IF YOU DEVELOP FEVER OR ANY OF THESE SYMPTOMS, CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER RIGHT AWAY.
  • BEFORE GOING TO YOUR MEDICAL APPOINTMENT, BE SURE TO TELL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER ABOUT YOUR CLOSE CONTACT WITH SOMEONE WHO IS CONFIRMED TO HAVE, OR BEING EVALUATED FOR, 2019-NCOV INFECTION. THIS WILL HELP THE HEALTHCARE PROVIDER’S OFFICE TAKE STEPS TO KEEP OTHER PEOPLE FROM GETTING INFECTED. ASK YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER TO CALL THE LOCAL OR STATE HEALTH DEPARTMENT.
  • IF YOU DO NOT HAVE ANY SYMPTOMS, YOU CAN CONTINUE WITH YOUR DAILY ACTIVITIES, SUCH AS GOING TO WORK, SCHOOL, OR OTHER PUBLIC AREAS.

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, iHeart Radio and is Board Certified Family Physician

Posted in coronavirus, Covid-19, disease, Health, news

Coronavirus Sampling: If NOT Deep, then NOT Done Correctly

For some of you who have had COVID-19 testing, you might have gagged, teared, or cringed a little.  Yet some have said it was “simple,” only to find out that the swab was not inserted deep enough to create a “less simple” experience.

 

coronavirus-testing.png

COVID-19 testing is being rolled out across the United States to help curb one of the deadlier epidemics in our recent history.  A positive test in a person with or without symptoms requires isolation to avoid spread of the virus to others.  A negative test implies one does not have the virus and is possibly not contagious.

But what if the test is performed incorrectly?  The result could lead to a false negative in which the test result incorrectly implies no virus detection.  This can occur if virus samples were not appropriately obtained prior to testing.

Although samples of COVID can be obtained by nasopharyngeal (back of throat through the nose), oropharyngeal (back of throat through the mouth) or sputum (mucous from a cough), the CDC recommends a swab of the nasopharyngeal region to be standard.  A throat swab (oropharyngeal) can be performed, but not without a nasopharyngeal swab sample submitted as well.

The procedure for nasopharyngeal sampling provided by the CDC is as follows:

Insert a swab into nostril parallel to the palate. Swab should reach depth equal to distance from nostrils to outer opening of the ear. Leave swab in place for several seconds to absorb secretions. Slowly remove swab while rotating it.

UC Davis Health describes the testing as the following:

Testing for COVID-19 involves inserting a 6-inch long swab (like a long Q-tip) into the cavity between the nose and mouth (nasopharyngeal swab) for 15 seconds and rotating the swab several times. The swabbing is then repeated on the other side of the nose to make sure enough material is collected. The swab is then inserted into a container and sent to a lab for testing.

A video of the testing procedure is provided by NEJM Group in this video:

 

So if some individuals are only receiving a throat swab or undergoing the test in approximately 10 seconds, there could be a lack of appropriate sample being obtained and therefore tested.

Moreover as companies begin to roll out at-home testing, risk of poorly obtained samples and therefore false negatives may rise.

The public should be aware and trained on how an appropriate sample is obtained so a false sense of security of noninfection doesn’t pervade in a country desperately trying to slow the rapid spread of COVID-19.

 

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The Baby Boomer’s Guide to Online Dating

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in coronavirus, disease, Health, news, pets

“Low Level’ of Coronavirus Found in Pet Pooch

Image above from Unilad

A report released this week from the Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) states a pet pomeranian of a patient infected with COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, has tested weakly positive for the virus as well.

The dog had no symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, respiratory distress), however oral and nasal cavity samples tested “weakly positive” for the virus.

Although we have not heard of a previous case of COVID transferring from a human to their pet, the dog has been quarantined at a facility at the Hong Kong Port of Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge.

The AFCD is also considering this may be an environmental contamination causing the weakly positive test.  Repeated testing on the dog will be conducted and once proven negative after the 14 day quarantine period, may be released back to his owner.

Pet owners are urged not to kiss their pets and wash their hands thoroughly after handling them, whether they have coronavirus or not.  If a pet does appear to show symptoms of being ill, they should be put under quarantine by appropriate authorities.

Currently over 83,000 people in multiple countries have been affected by the virus. The death toll is over 2,850, the majority of whom have been from China. In the US, 60 cases have been confirmed.

This is a developing story.

What is coronavirus?

 

HERO_coronavirus

Coronaviruses come in multiple types and can cause an array of illnesses from the common cold to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). The latter two causing severe illness, as SARS killed over 700 people and sickened over 8000 in the 2002-2003 outbreak.

Hence a coronavirus can be unpredictable, mutate to more virulent forms, or cause mild upper respiratory illness.

How is Coronavirus spread?

The virus can be spread from human contact with animals, and human to human contact. Scientists believe COVID-19 may be transmitted by saliva and respiratory secretions but are still investigating its ability to be spread by this “droplet transmission.”

What are the symptoms of the Coronavirus strain COVID-19?

As with most viruses, this strain can cause any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Cough – dry early on and then in later stages may be productive
  • Runny nose
  • Headache
  • Fatigue/malaise
  • Sore throat
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lack of appetite

How long after exposure can one become sick?

The incubation period can range anywhere from 2-14 days.

How does one die from Coronavirus?

If the illness persists or becomes severe, one could potentially suffer from pneumonia, respiratory difficulty and even secondary infections.

How does one tell if they have a mild Coronavirus strain or a deadly one?

The early onset of disease could mimic a cold or flu, hence it may be difficult to tell. However, severe or persistent symptoms could suggest a more aggressive strain of the virus and will warrant immediate evaluation.  Medical providers have been urged to ask patients about their travel habits and exposure to others who may have been exposed and to notify local health departments to facilitate testing of those who demonstrate symptoms of the COVID-19 strain.

Is there a vaccine for COVID-19?

No, however, we have heard a vaccine for COVID-19 is being researched and may be in its early development.

What is the treatment for this strain of Coronavirus?

At this time there is no specific treatment for this strain. However, supportive measures can be instilled such as rest, fluids and maintaining oxygenation in severe cases.

How can we prevent a COVID-19 infection?

Experts urge avoiding sick contacts and washing hands thoroughly. Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing to avoid spreading illness if you are sick.  And if you do have a family member with COVID-19, the CDC suggests the following:

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to  others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, iHeart Radio and is Board Certified Family Physician

Posted in disease, flu, Health, news, vaccinations

This Year’s Flu Shot Efficacy Improved Over Last Year

The CDC reports a mid-season efficacy rate of 50% for this year’s flu shot, being 45% effective for adults and 55% effective for children, up from a 47% estimated efficacy last year.

In a good year flu shot efficacy may be 65%.  It’s difficult to reach higher numbers as viral flu strains mutate easily and immune systems of the general public are so varied.  Per the CDC the flu shot during the 2010-2011 flu season was one of the most effective.

 

vaccine-effectiveness_v3

This year two waves of flu strains hit the country, Influenza B and H3N2.  But despite the double whammy the flu shot offered fair protection.

They report the following:

The interim VE estimates published today also estimated the benefits provided by vaccination in different age groups. In addition to the VE estimate of 55% reported among children 6 months through 17 years of age, VE was estimated to be 25% among adults 18-49 years old, and 43% among adults 50 years of age and older. The lower VE point estimates observed among adults 18-49 years appear to be associated with a trend suggesting lower VE in age this group against A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses (VE = 5%). CDC will continue to monitor VE in this age group against A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses as more study participants are enrolled throughout the season. This will help CDC determine if VE against A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses in this age group is actually lower than in previous seasons, and if so, to investigate possible causes.

 

This year an estimated 26 million people were affected by the flu with over 250,000 hospitalizations and 14,000 deaths.

To date, 92 children have died this year from flu related illness, being a more severe season for children.

Flu season peak is still occurring and high flu activity is still being reported in multiple states.

It is not too late to get the flu shot and medical providers are still recommending vaccination.

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Learning Medical Spanish is Easy!!!

 

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, iHeart Radio and is a Board Certified Family Physician

 

Posted in diabetes, disease, Health, medications, news

Insulin and Other Medications Being Sold Online Illegally on Craigslist

As drug prices keep rising, patients are turning to unconventional routes to purchase their medication.  However, those who sell and distribute medications without a license are doing it illegally….and putting the buyer at risk.

A new study in JAMA looked at the illegal sales of drugs such as insulin, albuterol, and epinephrine (EpiPen) and found multiple ads placed during a 12 day period in June 2019 on Craigslist.  The medications that treat diabetes, asthma and anaphylaxis respectively are life saving medications which have unfortunately skyrocketed in price over the last 10 years.

Craigslist is a popular website that allows millions of people to post classified ads, ranging anywhere from job opportunities, to services, to goods and products, to items wanted.

Study authors write:

Reports in the lay press suggest that patients who cannot afford prescription medications seek out discounted products in online marketplaces such as Craigslist.1 The unregulated sale and purchase of prescription medication is prohibited by law and Craigslist policy.24

Many of the drugs sold could be surplus, as the seller may have had a recent medication switch by their provider.  Others may have been prescriptions obtained and sold for a profit.

Study authors found the albuterol, asthma inhalers to be sold higher than prescription cost, but many of the insulin products were at a discount.

Sellers can get away with the higher prices as buyers may feel the are saving money overall by not going into a medical clinic to obtain the prescription.

 

albuterol online

However, medications not sold by a pharmacy could carry risks.  If opened they could be contaminated.  If it’s an insulin product, the pen or vial needs to be refrigerated before use, or in a climate that doesn’t exceed room temperature depending on the manufacturer’s warning.   One cannot assume the storage and distribution of the medication was done properly.

 

insulin online 2

Hence if a buyer is an insulin dependent diabetic they may be purchasing less than optimal potency of their life saving medication. The same holds true with an albuterol inhaler used during as asthmatic attack or an EpiPen used during severe allergic reactions.

Medical providers are urging patients to not seek discounted products online when it comes to their disease management but instead to reach out to them or the pharmacy for generic alternatives and pharmaceutical company discounts.

 

 

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Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.