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Covid-19

Are Temperature Checks an Ineffective Testing Method for COVID-19?

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Temperature checks are commonly used during the COVID-19 pandemic in public spaces like LAX, or retail stores using “non-contact infrared thermometers” to identify people who might have and could spread infectious disease. Since many people infected with the virus are asymptomatic, temperature checks could prove to be an ineffective response to the pandemic. 

A growing body of science suggests that smell tests could be a more useful way to detect the virus. The Transportation Security Administration told reporters that temperature checks do not guarantee that passengers who don’t have an elevated temperature do not have COVID-19, and vice versa.

The loss of the sense of smell, also known as anosmia, could work well as an add-on to temperature checks. The smell test could significantly increase the ability to identify infected people by screening in airports, workplaces, and other public places. 

Andrew Badly is a physician who oversees a virus lab at the Mayo Clinic stated that anosmia is an early symptom of COVID-19. Anosmia is relative to fever, and some infected individuals can have anosmia with no other visible symptoms. 

A recent study conducted by Badley and colleagues discovered that Covid-19 patients were 27 times more likely than others to have lost their sense of smell. COVID-19 patients were only 2.6 times more likely to experience fever or chills, suggesting that anosmia produces a more precise signal and could be a better COVID-catching net than fever.

As experts have searched for other screening tools, some have zeroed in on smell tests, which could be as simple as asking people to identify a particular scent from a scratch-and-sniff card. Loss of sense of smell is one of the earliest signs of COVID-19. Support cells in the olfactory epithelium, the tissue that lines the nasal cavities, are coated with the receptors that SARS-CoV-2 uses to enter cells. They become infected early on in the disease development, usually before the body has mounted the immune response that causes fever.

In an evaluation of 24 individual studies, with records from 8,438 confirmed COVID-19 patients from thirteen countries, 41% reported they had lost their sense of smell partially or entirely, according to researchers’ data reported in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Though in studies that used objective measurements of smell rather than asking patients, the chances of anosmia was 2.3 times higher.

A Monell analysis of 47 studies finds that nearly 80% of COVID-19 patients have lost their sense of smell as determined by scratch-and-sniff tests. Approximately 50% include that in self-reported symptoms meaning people don’t realize they had partially or entirely lost their sense of smell. This could be because they’re suffering more severe symptoms, causing them to miss this sign, or because the smell isn’t something they focus on.

In a recent study of 1,480 patients led by otolaryngologist Carol Yan of UC San Diego Health, someone with anosmia was “more than ten times more likely to have Covid-19 than other causes of infection,” she said. Nasal inflammation from cold, flu and other viruses can cause it, she said, but especially during the summer, when those infections are not as common the possibility that anosmia is the result of Covid-19 increases.

In contrast, a fever has multiple possible causes. Therefore, temperature checks will flag people as potentially infected with COVID-19. The likelihood that anosmia indicates someone will test positive for COVID-19 the predictive value increases

UC San Diego Health is currently doing that by asking about the loss of smell (and taste) when screening visitors and staff before allowing them to enter its buildings. Since many people are unaware of their anosmia, testing would be better rather than asking.

The gold-standard test is the University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test, called UPSIT. It uses 40 microencapsulated scents — including dill pickle, turpentine, banana, soap, licorice, and cedar that are released by scratching it with a pencil. The tester has a choice of four answers for each, and the entire test takes 10 to 15 minutes.

A screening test for anosmia to detect those who could potentially be infected with COVID-19 could be much simpler instead of relying solely on temperature checks that could be inaccurately detecting the virus according to experts.  

Sources: 

  1. https://www.statnews.com/2020/07/02/smell-tests-temperature-checks-covid19/
  2. https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/penn-physician-blog/2020/june/upsit-article
  3. https://wordofhealth.com/2020/03/24/coronavirus-how-do-we-flatten-the-curve/
  4. https://wordofhealth.com/2020/03/02/key-questions-surrounding-the-coronavirus/

Covid-19

New Study Finds Children Can Spread COVID-19 as Much as Adults

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A new study from South Korea has discovered that children between the ages of 10 and 19 can spread COVID-19 just as much as adults. The extensive study, published by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, states that household transmission of the virus “was high” for those between 10 and 19 years old

Household transmission rates were lower for patients aged 0 to 9. Researchers examined reports for 59,073 contacts of 5,706 coronavirus patients in South Korea between January 20 and March 27. Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, told The New York Times that this study is one of the best to date concerning the coronavirus and transmission of the disease.

The results arrive as school officials across the nation determine whether or not to reopen schools for the upcoming year. The South Korean study said that the researchers’ findings of coronavirus transmission during school reopenings emphasize the need for a time-sensitive epidemiologic study to safeguard public health policy.

The study also indicated the effectiveness of contact tracing, especially in light of future waves of SARS-CoV-2, that will rely heavily upon social distancing and personal hygiene as primary factors for preventative measures. Awareness of the role hygiene and infection control measure plays is vital to reducing the household spread, and using masks in the home for family members who are at high risk for contracting the coronavirus needs further research.

Michael Osterholm, an infectious disease expert at the University of Minnesota, told The New York Times, that there will be transmission rates of the virus if schools reopen and include that in plans for preventing and limiting the contraction of the virus. 

Sources: 

  1. https://www.health.com/syndication/children-aged-10-19-spread-coronavirus-just-as-much-as-adults-new-study-finds
  2. https://wordofhealth.com/2020/06/27/young-californians-attribute-in-coronavirus-spike/
  3. https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/10/20-1315_article
  4. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/ashish-jha/
  5. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/18/health/coronavirus-children-schools.html
  6. https://wordofhealth.com/2020/04/02/is-social-distancing-helping-californians/
  7. https://wordofhealth.com/2020/06/17/how-to-fix-this-type-of-n95-mask-to-limit-the-spread-of-the-coronavirus/
  8. https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/about-us/cidrap-staff/michael-t-osterholm-phd-mph

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Covid-19

Video Laryngoscope Released in the U.S. for Faster Intubation During COVID-19

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Healthcare facilities worldwide are on the front lines during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic by providing treatment for patients. Those who are in critical condition in intensive care units need intubation, but this process can be complicated by obtaining an airway precisely. Each patient varies; some can take a minute or more during intubation, potentially leading to fatal consequences. 

Nihon Kohden is launching its NK AWS-S200 video laryngoscope in the United States under the Pentax brand outside the United States. This device is designed to achieve intubation faster and on the first try. Furthermore, the company claims the product “can help protect clinicians while intubating patients suffering from COVID-19 or other respiratory infections”.

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The NK AWS-S20 features a high-definition color display targeting cross-hairs that help deliver the working end into the airway. A functioning channel allows for the endotracheal tube to be pushed while viewing the airway properly. 

There is a built-in-channel to guide the endotracheal tube and continuously observe the intubation process. The video laryngoscope can decrease the risk of oral and pharyngeal injury, such as mild mucosal bleeding and sore throat.

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Nihon Kohden mentioned that the NK AWS-S200  allows healthcare professionals to intubate challenging patients quicker than other competitor’s devices. The company expressed the device can help clinicians intubate patients with even difficult airways in  22.9 seconds, well below the 30-second threshold suggested for intubations and up to 33 seconds faster than other devices. 

Genoveffa Devers, DNP, MSHA, RN, CPHQ, VP of clinical and strategic alliances at Nihon Kohden stated the importance of tools to establish an airway quickly and efficiently as possible for healthcare providers. She added that the NK AWS-S200 video laryngoscope is designed to attain this while maintaining clinicians’ safety by limiting contact trying to visualize the vocal cords and larynx. 

Using the firm’s disposable NK PBLADE blades, which are available in four different sizes, help clinicians reduce cross-contamination between patients and those providing treatment.

In addition, when administering CPR, the video laryngoscope can be used to intubate patients without delaying life-saving treatment. 

Sources: 

  1. https://www.medgadget.com/2020/07/nihon-kohden-releases-video-laryngoscope-in-u-s-for-faster-intubation-during-covid.html
  2. https://www.webmd.com/lung/intubation-explained
  3. https://www.nihonkohden.com/

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Covid-19

‘COVID Symptom Study’ App Tracks Various COVID-19 Symptoms

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A new smartphone COVID-19 app that tracks symptoms has gathered information from more than 4 million people worldwide and gives doctors the ability to examine the different symptoms patients are experiencing with the virus. The mixture of various symptoms people are exhibiting with COVID-19 is unexpected.

According to Dr. Troy Pennington of Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton, there are various forms of COVID-19 symptoms in patients. The application is called the COVID Symptom Study, was designed by healthcare professionals and scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital, The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, King’s College London and Stanford University School of Medicine, working beside ZOE, a health science company. Users can input their health information and get statistics on those participating around their region. 

Researchers grouped patients into six different clusters. The first cluster of patients are those experiencing mild symptoms who had flu-like symptoms, according to Pennington. The symptoms included body aches, possibly a sore throat, mild shortness of breath, and mostly mild symptoms, but no fever.

The second cluster of patients displayed similar symptoms, but with a fever. The third group of patients included gastrointestinal issues. Pennington added that there was a GI component with mild diarrhea or even an upset stomach. 

The fourth cluster of patients added severe fatigue, while the fifth added confusion as part of their symptoms. The sixth cluster consisted of patients experiencing the most severe symptoms, including abdominal and respiratory problems. This group had all of the common attributes of flu-like illness, but it had a very significant GI component with persistent abdominal pain and diarrhea. 

Pennington stated some of his patients at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center had exhibited even more peculiar symptoms such as unusual rashes and rashes that also looked like hives or chickenpox. Another patient was complaining of number fingers and toes. 

According to the study, the only common symptoms in all six clusters were headaches and loss of smell.

The COVID Symptom Study app has allowed physicians to get a closer look at COVID-19 symptoms patients experience to help healthcare professionals identify and treat patients accordingly. 

Sources: 

  1. https://abc7.com/covid-19-covid-symptoms-coronavirus-is-upset-stomach-and-diarrhea-a-symptom-of/6345955/
  2. https://wordofhealth.com/2020/07/11/pink-eye-symptom-of-covid-19/
  3. https://covid.joinzoe.com/us
  4. https://wordofhealth.com/2020/05/14/how-does-covid-19-affect-the-lungs/

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