Citizen Action Monitor

Overwhelmed by the volume of coronavirus news and information? Here’s an online source that may help

There are so many online sources to choose from — check out a sample article from Medical News Today.

No 2615 Posted by fw, April 19, 2020 —

I only recently discovered Medical News Today. So far, I find it to be a useful online source of health-related information about the coronavirus pandemic. MNT appears to be a reliable, trusted resource tool, compared to so much of the misleading junk polluting web-based sources. (BTW, I am not associated with MNT in any way).

In a short entry, Wikipedia writes this about Medical News Today –

Medical News Today is a web-based outlet for medical news, targeted at both physicians and the general public. All posted content is available online (>250,000 articles as of January 2014), and the earliest available article dates from May 2003.

The site has been owned by Healthline Media since 2016. The business office for the site is located in Brighton, East Sussex, UK, and a second office is maintained near Manchester.

As of September 2019 it was the #3 most visited health site in the United States. As of October 2019, it had a global ranking by Alexa of 869 and a United States ranking of 440.

Medical News Today offers a free subscription to its daily newsletter updates. As well, given the heightened interest in the coronavirus, users can stay informed with live updates on the current COVID-19 outbreak and visit its coronavirus hub for more advice on prevention and treatment.

But judge for yourself the potential value of the content and layout of Medical News Today as a coronavirus news and information source. Below is my repost of a recent piece about the basics of COVID-19: Symptoms; At risk groups; Pregnancy and babies; Incubation period; How it spreads; Prevention; What to do; Is there a cure?; Outlook; Summary. Alternatively, read it on the website by clicking on the following linked title.

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All you need to know about COVID-19 by Medical News Today, April 6, 2020

COVID-19 is a highly contagious infectious disease caused by a newly identified virus called SARS-CoV-2, which belongs to the coronavirus family.

In the majority of people who develop it, COVID-19 causes a mild respiratory illness similar to influenza. In some individuals, however, it can lead to a severe respiratory condition that requires hospitalization.

People can be without symptoms, or asymptomatic, despite having a SARS-CoV-2 infection. This means that they can still spread the virus to others even though they do not feel unwell. This makes COVID-19 very dangerous, as it is highly infectious.

At this time, there is no cure for COVID-19. However, people can protect themselves and help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus by frequently washing the hands, not touching the face, and avoiding close contact with people who are sick.

Keep reading to learn more about COVID-19, including the symptoms, likely incubation period, special considerations for high risk groups, and more.

SYMPTOMS

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses known to cause respiratory illnesses ranging from the common cold and flu to more severe diseases, such as Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

The symptoms of COVID-19 are usually mild and tend to begin 2–14 days after exposure. Although the symptoms may vary from person to person, the CDC reports the most common symptoms as:

    • a fever
    • a cough, which is usually dry
    • shortness of breath

The WHO states that other symptoms can include:

    • aches and pains
    • sore throat
    • in rarer cases, diarrhea, nausea, or a runny nose

It’s been reported that some people may experience a loss of taste or smell, although this has not been officially adopted as a symptom of the virus by the CDC or the WHO. Some people do not develop any symptoms at all.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 80% of people recover from the illness without needing special treatment. However, around 1 in every 6 people who get COVID-19 become seriously ill and may develop difficulty breathing.

AT RISK GROUPS

Older people, as well as those with underlying medical concerns such as chronic lung disease, heart problems, or diabetes, might be at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

The following sections will discuss these groups and their risk of severe illness in more detail.

Older adults

Adults aged 65 years and older are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. In fact, about 8 out of 10 deaths reported in the United States have been in this age group.

Individuals in this age group should call their healthcare professional to discuss their risks or if they are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19.

People with pre-existing health conditions

Currently, there is little information about how COVID-19 affects people with certain preexisting health conditions. However, researchers have identified the following as conditions that may increase a person’s risk of serious illness due to COVID-19.

Chronic respiratory conditions

These include:

    • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
    • emphysema
    • asthma

Since COVID-19 is a respiratory disease, naturally, those with preexisting respiratory conditions may have a higher risk of developing serious illness.

For example, because asthma can worsen due to other coronavirus strains, those with asthma should follow all protection and prevention precautions.

It is also important that individuals with asthma keep their asthma under control by taking their prescribed medications.

Hypertension and cardiovascular conditions

Individuals with cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, or both may also be at greater risk of death or serious illness due to COVID-19.

Numerous studies from China have found that a large amount of people in an intensive care unit (ICU) with COVID-19 and either heart disease or hypertension have died.

Diabetes

Diabetes is another condition that may put a person at risk of serious illness due to COVID-19. Studies from China have reported that many people in an ICU with coronavirus had either type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Notably, these people were also taking angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin II receptor blockers, which may affect disease severity.

Cancer

People undergoing cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy, may also be at greater risk of serious illness due to COVID-19. This is due to the fact that their immune systems may be weaker as a result of the treatment.

However, there is only limited evidence for this.

HOW DOES IT AFFECT PREGNANCY & BABIES?

There has not been much research into how COVID-19 affects pregnant women and babies.

The sections below will discuss what researchers do know.

Pregnant women

Pregnant women experience changes in their immune system that may increase their risk of developing severe illness from respiratory viruses such as the flu.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC), however, healthcare professionals do not currently know if pregnant women have a greater chance of getting sick from COVID-19 than the general public.

That said, pregnant women should take precautions to protect themselves against COVID-19 and report any possible symptoms to their healthcare provider.

Babies

A recent report suggests that mother-to-child transmission during pregnancy is unlikely for the 2019 coronavirus.

As it is currently unknown whether or not newborn babies with COVID-19 are at increased risk of severe complications, the CDC recommend that infants born to mothers with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 go into isolation.

INCUBATION PERIOD

The COVID-19 incubation period — that is, the time between catching the virus and beginning to have symptoms — is 5 days, on average. However, the range can be anywhere between 1 and 14 days.

HOW DOES THE CORONAVIRUS SPREAD?

The 2019 coronavirus spreads primarily through close person-to-person contact.

When someone who has the infection coughs or sneezes, tiny droplets containing the virus spray into the air from their nose or mouth. Anyone within 3–6 feet (1–2 meters) of someone who has the virus is close enough to contract it.

A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that the virus can survive in droplets for up to 3 hours after a person coughs it out into the air.

The study also found that the virus survives for longer on surfaces. It can last for up to 24 hours on cardboard and for as long as 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel surfaces.

COVID-19 can spread when a person touches their eyes, nose, or mouth after touching a surface or object that the coronavirus has contaminated.

It is also possible for people who have no symptoms of infection to pass the virus on to others.

Learn more about how the 2019 coronavirus spreads here.

HOW CAN I PROTECT MYSELF & OTHERS?

People can protect themselves from contracting the virus and prevent its spread by following the precautions below.

    • Wash the hands: Washing the hands often with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds, is the most important practice. When soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer. Some key times to wash the hands include before eating and preparing food, after using the bathroom, after being in public, and when the hands are visibly dirty.
    • Avoid touching the eyes, nose, and mouth: This prevents the virus from entering the body.
    • Keep a distance: People should keep a distance of at least 3 feet (1 meter) between themselves and other people. They should try to keep a distance of 6 feet (2 meters) between themselves and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
    • Practice good public hygiene: Cover all coughs and sneezes with a tissue or elbow, not the hands.
    • Clean surfaces often: Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, such as tabletops, counters, and doorknobs.
    • Avoid sharing: Avoid sharing personal household items such as cups and towels.
    • Stay home: Only go outside if it is absolutely necessary, for either short periods of exercise or to buy vital items such as food and medication.
    • Get vaccinated: Get vaccinated for the flu, if possible.
    • Use a cloth face covering: The CDC recommend that everyone should wear a cloth face covering in public places where it is difficult to stay 6 feet away from others. This will help slow the spread of the virus from people who do not know that they have it. They should continue to wash the hands often and practice physical distancing. Learn how to make a mask at home here.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE IT

If a person believes that they have had exposure to the virus and develop serious symptoms — such as a fever, a cough, or difficulty breathing — they should contact a healthcare provider to determine whether a medical evaluation or additional care is necessary.

If the symptoms are not severe, a person should begin self-isolation. No other action is necessary at this time. To avoid spreading COVID-19 to others, they should:

    • stay home unless a doctor advises them to seek medical care, or if there is an emergency
    • isolate themselves in a separate room, away from others in the household
    • wear a face mask or scarf to prevent any saliva or respiratory droplets from spreading to others
    • call ahead before visiting a doctor’s office or urgent care center (if the symptoms become very serious)
    • avoid public transport, cabs, and ride-sharing unless absolutely necessary

IS THERE A CURE?

At this time, there is no cure for COVID-19. Treatment is supportive, and it is designed to provide relief from the symptoms.

Supportive treatment measures are similar to those for a cold or flu. They may include:

    • getting plenty of rest
    • drinking plenty of fluids and eating small but frequent nutritious meals
    • taking acetaminophen for pain and fever

Anyone with COVID-19 should contact a doctor or healthcare provider if their symptoms worsen.

OUTLOOK

The situation regarding COVID-19 is constantly evolving. Confirmed cases, survival and death rates, and overall outlook all seem to vary greatly depending on where a person lives, among other factors.

SUMMARY

COVID-19 is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by SARS-CoV-2.

Most people with COVID-19 will experience a mild illness, similar to the flu. However, older adults and people with certain conditions may be more at risk of developing a more serious illness.

There is currently no cure for COVID-19. Treatment aims to relieve the impact of the symptoms.

Prevention strategies such as physical distancing, frequent hand-washing, and not touching the face can help protect individuals from the 2019 coronavirus.

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This entry was posted on April 19, 2020 by in information counterpower and tagged , .
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