COVID-19 — Frequently Asked Questions
Disclaimer: Not medical or professional advice.
COVID-19. Staying safe on trains, planes, and taxis.
Most of us use public transport, but is it safe during the coronavirus pandemic? Traveling by public transport involves close contact with other people in a closed space. To assess the risk, consider a few factors: the number of people you may share your ride with, duration of a trip, and ventilation.
The less contact you have with people, the less likely you will be exposed to the virus. Consider this while planning your trips. Depending on distance and transport mode, a journey may last for several minutes to many hours. The longer your travel is, the higher your chances of getting infected because the virus has enough time to spread in the air, contaminate the surfaces, and come into contact with your mucosal membranes. The ventilation systems present in transport vehicles have been designed to keep temperatures comfortable for passengers and increase energy efficiency. But there is little regulation of the level of fresh air in transport, except for planes.
According to the U.S. Department of Defense study, modern aircraft ventilation systems and continuous mask-wearing in-flight help minimize the concentration of virus particles in the air down to a level where passengers are far from receiving an infectious dose. Other means of transport are not equipped with such good ventilation. If you are riding a bus or a train, where you can open a window, please do so, minding the safety.
If you are using a bicycle-sharing system, wipe down a handlebar before use. And always follow the safety rules established by the transport operator.
As you prepare for a ride, consider the three things mentioned above (people, duration, fresh air) because they may vary depending on the transport mode you use: bus, train, metro, plane, taxi, carpooling, or bicycle sharing.
Postpone your cruise ship travel. CDC recommends that all people avoid traveling on cruise ships, including river ships, worldwide. Based on the pandemic experience, it is believed that cruise passengers are at increased risk of COVID-19 exposure and are less likely to receive quality medical care. Travel safe.
Shortness Of Breath Caused By COVID-19
Shortness of breath is a hallmark and extremely serious symptom in coronavirus patients. Everyone with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and new breathlessness requires care and constant monitoring to seek urgent medical attention in case they experience a deteriorating overall condition.
According to numerous doctors’ observations, the COVID-19 related shortness of breath has the following distinguishing characteristics.
- In COVID-19 patients, breathlessness rarely occurs on the first days of the disease. It usually sets in after 4 or more days since the onset of other symptoms.
- The first days after difficulty breathing begins are a critical period, when a patient requires constant monitoring and frequent check-ups.
- It is better if high-risk group individuals can measure their blood oxygen level with a pulse oximeter. The most important thing to monitor is the way shortness of breath changes over time.
By the way, few COVID-19 patients may show no symptoms of breath shortness, despite experiencing hypoxia. However, a dangerously low oxygen saturation level can manifest as vertigo and fainting.
Breathlessness can also be a physical sign of other morbid conditions, such as panic attacks. Then how do you distinguish between coronavirus-related shortness of breath and the rest? The answer to this question is particularly relevant to the current pandemic, with social isolation leading to an increase in mental disorders.
So, if breathlessness comes pretty quickly, it is a sign of anxiety or panic attack. With COVID-19, the shortness of breath always takes time to develop and occurs several days after the initial symptoms begin.
Patients with mental health disorders often feel short of breath while trying to sleep or being in a state of rest. While in the case of COVID-19, breathing difficulties are most common after physical exercise, even if it’s just a daily routine such as house cleaning, climbing stairs, or going for a walk.
Finally, if a pulse oximeter is available, you can measure your blood oxygen levels (saturation). With anxiety-related shortness of breath, it will show normal oxygen saturation. Normal readings range from 95 to 100%. A drop below 95% will help distinguish COVID-19 from the rest, in which case a person needs to seek urgent medical attention. A reading below 90% signals systemic hypoxia, a condition which disrupts functions of vital body organs, such as kidneys, heart, brain, and may cause death.
What to do if you lost sense of smell while sick with COVID-19.
People with mild symptoms of coronavirus disease may have a partial or complete loss of smell, and in some cases — taste.
- Causes of smell loss in COVID-19 patients.
Alongside hallmark coronavirus symptoms, such as dry cough, shortness of breath, and persistent fever, most people with proven COVID-19 infection have developed anosmia (complete loss of smell) or hyposmia (decreased sense of smell), including taste disturbance.
The virus causes inflammation of the cells supporting olfactory receptors and swelling of the nasal mucosa. In rare cases, this symptom may arise from a lesion in the brain region associated with olfaction and a sense of taste.
According to doctors' observations, a majority of COVID-19 patients experience some level of anosmia, but only 5% need ICU admission due to respiratory failure associated with the loss of smell.
The loss of taste issue derives from the decreased or lost sense of smell, which has a huge impact on detecting flavors. People think they can’t taste while, in fact, they can’t smell. This is not a weird phenomenon but a typical human brain reaction.
- How long does it take to get the smell back?
There may be either a gradual decline in the sense of smell or sudden anosmia. It usually takes patients 7 to 14 days to get their smell back after full respiratory recovery and provided that they don’t have nasal congestion. In case of a severe COVID-19, the olfactory function may disappear for several months.
Anosmia may even occur when your nose is not blocked. A person can have normal breathing but no smell sense. The swollen soft tissue and mucosa prevent aroma molecules from reaching the olfactory receptors. As soon as the immune system has successfully fought off the virus, swelling reduces and aroma molecules are back on their usual route towards the receptors.
Those who recovered from COVID-19 infection may end up with distorted olfactory perception (parosmia). It’s a condition that makes things smell differently, often repulsively.
There is no cure for parosmia. The sense of smell returns once the virus is removed from the system. If you develop such a symptom, please do not ignore safety rules. Keep yourself and others safe. Get a rapid coronavirus test by the previous appointment at Lake Conway.
Skin Rashes In COVID-19 Patients
While there is no exact data about dermatological manifestations of coronavirus infection, health professionals from different countries have reported around 400 COVID-19 cases with symptoms related to skin.
A study in China found that the incidence of skin rash among patients was low. Only 3 of 1,000 people showed skin lesions.
Such incidents of skin manifestations have only been documented in the course of observational studies, so it is not certain that they are COVID-19-related. Skin rashes may be caused by an allergic reaction to a medication. Nonetheless, the World Health Organization included rashes on the skin into the list of coronavirus infection symptoms.
A recent issue of the British Journal of Dermatology featured an article by Spanish scientists that classified cutaneous manifestations of coronavirus infection. The sample included 400 patients with COVID-19.
- Frostbite-like rash on the extremities. Rash occurred on arms and legs in approximately 20% of cases. The itching was common among patients, and many complained that their rash hurt to the touch. Usually, the rash appeared after other common symptoms and lasted for about two weeks.
- Blisters. Some patients (16%) experienced outbreaks of small blisters of the same size and shape localized in the abdominal region or the back. Much more rarely (10%) such lesions involved hands and feet. Blisters more often appeared in patients aged 35 to 55 and were accompanied by intense itching. Such rash usually passes in an average of 10 days.
- Maculopapular eruptions. This rash looks like small red bumps and may sometimes develop along with other hallmark symptoms. It is healed after 8-10 days and is considered the most dangerous and widespread type of rash, accounting for 48% of all cases.
- Urticaria rash. Urticarial lesions are raised with itchy bumps of red or white color. In many COVID-19 patients, they were distributed on the entire trunk, including the palms of the hands. This type of rash lasted for 7-9 days and most often occurred in patients with severe COVID-19 (20%).
- Livedo.It is the main sign of premature death of skin tissue and impaired circulation in blood vessels. Livedo causes the skin to take on a purple lace-like pattern and is most often associated with older patients having severe COVID-19. This type of rash is considered very rare.
During the coronavirus pandemic, skin manifestations have begun to gain more attention since they may enable early diagnosis of the infection, especially in young children and older adults.
If you have some skin manifestations, seek medical attention and get a rapid coronavirus test.
How To Heal Lungs After COVID-19
Patients who recovered from a mild form of coronavirus disease are battling the consequences for their bodies. They complain of long-lasting fatigue, shortness of breath, and some could hear crackles resembling the sound of crumpling paper when breathing.
Fibrosis is known as a condition in which connective tissue replaces normal lung tissue. It is the scarring of the lungs. Stiff fibrotic bands build up in the elastic lung tissue, reducing the respiratory surface area. Two or three small fibrotic bands may go unnoticed by the patient. However, severe scarring can affect breathing. The most common sign of this happening is breathlessness.
Unfortunately, there are no special medications capable of restoring lung function and capacity to the level before the disease. For example, the now-famous vitamin D cannot protect against COVID-19 and respective complications. Lung tissue needs to recover on its own, and our goal is to facilitate this process. The best thing patients can do at home is focused on their physical recovery.
First of all, it is essential to do breathing exercises specific to COVID-19 recovery goals. Patients should perform those exercises that will help regain the fitness of their muscles of respiration and work on muscles involved in inhalation and exhalation.
A lot of people choose to blow up balloons: this simple exercise helps create expiratory resistance and activate those parts of the lungs, which are not actively involved in respiration. Pulmonologists recommend using condoms instead of balloons if a patient cannot afford to buy an exerciser. They proved to be more effective. However, the best results can be achieved with an exerciser, which creates not only expiratory resistance but also an air vibration effect sending it through the airways to the lungs. This technique reinforces the therapeutic effect and contributes to successful rehabilitation.
Clinical Features Of COVID-19 In Children
CDC has reported cases of coronavirus in children of different age groups. Preschoolers and children in middle childhood tend to have milder illnesses compared to teenagers. Teens may have a fever, shortness of breath, and severe cough.
- Infants under age 1. Babies under 1 year of age infected with coronavirus become carriers of the pathogen. But the infants themselves usually experience mild and asymptomatic illnesses.
- Kids aged 1 to 5. COVID-19 patients of this age may have an increase in body temperature, poor appetite, and scratchy throat. Some children also have runny noses. Overall, the symptoms resemble those of slight cold.
- Children aged 5 to 12. Children aged between 5 and 12 years tend to suffer from more severe symptoms and have diarrhea on top of the typical signs.
- Children over the age of 12. The older a child is, the more severe symptoms he or she is likely to exhibit. In kids older than 12, coronavirus may sometimes present in a manner that resembles URI and stomach flu.
The most common clinical manifestations of the coronavirus infection in children include.
- Sore, scratchy throat.
- Elevated body temperature.
- Runny nose.
- Dry cough.
- Abdominal cramps.
- Poor appetite.
- Light sensitivity.
The most common symptoms.
A dry cough is one of the main signs of coronavirus. Most children, once infected, develop a mild cough that gets worse every day and is often accompanied by elevated body temperature.
According to U.S. studies, an average of 75% of infected children experience cough, and 90% of them have high body temperature.
How long will COVID-19 last if a child gets it?
The incubation period for children is around 5 to 7 days. Most patients usually recover within 1 or 2 weeks. The disease may progress depending on the severity of symptoms and the timing of the treatment. At first signs of illness described above, it is advised that you seek medical attention for your child to ensure an accurate diagnosis.
Tips for keeping children healthy in the times of coronavirus pandemic.
To avoid the spread of COVID-19 among kids, it is necessary to stick to a few general rules.
- Do not invite friends and relatives to your house.
- Frequently wash hands with soap.
- Drink more water.
These simple recommendations will help to avoid exposure to the virus and, therefore, keep you and your loved ones safe.
How to identify early signs of COVID-19 in older adults.
Older people infected with coronavirus tend to develop vague symptoms. This is primarily due to a weaker defense system of the body and a decline in immune function. As a result, there are difficulties in diagnosing COVID-19 and great changes of wrong treatment.
The symptoms observed in elderly patients who have coronavirus include.
- Loss of smell and taste.
- Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, pressure in the chest.
- Dry cough.
- High body temperature chills.
- Muscle and joints aches.
- Lingering tiredness.
- Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting.
Weakness, fatigue, and daytime sleepiness are common complaints of older people, so it’s easy to write these symptoms off as old age instead of associating them with coronavirus.
Elderly COVID-19 patients often have underlying health conditions, such as cardiovascular and respiratory diseases or diabetes. Flare-ups may also be misleading and dispel suspicions of COVID-19.
Time is of the essence, so it’s vitally important to seek medical attention and describe all the symptoms. Instead of attributing the entire scope of complaints to age, a doctor should do a general health assessment of an older patient and check the list of complaints against physical checkup results. To get the full picture, ensure accurate diagnosis, and determine the disease's severity, a series of medical tests is required. At Lake Conway, we have all the necessary facilities.
How To Keep Pets Safe From COVID-19
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends social distancing not only for people but for pets as well. Dog owners are advised to walk their pets on a leash at least 2 meters away from other animals.
It’s strongly recommended to keep cats indoors and not let them freely roam outside. Veterinarians say that the infection can be carried on pet hair, fur, or nasal discharge and stay around for long.
- Can dogs and cats spread COVID-19?
The World Health Organization has not yet reported any confirmed cases of animals passing on the virus to humans. As a rule, animals are the ones that contract COVID-19 after being in contact with infected humans. The virus spreads through respiratory droplets released when a sick person coughs, sneezes, speaks or kisses their pet.
- Is it safe to pet my dog?
According to veterinarians, the chances of contracting the virus from a dog’s hair are near zero. But even if your dog tests negative for coronavirus, you still need to practice good hygiene.
If you notice your pet is acting strange or getting worse, immediately call the veterinarian!