Tag: Corona virus

CDC will alert doctors to look out for syndrome in children that could be related to coronavirus

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is preparing to release an alert warning doctors to be on the lookout for a dangerous inflammatory syndrome in children that could be linked to coronavirus infection, a CDC spokesman told CNN Tuesday.The syndrome, marked by persistent fever, inflammation, poor function in one or more organs, and other symptoms similar to shock, was first reported by New York officials.More states began reporting diagnoses of the syndrome this week.

An informal panel of pediatricians organized by Boston Children’s Hospital have dubbed the mysterious illness “Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome Potentially Associated with COVID-19.”The CDC warning will go out on the Health Alert Network (HAN) to thousands of physicians and other clinicians across the country, the agency spokesman said.”We will provide a working case definition of what cases look like,” the spokesman said.Doctors will be asked to report cases to state and local health departments so that the CDC can learn about the syndrome.The CDC is working with the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists to get the definition of the syndrome — which could be released Wednesday or Thursday, the spokesman added.

Where cases have been reported

The New York State Department of Health is investigating about 100 possible cases of the illness in children, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday.The majority of the cases are in children between the ages of 5 and 9 (29%) and between 10 and 14 (28%) years old, state data shows.

The governor announced last week that three youth had died because of the illness.”We lost three children, (a) 5-year-old boy, 7-year-old boy and 18-year-old girl,” Cuomo told reporters Tuesday.In Kentucky, Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack, announced the state is aware of two patients diagnosed with the syndrome.One case is a 10-year-old, who is critically ill in the intensive care unit and the second patient is a 16-year-old, who is doing well and is in a regular medical bed, Stack said.Stack said the 10-year-old patient is showing signs of improvement and has had some of the medications reduced, meaning that their body is showing signs of recovery.”The children who get sick with this can have cardiovascular collapse and require supportive measures to maintain their blood pressure, or respiratory collapse requiring breathing support with a mechanical ventilator,” Stack said.And Boston Children’s Hospital spokeswoman Erin Tornatore told CNN Tuesday two children with the syndrome were hospitalized there, but neither was in intensive care.

What the treatments include

Last week, the informal panel, called the International PICU-COVID-19 Collaboration, released a consensus statement defining the condition. Dr. Jeffrey Burns, chief of critical care medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital, coordinates the panel.

“In some cases, children present with shock and some have features of Kawasaki disease, whereas others may present with signs of cytokine storm. In some geographic areas, there has been an uptick in Kawasaki disease cases in children who don’t have shock,” Boston Children’s Hospital rheumatologist Dr. Mary Beth Son said.Kawasaki disease involves inflammation in the walls of medium-sized arteries and can damage the heart. A cytokine storm is an immune system overreaction that can cause widespread inflammation and organ damage.Treatments may include blood thinners and immune system modulators.”To date, most children affected have done well. Treatments have included anticoagulation, IV immunoglobulin, IL-1 or IL-6 blockade, and corticosteroids. Some children have only needed supportive care,” Boston Children’s Hospital said on its website.


Woman with ‘presumed coronavirus’ shares two activities she does to help ease symptoms

Katie Bryant thought she was doing everything right during lockdown.

The writer from North Carolina had been staying home, social distancing, only going out to buy essential food and wearing a mask and gloves when she did so.

However last week, she started to feel unwell and soon realised she was experiencing the major coronavirus symptoms – a persistent cough and a fever.

But when her symptoms worsened and she became short of breath and was left feeling sicker than she ever had before, she called her doctor who told her to go to the hospital.

“The Emergency room doctor said it is ‘presumed positive Covid 19’,” she wrote on Instagram.

Shortly after, as her oxygen levels were deemed ok, she was sent home to self-isolate and urged to call the emergency services if her lips turned blue.

Now back home, Katie claims there are two things she has been doing that really help to ease her symptoms.

Writing for Love What Matters, she explained: “The two things that actually help for me have been laying on my stomach and sipping hot tea but I am only miserable not critical.”

She went on to say that she can’t believe how kind and generous everyone has been since she caught the virus.

“I expected the coughing, the fever and the low energy that makes you want to give up. What I didn’t expect was the flood of kindness that absolutely surrounded my family,” she said.

“Friends I don’t even know well offered to run errands.

“People have made meals for us. Someone I’ve never even met from my husband’s office called in Chipotle to feed my entire army of boys.”

And while she’s so grateful for the help, she still wants people to stay home and stay safe.

Katie added: “I am so tired of hearing this is a hoax or ‘just a flu’ it isn’t. It’s real and it’s serious.

“I can’t remember ever feeling this bad before. Just walking from the bed to the X-ray room was enough to completely exhaust me.

“There are so many more cases than are being reported. I don’t want to add to the hysteria but please take it seriously and stay home.”


Coronavirus anxiety: how to protect your mental health

Whether you suffer with pre-existing mental health issues or not, the coronavirus pandemic we are currently experiencing may well be having an impact on your mental wellbeing.

For many of us, it’s the same. From concerns about what will happen if we become infected, to worries about family members and friends, to the impact it is having on local communities and wider society and the myriad uncertainties we are all trying to process at present, it’s no wonder anxiety levels are high – and rising rapidly.

While it’s important to keep up to date with Covid-19 developments as they unfold, it’s also imperative that you keep a check on your mental health over the coming weeks and months, to ensure you’re best placed to handle any impending challenges with resilience and strength.

Read on for our expert tips on how to cultivate a sense of calm in our current climate:

Separate what you can control from what you can’t

Distinguishing between what you can and can’t control is a key component of managing your mental health and lessening anxiety. By focusing your energy and attention on the factors within your control, you’re giving your mind something practical and helpful to focus on.

‘When we’re in the midst of any challenging situation, distinguishing between what we can and can’t control can help us manage how anxious we feel,’ explains Navit Schechter, Cognitive Behavioural Therapist and Supervisor.

Things that we can control include limiting how much attention we pay to the media, focusing on facts rather than rumours circulating on social media sites, preparing sensibly and responsibly for potential future isolation, and not assuming the worst case scenario. These are all things that can help us to feel more in control and less anxious.

‘Trying to control the things that we can’t strengthens our belief about not being in control and can lead to further anxiety. Things we can’t control include the decisions that are made by the Government, and whether we, our family members or those within our communities will contract the virus.’

Check in with your feelings

It’s important to acknowledge how you are feeling, rather than dismissing “negative” emotions or berating yourself for feeling them.

‘Accept that you feel the way you do, and that it may be what you need to feel in this moment,’ suggests Dr Lynda Shaw, neuroscientist and change specialist. ‘Don’t berate yourself for feeling anger, anxiety, fear, sorrow or resentment in the short term. Writing down your thoughts and feelings can be a great way to express emotions, as of course can talking to colleagues, friends and loved ones. Have self-compassion – be kind to yourself.’

Indeed, showing yourself a little kindness can often be the best way to help keep anxiety under control.

‘Regularly check in with how you are feeling and coping,’ reminds Schechter. ‘If you are feeling anxious, do something to help yourself relax – read a book, watch a feel-good movie, take a walk, or do some yoga or breathing exercises.’

Manage your time online

Yes, it’s good to stay in the loop when it comes to Covid-19 news, but spending too much time reading about it on news and social media sites can see you caught in a cycle of updates and panic.

If we focus too much attention on Covid-19 news, it becomes our sole focus and can become overwhelming,’ says Schechter.

There is a lot of speculation circulating at the moment too, which can further fuel anxiety. Limit the time you spend listening to the news and reading social media posts, and choose your sources wisely. While it’s important to stay abreast of the facts from good-quality sources, any more than this can blow the issue out of proportion and raise anxiety levels unnecessarily. If you notice you’re feeling anxious, take time away from the news and focus on looking after yourself or those around you.’

One approach might be to limit searching for information to twice a day, for a limited period each time and to make sure you only look at the valid government and science led sources.

Stay connected with loved ones

Self-isolation might become a very real experience for many of us over the coming months, but that doesn’t mean we can’t stay connected with loved ones and the outside world.

‘Some people are already in self-isolation and this figure may grow over the coming weeks,’ says Schechter. ‘Make sure you have the contact details of friends and family, and that you check-in regularly with those who are potentially more vulnerable within your community. If you’re worried about being alone, try to prepare in advance by reaching out to your community, friends or family.’

Talking through the situation with positive minded, supportive friends can be just the start of your conversation, try and distract each other by also still talking about the happier items as well that you would normally share.

Get plenty of rest

Not only will getting a good night’s sleep on a regular basis help to give your immune system a boost, but getting enough shut eye will be beneficial for your mental health, too.

Even just one or two nights of disrupted or inadequate sleep can make you feel short tempered, moody or muddled,’ reveals Dr Shaw. ‘But prolonged sleep reduction will put you at serious risk of disorders such as depression and anxiety. Studies show that people with depression often have less than six hours’ sleep per night, meaning they do not have enough deep sleep and REM sleep, which is when the brain is restored.’

If your Covid-19 worries are preventing you from sleeping properly, taking measures to help improve your nighttime habits can help. These include avoiding the blue light from screens up to an hour prior to bedtime, taking a warm bath, reading a chapter of a good book, or trying an online guided meditation to help you unwind.

Plan your self-isolation time wisely

During periods of upcoming self-isolation, plan how you will spend your time. Starting a new creative project or working to improve your health and fitness are great ways to keep your mind occupied, as well as giving you a sense of fulfilment and purpose.

‘Self-isolation may be a daunting prospect, but making a daily plan, which includes activities that give you a sense of pleasure or achievement, can help keep your spirits up,’ says Schechter.

Examples include exercise programs to do from home, making sure that friends and family can stay connected with you online, and looking up activities you can do with your children if housebound,’ she adds. ‘If you have a weekly bridge game, book club, zumba class or playgroup you enjoy, explore possibilities of moving these online for a while.’

Manage your choices

Yes, loo roll is selling out fast and the shelves are emptying of hand sanitiser quicker than you can sneeze. But does this mean you have to jump on the panic-buying bandwagon too? Nope. As well as being harmful for the most vulnerable members of society, panic-buying through fear is the perfect fuel for anxiety.

‘It’s important to make sure that our behaviours reflect the reality of the situation,’ says Schechter. ‘If we fall down a rabbit hole of unhelpful behaviours, such as excessive panic-buying, it can make the situation feel even further out of our control, leading to increased anxiety. It’s important to follow the advice we’ve been given and trust that this is sufficient to ensure we are as safe as possible. Not giving in to urges based on fear can help to keep the risks we are facing in perspective.’

Making considered and sensible lifestyle choices over the coming months is another way of helping to manage both your physical and mental health. ‘Focusing on staying as healthy as possible, by eating well, quitting smoking and reducing alcohol consumption, can all help give ourselves the best chance of remaining well.’

Focus on the present moment

While fears and anxieties about the future may be clouding your mind, remember that the only moment we truly have is this one, right now. By focusing on the positives in this moment, as well as working on what you can control at present, you can help ease your mind and keep fear at bay.

Ultimately, the difference in how we get through these uncertain times will come down to how we think about the situation, as well as the way in which we view our ability to deal with it,’ says Schechter. ‘We can’t predict the future, and if we focus on our fears and doubt our ability to cope with what will happen, we will naturally feel anxious. If, on the other hand, we focus on the present moment and what we can control, as well as our strength and resilience, then together we will get through this difficult time with more calm and ease.’

Source Link: https://www.netdoctor.co.uk/healthy-living/mental-health/a31670364/coronavirus-anxiety/

Coronavirus: Test data ‘reassuring for front-line healthcare workers’

A study of NHS staff tested for coronavirus offers some reassurance to front-line workers, say researchers.

A Newcastle University team analysed the results of 1,000 tests carried out on workers at local hospitals in March.

They found the number of front-line workers testing positive was no different to that of staff working in non-clinical roles.

This is “reassuring for front-line healthcare workers and suggests that PPE is effective”, they say.

In the study, published in a letter to The Lancet, staff at two hospitals in Newcastle were offered tests, with results returned in two days. Local GPs and paramedics were also eligible.

The staff fell into three groups:

  • those dealing directly with patients (nurses, doctors, porters)
  • staff who did not see patients but might be at greater risk of hospital infection (cleaners, lab staff)
  • non-clinical staff (clerical, admin, IT)

Researchers at Newcastle University and Newcastle Hospitals found no evidence of a significant difference between the three groups, with rates of infection of 15% in the first group, 16% in the second, and 18% in the third.

The data also gives an insight into the growth of the epidemic in England, with signs of “flattening” after the introduction of social distancing measures.

“We got a glimpse into the epidemiology of the Covid pandemic in England,” said Dr Duncan.

“And we got evidence, although it’s not direct proof, that the social distancing measures introduced by the government are having an impact on the spread of coronavirus in England.”


Technology lessons learned for temporary hospital deployments

There is never good news when pandemics spread. As we move to deploy remote and IT-driven medical-care infrastructures, note that many American institutions (government, military and private sector) have already demonstrated extraordinary proficiency in these areas. We’ve done this before. We can do it now.

Make no mistake, the infrastructure needed to deliver world-class medical care is challenging to develop from scratch. Whether in a pop-up field hospital or a repurposed existing building, the demands are wide-ranging. These challenges run from setting up physical security, clean electric power and internet access, to deploying IT solutions secure enough to protect privacy and provide the analytics required by epidemiologists.

But this is nothing new for our nation. The U.S. military regularly sets up field hospitals in a matter of hours or days.  These remote facilities have sterile surgical lab services that offer first-world care to our war fighters. I’ve seen far-away patches of dirt quickly become bustling centers equipped with the impressive services found back home.

Beyond the military, construction companies often set up remote operations with turnkey packages for housing, power, internet, security and medical care. The same is true for utility companies responding to disasters, or NGOs delivering humanitarian assistance. Frankly, our American expertise is unrivaled.

Our nation’s disaster experts are specialists, working their areas with a “spotlight focus” to deliver full-spectrum medical care. Since IT is so central to care delivery – either in-person, remote or outpatient – let’s leave the physical infrastructure to the experts for now and focus on the remote IT solutions and data collection needed in a time of a pandemic.

Lessons Learned

My experience in these situations has been instructive. I am a retired USAF Colonel and Healthcare Administrator with more than 24 years of experience running healthcare facilities around the globe. I have deployed five times to set up temporary healthcare facilities (Expeditionary Medical Support Hospitals) in remote locations, mostly in the Middle East. Here are some lessons learned by me and my team.

Keeping it Simple. Keep IT simple. IT is provisional in nature.  When the pandemic passes, and it will eventually pass, the facility will be dismantled, and the temporary IT infrastructure will be absorbed into a permanent framework. There’s not always a need for on-site costly servers when cloud solutions are available through internet connectivity. If bureaucracy is involved in facility design – and it will be – leadership should resist complicated, multi-layered IT solutions. 

Technology Integration. Don’t engage in ad hoc systems integration. This is no time for freelancing. Seek out an experienced technology-solutions provider to deliver custom solutions that extend enterprise IT capabilities to remote users. The partner must have enterprise-class, remote-delivery experience, ideally with federal, state, or local government agencies, or the DoD. It will configure solutions to spec and deploy integrated storage, compute, network, unified communications, wireless and security technology.

Sometimes that requires a ruggedized container; sometimes it’s just deployed over the internet. These solutions enable secure collaboration and communications, no matter where field workers are located, putting enterprise IT functionality at their fingertips.

Clean Power. Uninterruptible power sources with backup are key in the field. Today’s IT is very refined, but it still runs on old-fashioned AC power, which must come from a clean source. Don’t overlook this, as unglamorous as it may seem.

Physical Security. Establish a physical-security plan. Adhere to it with military discipline. In a pandemic, when panic is possible, or disruptors want to sow chaos, protect the facility and IT assets. Security solutions can range from a simple lockable facility up to web-based cameras, video surveillance and AI-driven visitor analytics.

Prepare for BOYD. In all emergencies, workers will bring their own devices including all phone types, Apple devices and PCs, tablets, wireless lab and medical equipment, and BI and analytical tools required by the government. All must be accommodated, but that’s easy to do with browser-based access solutions.

Desktop-as-a-Service. Workers will be remote, yet still need access to the applications, data and file storage of their regular enterprise systems. So, strongly consider Desktop-as-a-Service. DaaS solutions can be set up within hours, allowing workers anywhere to leverage a secure cloud platform (allowing HIPAA compliance) that delivers applications and desktops to any device with a browser. With DaaS, employees can use their personal devices without security concerns or complicated software.

Collect Just What’s Needed. For electronic health records, collect only pertinent patient data for dissemination to authorities or to allied healthcare facilities, e.g. a patient’s current condition, disease trajectory, whom they contacted when contagious and a notification protocol for those contacts. (These guidelines should be set by the commanding agency, such as the CDC.) Keep in mind that these pandemic operations are essentially a triage and not meant to deliver a full range of medical care.

Clear Understanding. Finally, keep all crisis information simple, clear, concise and focused. Consider Microsoft Teams as a solution to set up “channels” and conversations that are focused on specific tasks of conversation themes. Microsoft Teams can be invaluable for keeping appropriate information in the hands of the right people in a focused, disciplined manner, while allowing access to a wide range of communication and file-sharing tools.

In the meantime, keep safe by following CDC hygiene protocols. Take care of one another. We will soon look back at this time and be thankful we got through it with such professionalism, fortitude and human decency.