When to Wear Gloves To Prevent COVID-19?

Gloves form an essential part of the personal protective equipment (PPE). However, unlike masks, gloves are not supposed to be worn all the time or when outdoors to buy groceries.

As per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), gloves should be worn under two circumstances:

When caring for the sick

  • Gloves should be worn while touching of having contact with an infected person’s blood, stool, urine, or body fluids such as saliva, vomit, and mucus.
  • Gloves should be worn while cleaning or disinfecting the area around the sick person’s bed or room.

When performing routine cleaning at home

  • Disposable gloves should be used to clean or disinfectant the house as per the instructions mentioned on the label of the disinfectant.
  • People must maintain good ventilation into the room to keep fresh air coming.

When-to-wear-gloves

Under all circumstances, the gloves should be disposed of in a lined trash can. Also, people must wash their hands with soap or use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol after they remove their gloves.

With that said, people are not required to wear gloves when they are outdoors, for instance, while grocery shopping or using an ATM as this may not reduce the risk of infection. This is opposite to the use of a face mask, which must be worn at all times when the person is outside in a public space. However, there is no requirement to wear a mask at home while performing routine cleaning.

Overall, the most effective ways to prevent COVID-19 include the following:

  • Maintaining a six-feet distance with others
  • Washings hands with soap regularly using a 20-second technique
  • Using a hand sanitizer with 60 percent alcohol when soap is not available
  • Wearing a face covering or a mask when out in public

Reference: CDC

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Types of COVID-19 Vaccines Being Developed Globally

A vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is being vouched as the only and the best hope to end the pandemic that has claimed the lives of more than 330,000 people worldwide.

Pharmaceutical companies and researchers across the world are in a race to develop a safe and effective vaccination for COVID-19. Many such vaccines are currently under development, while there are a few notable ones that are undergoing clinical trials in humans.

One such vaccine is the mRNA-1273 by Moderna, a USA-based pharmaceutical company, The vaccines by Moderna is currently headed toward Phase II clinical trial after recording success in Phase I. Unlike conventional vaccines, this one is a genetically-modified mRNA vaccine, which is easier to produce and can be produced at a mass scale quickly.

types-of-covid19-vaccines-light

There are different types of vaccines that are currently in the making, as highlighted in the graphic.

However, a real, safe, and effective vaccine may still be months away from public use. Vaccine development typically takes years and even if all the processes, including regulatory approvals, are expedited, it may still take months for an effective COVID-19 vaccine to be available.

Most of the vaccines being developed against COVID-19 targets the Spike-shaped protein present on the surface of the coronavirus. It is through S protein that coronavirus can attach itself to the host cells in humans. A vaccine that targets this protein will render the virus useless as it will no longer be able to attach itself to human cells and cause COVID-19.

Source: Mayo Clinic

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Common Household Materials That Can Be Used As COVID-19 Masks

A simple three-layered cotton cloth mask is enough to prevent COVID-19 infection from possible exposure to droplets that may otherwise enter through nose or mouth. Therefore, people do not have to unnecessarily hoard or purchase only surgical masks or N-95 masks for the general use of masks for protection against COVID-19.

There are certain guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the U.S. on how cloth face covering should be used.

Common things which can be used as an alternative to mask

As per the CDC, face-covering should:

  • Fit closely but comfortably against the side of the face and bridge of the nose
  • Include multiple layers of fabric
  • Comfortably allow for breathing without any restrictions
  • Be able to be washed and machine dried without any damage to the fabric or stitching

It is advised to use a simple cotton cloth mask covering as prevention against coronavirus. It can be comfortably made at home from common materials at an extremely low cost. These are reusable as well.

However, they should be routinely washed and dried, depending on the frequency of use. A machine wash is enough to maintain mask hygiene.

There is a DIY tutorial available as well, provided by CDC, on how to make a cotton face mask at home.

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5 Ways to Protecting Your Workspace Against Coronavirus

The long-term success of the efforts being made by professional organizations and healthcare experts across the world against COVID-19 cannot be guaranteed without the support of the general public, including business operators and employees.

Employers and employees collaboratively have to work if we are to stop the spread of coronavirus. Considering most of the countries are now moving forward toward re-opening economies with most of the businesses resuming their operations, people should be more aware of the ways that can help contribute to the efforts of containing COVID-19 pandemic.

As people start working on-site, employers should make sure to put up posters promoting respiratory and hand hygiene. Sanitizing hand rub dispensers should be put at prominent places and it must be ensured that they are filled regularly.

5-steps-protecting-workplace

Employers and employees should also look into how important or urgent it is to hold face-to-face meetings. If it can be switched to an online event or a teleconference, it must be done. There should be a response plan in place in case someone develops symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever, dry cough, or general sickness/lethargy. The mental health and social consequences of such an event at the workplace must be addressed appropriately.

If required, employers should focus on promoting teleworking as an option for the safety of their employees. People must avoid traveling in a means of public transport if the COVID-19 outbreak has been reported at the community level in the area. Limiting the number of people at the workplace will go a long way in keeping COVID-19 transmission risk to a minimum while ensuring proper social distancing norms.

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No Approved Drug or Chemical For Prevention and Treatment of Coronavirus

The health authorities have time and again requested people not to take any drug or medicines by themselves in an attempt to cure coronavirus. When something is available for the treatment of COVID-19, it will be publicly announced by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The WHO is already coordinating with the pharmaceutical companies and researchers currently working on the development and evaluation of medicines for COVID-19.

People have been taken by myths that taking malaria drugs or chemicals such as methanol, ethanol, and bleach can prevent or cure coronavirus. However, that is not true.

Chemicals such as methanol, ethanol, and bleach are extremely poisonous and not fit for human consumption. Drinking such fluids can lead to disability and in worse cases, even death. While these chemicals are sometimes used in diluted form to kill viruses on the surface of metals, tiles, and other objects, drinking it only harms the internal organs and has to effect on the virus itself.

The best way to protect yourself against the virus is, therefore, to maintain proper hygiene and follow the norms of social distancing. People are requested to clean their hands regularly using handwash or use an alcohol-based sanitizer. They should avoid touching their mouth, face, nose, and eyes. A facial mask must be worn when in public and distance should be maintained from others.cot

It is wise to disinfect objects and surfaces that are touched regularly at home or the workplace using diluted bleach or alcohol. This will kill the bacteria and viruses and prevent further transmission of COVID-19.

Source: WHO

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COVID-19 Prevention and Safety Measures During Air Travel

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, international air travel has completely come to a halt. This has severely affected medical travelers, who are unable to fly to another country at the moment to seek quality and affordable healthcare abroad.

However, once the international air travel resumes, it will no longer feel the same. The social norms at the airport, airlines, and among the passengers are expected to change once the aviation industry resumes its operations in the post-COVID-19 era.

In the past few weeks, several international passenger airlines have announced a tentative timeline around which they plan to restart their operations, once again allowing people to travel from one country to the other. But there are a lot of things that the airlines and the source and destination airports are working on to make the transit safe and hassle-free to the passengers as well as the crew members.

Coronavirus is here to stay and even the World Health Organization (WHO) says that COVID-19 does not seem like something which will completely go away. While things may improve substantially once a cure or a vaccine is available for COVID-19, people and industries have to independently ensure the safety of their consumers and take all measures proactively to prevent further outbreak or surge in coronavirus cases due to loopholes in their operations.

The same goes for the airlines’ industry as they plan to resume its operations. The airlines and international airlines operators have to be extremely careful to protect the health of its travelers while ensuring that there are no cases of cross-country infections.

From a medical traveler’s point of view, it is important to know what these measures are to feel safe and comfortable before traveling to another country for medical treatment.

A medical traveler’s health, in most cases, is already compromised. They are not like a normal passenger traveling to another country for leisure or business. Therefore, it is all the more important to know what measures the airlines and receiving airport has implemented before knowing that it is alright for them to travel.

While a healthy person’s immunity may be robust enough to ward off infections by itself, medical travelers need to pay special attention to the arrangements that have been made to prevent people against COVID-19 as their immunity may already be compromised.

This article highlights some of the concrete ways by which international commercial airlines and airports are preparing themselves to allow movement of people, including medical travelers. Needless to mention, the sanitization and hygiene protocols will anyway be mandatory at all checkpoints of a travelers’ journey after international commercial flights resume its services.

Limited Flights To Limited Countries

Most of the airline operators around the world are planning to resume commercial flights, domestic as well as international, in a phased approach. Initially, all major flight operators such as Emirates, Etihad, Turkish Airlines, and Lufthansa are planning to resume commercial airlines to selected countries in June 2020 and would gradually expand their reach to other parts of the world in the third quarter of the year.

Resuming commercial airline operations in a phased manner will help in two ways:

  • The countries will get to know if there is any surge in coronavirus cases due to possible infections brought in by a foreign national and whether or not to keep international travel limited.
  • The gradual increase in international traffic will give the airport authorities enough time to ensure that the measures that have adopted are enough for people and if the crowd is conforming to the guidelines concerning social distancing. Any hiccups during the process can be identified and more robust arrangements can be made to ensure passenger safety in the coming times.

Social Distancing at Airports and Inside Flights

The airline operators in India and several other countries have initiated mock drills to train its staff on how to practice and follow social distancing guidelines while handling the travelers when the commercial passenger flights resume as per the schedule.

Most of the busiest airports in the world, including the Frankfurt airport, are also preparing themselves to receive international travelers. They have started to identify the areas where travelers generally have to wait in queues, including security checkpoints, baggage claim, and check-in counters. Efforts have been made already by the airport authorities to ensure that people conform to the rules of social distancing and have at least a 1.5 to 2 feet gap between them.

Some airlines are planning to implement self-check-in from home and provision to add baggage tags by the passengers themselves to avoid unnecessary crowds at the counters.

Several airports are considering using just one or two terminals to operate initially until commercials flights start running in full swing. Measures such as rear boarding, allowing only six passengers to board at a time through step-ladder (with a distance of 3 steps each between them), and keeping the middle row empty between two passengers are some of the rules that certain flight operators and airport authorities are planning to implement.

Deep-Cleaning and Sanitization

Deep-cleaning and sanitization protocols will be mandatorily followed by every airport authority and commercial airline operator once international travel resumes.

Airline operators are expected to carry the sanitization process after every one-way trip. On the other hand, the sanitization process at airports (including for marked areas, trolleys, and railings) will be carried out after every few hours each day as decided by the authorities depending on the number of visitors and daily operating flights.

Restrictions on In-Flight Services, Cabin Baggage

Many airlines are now planning to initially limit the cabin baggage that a person can carry with them to laptops, handbags, and baby items. Emirates, for example, has resumed several flights to certain countries, including those in the European Union. However, certain restrictions are there for the passengers that they have to follow to avoid COVID-19 transmission.

Travelers are now requested to check-in three hours before boarding for the recommended safety procedures. Also, the flight operator has temporarily stopped their lounge and chauffeur services and the distribution of in-flight reading material. The food and beverage services continue to remain available but with certain modifications.

Automated Passenger Screening At Airports

Automation is likely to become common at many international airports, especially the busiest ones. The use of technology involving robotics and bio-metrics is expected to be given high importance because it limits human involvement to carry out important functions, which could be highly useful at the airports.

Automation is also likely to be promoted because passengers would demand minimal human interaction and less need to touch surfaces, both of which can curb the risk of COVID-19 infection.

Therefore, medical travelers can expect to experience a range of contactless and self-service technologies that allows the authorities to conduct virtual health screening using thermal cameras and sensors.

For example, Etihad Airlines is working in close collaboration with Elenium Automation to develop a range of contactless services that can be utilized at health screening kiosks and baggage drop area at the airports with minimal to no human interaction.

Cabin Crew With Face Shields, Masks and Gloves

Gloves and masks have been made mandatory for all employees and staff at the airport and those working with the airlines. However, many airlines have made it mandatory for passengers to weak face masks throughout all stages of their journey.

The cabin crew team and the staff employed on the ground at the airports are now required to wear a protective shield, masks, and gloves to prevent COVID-19 transmission.

Etihad Airways Medical Centre has collaborated with Etihad Engineering to produce 3D-printed protective face shields that it plans to distribute among the staff as well as healthcare professionals across the UAE.

Passengers are also encouraged to abide by the rules and follow all guidelines to avoid any confrontation with the staff. Several airlines and airport authorities have released strict instructions for the travelers on the guidelines that they will have to follow, no matter what, at all stages of their travel.

Both Lufthansa and Jet Blue made it mandatory for the passengers to bring their facial mouth/nose covering and that they will inform the passengers of the mandatory requirements through SMS or email a few days before the date of departure.

“We kindly ask you to bring your own face mask and, for the sake of sustainability, we recommend a reusable cloth mask. Of course, you may use any type of face covering, such as simple disposable masks or even scarves. For now, wearing a face mask remains mandatory until August 31, 2020,” reads the official statement issued by Lufthansa.

Virtual Queuing Feature

Many airlines are also expected to implement a virtual queuing feature on their iOS and Android mobile applications. The use of this feature was first announced by Delta Air Lines in January 2020.

“We continue to put boarding under the microscope – looking at how technology can help alleviate some of the crowdings at the gate that all of us have experienced,” Vice President – Global Distribution & Digital Strategy of Delta Air Lines, Rhonda Crawford, said in a statement.

The use of such apps can help reduce crowds at the boarding gates and waiting areas significantly. The passenger will get a notification when their seat is boarding and they can reach the gates then and there. Before that, they can enjoy their time at a restaurant or somewhere in isolation, while practicing social distancing.

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What is COVID19-Related Inflammatory Syndrome In Children?

A rare and life-threatening COVID19-related inflammatory syndrome is rampant in children in the US and the European Union. Children with this mysterious illness – that resembles Kawasaki Disease – show symptoms such as rashes, persistent high fever, inflammation, and loss of functioning of multiple organs such as heart, kidneys, and liver.

Data from New York City shows that out of 83 children who were admitted to the hospital with severe illness and similar symptoms, 25 tested positive for coronavirus. Besides, 23 tested positive for antibodies against COVID-19, which means that they must have contracted infection but recovered.

This has come as a surprise as well as a shock for the public health experts because, since the initial days of the coronavirus pandemic, it has been believed that children are at less risk of getting coronavirus infection. Traditionally, the elderly and people with pre-existing conditions such as obesity, heart disease, and pulmonary disorders have been considered as high-risk groups.

Therefore, while there is no cure or vaccine for coronavirus, parents should look for the warning signs of the COVID19-related inflammatory syndrome in children and rush to the hospital immediately in case of severe sickness.

Some of the symptoms that children may show include the following:

  • Persistent high fever
  • Rashes
  • Breathlessness
  • Severe sickness
  • Vomiting

Such children have been reported to suffer from extreme inflammation of the gut and reduction in the functioning of multiple organs. Therefore, it becomes all the more important to seek emergency medical care and report any signs of extreme sickness in children.

References: https://www.who.int/news-room/commentaries/detail/multisystem-inflammatory-syndrome-in-children-and-adolescents-with-covid-19

https://www.aappublications.org/news/2020/05/14/covid19inflammatory051420

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Tips On Providing Mental Support To Others Amid COVID-19 Crisis

Your little act of kindness can provide the much needed mental health support to those suffering from depression, loneliness, stress, and negative thinking amid the COVID19 pandemic.

Fear, stress, and worry are considered a normal reaction in humans to real of perceived threats. Now that the entire world is battling COVID-19 and is scared for its health and that of its loved ones, people are all the more likely to experience fear in context to the pandemic.

To the fear, add changes to the daily schedule, loss of employment, partial loss of income, inability to meet or visit family, ongoing health crisis, and added responsibility of home-schooling children. People have a lot on their plates at the moment and therefore, they have occupied physically ad well as mentally, which may lead to a point where they feel completely exhausted.

Everyone reacts differently to a stressful situation. While some may be able to handle the situation better while maintaining a positive outlook, others may find it tough and challenging to cope up with the changes in life.

Therefore, there is an additional need to take care of such people and maintain a constant touch with each other to support each other in the time of crisis.

Some of the warning signs that indicate that the other person, whether a child or an adult, could be suffering from excessive stress and anxiety include the following:

  • Excessive irritation or crying
  • Unhealthy eating or sleeping habits
  • Difficulty concentrating on things
  • Excessive worry or sadness
  • Avoiding a hobby or another favorite activity
  • Excessive use of alcohol, drugs, or tobacco
  • General avoidance concerning normal conversations

References: https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/public-health/managing-mental-health-during-covid-19

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Best Ways to Engage with Kids during COVID-19 Pandemic Lockdown

COVID19 is a universal crisis, which has an impact on children as well. With a restriction on playing outdoor games to just hanging out with their friends, the lock-down measures can severely impact their physical as well as mental well-being.

Therefore, parents need to spend time with their kids of all age groups and help them understand how to cope with such situations. Parents, especially those of teenagers, should pay attention to the warning signs of social isolation and engage in activities that limit their screen time on mobile, laptops, and i-Pads.

How-to-engage-with-kids during COVID - Pandemic

Parents should engage with their kids as much as possible, irrespective of their age group. It is also important to notice the warning signs of anxiety and stress among children. As a majority of parents around the world are working from home currently, it is easy for them to overlook the need of their child as they juggle to complete their domestic as well as official duties.

A few questions that parents should ask themselves when it comes to the behavior of their children during state-at-home orders include the following:

  • Is my child trying to grab my attention?
  • Is my child spending too much time online or over the phone?
  • Has my child’s eating habits changed during the lock-down?
  • How much time does my child spend in self-isolation?
  • Has my child’s sleeping pattern changed dramatically during the lock-down?
  • Is my child pursuing any hobby?
  • Does he or she engage or participate in family conversations?
  • Do I know what my child’s day is like and how his or her friends are doing?

Answering these questions may call for some self-introspection and the parents will automatically get an answer to what they need to do to make a difference in their child’s like and make them more productive, comfortable, and engaged during the lock-down phase.

References: https://www.unicef.org/coronavirus/covid-19-parenting-tips

https://patient.info/news-and-features/covid-19-how-to-keep-kids-active-during-coronavirus-lockdown

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Best Ways to Prevent COVID-19 Cyber Scams

COVID-19 could be a perfect opportunity for cyber scammers and hackers to execute what they are good at. Do not let anyone take advantage of you, financially or otherwise, during the coronavirus pandemic.

Cyber scammers can target the population in the following ways:

  • By Sending Suspicious Links Over SMS, Email or Social Media

Hackers may send suspicious links, which may harm you in several ways if you click it. From compromising with the data in your system or mobile on which you clicked the link to enabling a virus attack, hackers know of plenty of ways to target different categories of people. Therefore, do not click any suspicious link to see what is in it.

  • By Sending HOAX Information related to COVID-19 Treatment and Vaccine

So far, no treatment or vaccine is available for COVID-19. Therefore, hackers may try to feed people with false information and influence their opinion and decision. This spread of false information can potentially prove lethal for many as they may decide to follow the methods highlighted. Therefore, do not believe information from unverified sources and always refer to credible sources such as the WHO and CDC.

  • By Making a Request For Charity

This is one of the leading online scams of all time. Hackers and cyber scammers may try to loot your money by claiming that they are making donations or collecting funds for COVID-19 relief. However, this may not be true. Therefore, before making any donations, check for the credibility of the organization they are referring to and always prefer to donate useful material such as clothes, grains, and pulses rather than making cash donations.

  • By Asking For Financial or Banking Data

Random callers may ask you for sensitive financial data, credit card number, CVV number, card expiry, or bank account details by claiming that they will make your money secure. During the COVID-19 crisis, people may fall into the trap of cyber scammers. Please know that the bank does not ask for such crucial information over the phone and therefore, you should not give it to anyone, no matter what claims they make.

References: https://safety.google/securitytips-covid19/

https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/current-activity/2020/03/06/defending-against-covid-19-cyber-scams

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