Perceived Covid19 Vaccine Obstacles

The COVID-19 vaccine campaign is an ongoing global effort to vaccinate many people against the disease to ensure protection from illness, regulate the rate of infection, lessen severe results, and return to everyday life.

The SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) that produced the COVID-19 disease, which has symptoms ranging from pneumonia to multi-organ failure, started a pandemic that still presents a considerable threat to the world.

It has caused economies to collapse and increased deaths and illnesses worldwide. Controlling diseases that can be prevented has been extremely difficult due to vaccine resistance.

Contrary to well-known illnesses like polio, the COVID-19 virus has never been encountered or even seen before. With the COVID-19 vaccination, difficulties were sure to arise.

People may feel they are being utilized as test subjects because it is new. After individuals believe they have completed their vaccinations and antibody tests, more vaccines, including booster doses, are provided due to the emergence of new virus strains.

Below are some obstacles that are affecting the use of the covid-19 vaccine.

The first on the list is vaccine reluctance and safety. Due to safety concerns, the spread of vaccines was halted or delayed in some African nations. Fears of unfavorable side effects recorded in Europe and the United States of America were significant factors in this.

The AstraZeneca vaccine’s suspension among younger persons in Europe has also impacted the vaccine uptake among younger health personnel in some African nations.

There are also concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine’s side effects, including long-term effects, ineffectiveness (due to the discovery of new variants), and vaccine quality controls. The extraordinary speed at which vaccines were developed and distributed is the root of the problem of mistrust in COVID-19 vaccines.

Another barrier is supplying the vaccine worldwide and within a country. Significant global discrepancies in vaccine access, supply chain disruptions, and deliveries already fall short of expectations.

Governments should be ready for the mass production and delivery of the billions of doses needed worldwide when more vaccines are researched and approved for emergency use and can apply creative methods to increase production capacity.

The heavy demand for a COVID-19 vaccine necessitates concurrently scaling manufacturing capacity with efforts to identify new vaccines.

Within, countries may encounter supply obstacles like; providing and transporting vaccines safely and securely, allocating vaccines fairly, promoting vaccination rates, and addressing the moral questions raised by vaccine cards and other vaccine requirements.

Another major obstacle is the lack of education and awareness. It is hard to trust what you do not know or understand. If there is a step-by-step guide to what the vaccine is, what it does, how it works in the body, the side effects, and the potential protection rate, people would feel more comfortable accepting it.

The unavailability of this type of information to a layman poses a significant obstacle. It could lead to other people not getting it. For example, if a community leader in a rural setting takes the vaccine because he understands what it can do for him, there is a high chance the people he oversees will do the same.

Myths and false information about the COVID-19 vaccine’s efficacy and safety are quickly gaining traction online. This has increased people’s reluctance to get vaccines.

How to get the vaccine to rural areas also poses an obstacle. Practical obstacles to accessibility include things like scheduling conflicts or high transportation costs. It also includes having physical access to vaccination clinics and antigen test sites, having dosages available (including different vaccine kinds), and being able to understand information.

Sadly, problems like “vaccine nationalism,” or the refusal to share vaccinations across national boundaries, prevent a sufficient quantity of vaccines from being distributed globally.

To reassure the public regarding the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccinations, they should go through rigorous testing and processes before receiving a license. 

Information about these tests should also be transparent and available. Otherwise, factors like the mentioned obstacles with the vaccine may cause doubt and uncertainty.


Can COVID-19 Be Transmitted Through Food?

The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt the whole world a blow in the past few years. It shook the world to its core, running businesses down and taking the lives of loved ones, family, friends, and acquaintances.

Infection rates over the past few months have reduced, and the world is almost back to ‘normal.’ COVID-19 protocols and regulations have been reduced or removed in some places. COVID-19 tests have been made easier with self-help kits, helping people to catch it before it progresses and curb the spread.

Yes, COVID-19 may look like a thing of the past. However, people are still getting infected every day from well-known sources like breathing the same air in the same surrounding as an infected person or touching surfaces where respiratory droplets have landed.

The primary mode of COVID-19 transmission is through respiratory droplets from an infected person talking, sneezing, or coughing. Because of this, there are concerns about getting the virus from food and packaging.

This post will look more in-depth at what is known about catching the coronavirus via food or packaging materials. Let’s answer a few questions. Firstly, how do you get an illness from food?

There are two possible ways

The first way happens when someone handling your food becomes ill with a virus or bacteria while preparing it, contaminating the food item.

The second way is when food—like lettuce or red onions—becomes contaminated with a pathogen (a disease-causing organism, like E. coli, in this case, COVID-19 virus), which may have developed during the food’s growth or been introduced during distribution.

Is There A Possibility Of Transmission Of Covid-19 Through Food From The Store?

According to the  Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the risk of spread from food products or packaging is low because of the poor survivability of the COVID-19 virus on surfaces.

Chances are, food may contain the coronavirus. In fact, according to some currently under-reviewed research, the virus can persist for weeks on frozen or refrigerated foods.

The COVID-19 virus requires living host cells to reproduce. They cannot grow in or on food, unlike bacteria or fungi.

Practicing safety tips when handling food can help in preventing coronavirus. Some examples of these tips include; Proper hand washing before touching food, rinsing fresh produce thoroughly to eliminate germs, and cooking at recommended temperatures to kill any remaining virus.

You can be worried about restaurant food in addition to fresh food. This can include food you order from takeout restaurants or delivered to your home.

Even if it’s not impossible, it’s still unlikely to contract the new coronavirus from food prepared or handled by another person.

Restaurants have taken steps like ensuring all workers; frequently undergo the COVID-19 test, use gloves in food preparation, use masks, and disinfect and clean surfaces more regularly.

You can also protect yourself while dining out by wearing your facemask, ensuring you keep the necessary social distancing guidelines, ensuring the staff of your chosen restaurant wears facemasks, and using hand sanitizers when necessary.

 For the time being, skip eating out if you don’t feel at ease. Ordering takeout can be a good option, so you can enjoy food from your favorite without risking infection.

Can You Get Covid From Food Packaging or Takeout?

According to the CDC, no COVID-19 cases have been connected to food packaging or shopping bags.

Washing your hands after handling packages can help prevent infection.

Finally, a person would need to have COVID-19 while making your food, have a high enough viral load (the quantity of virus they have inside them), and cough or sneeze directly into your food to have any chance of a foodborne contamination route. The virus would also need to be able to survive and persist in that meal.

While COVID-19 is no longer spreading wildly, people are still getting infected. You can prevent it by keeping the new COVID-19 guidelines and taking antibody tests if you suspect you have been infected.

Mental health

COVID-19 Stress and Its Impact on Mental Health

It is gradually approaching three years since the deadly COVID-19 virus swept through the world, bringing fear and panic and leaving behind millions of infected and dead persons in its wake. 2020 was the year that facemasks and hand sanitizers became necessary accessories. Distance became a significant issue as families and friends worldwide were separated during the lockdown, and that year also birthed the various conspiracy theories on the COVID-19 virus. 

The COVID-19 virus’ spread has been contained to a level where the closest thing to normal has been restored. Unfortunately, a part of our lives that continues to be affected years later by the virus is our mental health. The pandemic wave has closely linked COVID-19 and mental health because, during that period, it was not just the world nations’ economies that dealt a huge blow. It was also our health—our mental health—against the virus. 

The COVID-19 global pandemic inflicted damage on the primary functional sectors that the world ran on, including the economic, transportation, industrial, educational, and health sector. Numerous people were laid down from their jobs, students from their schools, and those who had the pass to continue their work, such as nurses, doctors, and other health workers, battled with the possibility of contracting the virus. There were reports of people who were unfortunately trapped in a foreign city when the lockdown was declared. With airports shut down, these people had to spend weeks—if not months—away from their family and other familiar faces. In contrast, others lost their livelihood and sources of income.

A distinctive common trait that rapidly spread worldwide along with the virus was accompanying stress. This stress came from different factors, such as being locked in for a long time. There were various cases of people who had no physical contact for months because they lived alone and had to make do with voice and video calls to communicate with their loved ones. Some others had to battle stress because of the lack of jobs. It was especially difficult for people that had others to cater for. COVID-19 stress played a prominent role in the dwindling mental health stability of the pandemic’s survivors.

Chronic stress has long been identified as a vital factor that increases the risks of mental health diseases and illnesses, including anxiety and depression, insomnia, bipolar disorder, substance use problems, and many others. The most common causes of stress include familial issues, work, financial situations, personal relationships, and overthinking, all of which happened in abundance during the pandemic.

 As estimated by statistics, about 114 million people lost their jobs and sources of income due to the pandemic; countless businesses had to shut down due to the lockdown, and a UK-based family firm reported a 95% increase in divorce rates. School children reportedly lost approximately 1.8 trillion hours of education, with nearly 800 million young adults and teenagers put out of schools and colleges, among many other devastating losses.

These, along with other factors, had people overthinking and slipping into depression, their hopes dwindling as the virus raged and the lockdown remained day after day. While some people could adapt and remain unaffected mentally, others were not as strong and thus suffered.

The World Health Organisation reported a rise in suicide rates, self-harm thoughts, and relapse of mental illnesses due to fear of the virus, and many others among people of various age groups and gender, ranging from the elderly to teenagers and even children. Early this year, a 25% increase in depression and anxiety worldwide was reported by the WHO, urging countries to “step up mental health services and support.”

Since the lockdown was eased and the vaccine discovery, life has been made easier. However, there are still thousands of people who are struggling with one form of mental illness or the other, and it is not spoken about enough. That is why there needs to be more mental health awareness because that is one aspect that affects our overall health.

Omicron BA.5

Latest symptoms and effects of the new Omicron BA.5

The virus that causes COVID-19, SARS-Cov-2, spread worldwide, causing a global pandemic, as is well-known. This pandemic led to a total lockdown of different countries and affected their economies, as not everyone could go about their businesses. The COVID-19 outbreak has led to the hospitalization of many and the loss of countless lives.

During that period, it was essential to watch for specific symptoms like fever, cough, loss of smell and taste, headache, sore throat, chest pain, etc., as these are the symptoms of COVID-19. It is advised that anyone with these symptoms should get an antigen test to know if they have been infected with the virus or not.

Like every other virus, SARS-Cov-2 changes in form. The virus, popularly known for its frequent and rapid changes, has morphed into several different variants since its discovery. These different variants all have distinguishing characteristics and, in some cases, varying symptoms and effects. There is the Alpha variant, Beta variant, Gamma variant, Delta variant, and lastly, the Omicron variant.

These variants listed above all have their lineages and sub-lineages. The Alpha variant has the B.1.1.7 and Q lineages; Beta has B.1.351 or 501.v2 lineage, Gamma has P.1 lineage, Delta has the AY and B.1.617.2 lineages, while Omicron has B.1.1.529, BA.1, BA.1.1, BA.2, BA.3, BA.4, BA.5 lineages. 

The Omicron variant was first discovered in South Africa in November 2021. During this same period, people living in England, Nigeria, and the United States were also said to have been infected by the new variant.

The Omicron variant can be contracted and spread easier than the other variants whether you have been vaccinated. Compared to other variants, Omicron causes less severe cases of infection. The variant causes more lenient diseases, even though some cases of death and hospitalization may still occur.

The Omicron BA.5, the newest strain, has been very dominant in the U.S and is said to be spreading rapidly there. BA.5 being the latest of its kind has led to a lot of questions like, “Is it deadlier than the original strain?”, “Does it have different symptoms?”, “Does the COVID-19 vaccine work on it?” and many more. These questions will be covered in this article.

BA.5 is the predominant COVID-19 strain out now. Not only does this new strain spread fast, but it also evades vaccination of previous COVID-19 strains. BA.5 mutation has allowed it to move through immune systems quickly. For example, if you have Beta strain immunity, it would not protect you against the BA.5 strain.

Some symptoms of the BA.5 strain are similar to that of the previous COVID-19 strains. They include sore throat, cough, fever, muscle pain, headache, fatigue, and runny nose. These symptoms last a few weeks, but for people with long symptoms, it lasts up to four weeks or longer. Loss of sense of taste and smell is not a common symptom of the BA.5 strain. 

Although Omicron BA.5 is very infectious and spreads fast, it is not likely to cause severe illnesses compared to the other COVID-19 strains. Regardless, people should take safety precautions to avoid contracting the virus, like getting vaccinated, wearing face masks, proper washing and sanitizing of hands, and, of course, social distancing. Also, people should have home COVID tests (antigen tests) to ensure they are not infected. Although antigen tests are not hundred percent reliable, they are still essential during this period.

If someone contracts the virus more than once, the risk for complications becomes higher, and there would be a higher risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney disorders, and other complications. It is highly advised that people take the COVID vaccines to prevent these complications. The vaccines would not prevent you from contracting the Omicron BA.5 variant, but they will protect you from illnesses that you may not be able to manage.

No one knows how many more COVID-19 strains will surface, so staying safe by following COVID-19 protocols and being updated on COVID-19 news is essential.

COVID- 19 virus

What You Didn’t Know About COVID-19; Myths and Facts

The COVID- 19 virus swept across the world, causing a global pandemic that led to the lockdown of different countries. The lockdown brought about a massive shift in the economic structure of nations. The virus also claimed a lot of lives and got some hospitalised. 

The virus’ sudden arrival led to questions like, “Where did it come from?” “How deadly is it?” And many more. Different theories were flying around, some being true and others false. In essence, the arrival of the virus led to many views.

Over the years, there have been misconceptions and myths about COVID-19, some very believable, which this article will address below.

  • Vitamin supplements

It is said that taking vitamin supplements can cure the virus, but that is not true. Taking supplements helps build your immune system, but there is no proof of it being a cure or even a treatment for COVID-19.

  • Alcohol consumption

Another misconception people often fall for is that consuming alcohol will help protect you from the virus, but that is false. No studies show that alcohol serves as a form of protection from the virus, but using alcohol-based sanitizers will indeed help.

  • Drinking bleach

Drinking bleach is in no way suitable for the body and does not serve as a protection against COVID-19. Doing this can lead to severe damage to the individual’s organs.

  • Garlic

Consumption of garlic does not serve as a protection against COVID-19. It affects bacteria, but COVID-19 is a virus, not a bacteria.

  • Saline rinsing

Rinsing the nostrils with saline solution will not prevent you from contracting the COVID-19 virus. Although it helps with a cold, it does not affect the virus.

  • COVID -19 only spreads in cold weather

The virus will still spread regardless of whether the weather is hot, cold, or warm. For example, other viruses like the flu virus spread quickly during cold weather, but that doesn’t stop them from spreading on hotter days.

  • Children cannot contract COVID-19

The virus is not limited to only adults or a particular set of people, as everyone can contract the virus. We must follow guidelines by wearing our face masks, washing our hands, and social distancing, so children would not contract the virus. 

Despite all these myths, there are also facts about the virus that should be noted for our safety. A few of them will be addressed below.

  • Loss of smell

Aside from the common symptoms of the virus, which are fever, breathing problems, and cough, loss of smell can also be a symptom. It is not a common symptom in all cases, but in some instances, the patients had a loss of smell (anosmia). It is advisable to get tested if you are experiencing this. Taking an antigen lateral flow test is also advisable. Try to locate centres around you. For clinics within Acton and its environs, search ‘antigen lateral flow test Acton,’ or click here to book an appointment with us.

  • The virus has different variants

The virus causing COVID-19 has different variants; there is the alpha variant, beta variant, delta variant, and the omicron variant. Like every other virus, SARS-CoV-2 (the virus causing COVID-19) also changes into different forms. Scientists may soon discover other variants as the virus changes fast.

  • You can have the COVID-19 virus without having symptoms

There are several cases where someone has the virus but does not know because they do not experience any COVID-19 symptoms. These people are called asymptomatic. The fact that these people do not display symptoms does not stop them from transmitting it to others, so following COVID-19 safety guidelines is essential and getting your fit-to-fly certificates. 

  • A person can get infected twice

The fact that one has been infected by the virus once does not grant the person immunity for life, mainly because there are different variants. 

People need to follow COVID-19 guidelines, and also very important to avoid getting misinformed about the virus; thus, doing some research before taking any action is advisable.

antigen test

COVID-19 and Nutrition: How Diet Affects Spread of COVID-19

COVID-19 is currently one of the leading medical challenges worldwide. The COVID-19 pandemic hit the world hard, affecting every aspect of daily living. Since the emergence of COVID-19 in 2020, the virus has been known to have several effects on the human body. Even after the pandemic elapsed and governments worldwide lifted their lockdown restrictions, the virus has still left aftereffects in its wake.

One of the ways the virus has been known to affect humankind is through nutrition and dieting in people. This article aims to understand nutritional research as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For about two years, the virus has had significant mortality, morbidity, and financial and social connotations for the world. Despite having all this knowledge, very little is to be known about how the COVID-19 infection affects lives regarding the changes in one’s nutritional behavior. However, nutritional intervention may also affect COVID-19 spread and mortality rate.

Nutrition is a social determinant of health. For healthcare professionals to effectively counsel and advise their clients on nutritional intervention options as part of their treatment, they must be aware of the various factors contributing to diet-related disparities.

It is also essential to be aware of the allergic reactions a patient would have to certain foods and even food sensitivity.

This is where a dietary antigen test comes in.

The P88 dietary antigen test is a single test IgE, IgG, IgG4, and complement (C3d) reactions to 88 of most of the common foods in a diet. It is a highly comprehensive test of immune responses.

This dietary antigen test helps you find and address food allergies and food sensitivities in patients with chronic illnesses (e.g., COVID-19).

Identifying and eliminating food sensitivities can go a long way in a patient’s wellness. It is a test that can lead to a more precise treatment plan and better patient outcomes.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, dietary patterns shifted in many individuals and not entirely for the better; this was probably due to altered health behaviors and the mental and physical toll the lockdown had on so many people.

Amidst all this, it is still vital for a patient to have a proper diet with good nutritional value to avoid or withstand infections and diseases like COVID-19.

As stated earlier, nutrient intake and disease occurrence usually influence individuals’ nutritional status.

Inadequate diet and infectious diseases could lead to malnutrition which would only weaken one’s chances of returning to good health. There is currently no proof that any supplement can boost our immune system or prevent viral infections, which is why it is of great importance to have a balanced diet that would keep the body in its most vital state possible. It also ensures a strong immune system that can help withstand any assault from the virus.

To ensure wellness and boost the immune system, here are ten foods that will boost the immune system and leave it in fighting condition.

  • Broccoli
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Papaya
  • Citrus fruits
  • Turmeric
  • Shellfish
  • Almonds
  • Red bell peppers

It is worthy of note that these foods will only give your immune system the much-needed boost to fight off any form of disease or infection and thereby keep you from contracting COVID-19. There are still no supplements (save for the vaccine) that can protect one against the COVID-19 virus.

According to researchers, there is no means of virus contraction through food or food packaging. Nevertheless, it is advisable to follow good food practices, some of which are included below: 

  • Store raw and cooked foods separately to stop harmful microbes from spreading into cooked foods.
  • Do not display unwrapped foods at the counter.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables before consumption.
  • Use separate utensils for cutting raw and cooked foods.

For ideal health, drinking water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages is essential. Limiting or, better still, avoiding the intake of alcohol is also recommended.

It is essential to have proper nutritional value and a balanced diet in one’s food. It is beneficial to the complete well-being and health of an individual.

COVID-19 and asthma

Impact of COVID-19 on People Living With Asthma

COVID-19 affects people in different ways. There are those that after contracting the virus, will experience the symptoms and recover within one to two weeks. Others may experience more severe symptoms and for a more extended period. Usually, people at greater risk of suffering more severe COVID-19 outcomes are:

  • older adults, especially 60 years and above
  • people who are immunocompromised
  • people who are obese (with a high body mass index)
  • People with chronic medical issues, including high blood pressure, dementia, diabetes, stroke, liver disease, kidney disease, heart disease, and lung disease. 

This article will address how COVID-19 affects people living with asthma.

COVID-19 is a disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It is primarily a respiratory disease, which means it affects the lungs, nose, and throat. This virus has provoked one of the biggest health crises globally. It can trigger a variety of breathing issues in the victim. 

Asthma is a chronic ongoing medical condition that also affects the lungs. If an asthmatic contracts the COVID-19 virus, it is very likely that the symptoms will be worse than other people’s, especially all the symptoms that affect the respiratory system. That is why asthma patients are always encouraged to get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.

COVID-19 has several symptoms. The most common ones include fatigue, body aches, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, sore throat, dry coughs, diarrhoes, loss of taste and smell, headache, nausea, and runny nose, amongst others. The most common asthma symptoms are coughing, tightening of the chest, shortness of breath, and wheezing.

COVID-19 and asthma have a few similar symptoms. It might be challenging to identify the problem if the primary symptom that is experienced is shared between the two diseases- for instance, shortness of breath. That is why one should learn to identify and understand other symptoms of these diseases.

COVID-19 can worsen or induce asthma symptoms and cause pneumonia in people with severe asthma. Currently, there are varied opinions as to whether asthma, in particular, can cause some people to contract the COVID-19 virus faster than others. The CDC seems to think that severe asthmatics are at higher risk of getting infected by COVID-19. This is possible because this virus affects the lower and upper respiratory tracts, plus the throat, lungs, and nose.

What does one do when they have COVID-19 and asthma symptoms? First things first, a doctor is needed for advice. Once more severe symptoms—like chest pain, blue face or lips, difficulty in speaking, sudden confusion, and in all these, your asthma drugs do not help. Once symptoms like these are noticed, it is time to contact a doctor immediately.

There is no cure for COVID-19, and neither is there a cure for asthma. But there are ways to prevent them. For COVID-19, asthmatics should make sure they get vaccinated as soon as vaccines become available to them. Also, it is safe to get tested when symptoms similar to those of COVID-19 are noticed. There is the option of going to a hospital or a COVID-19 test centre to get tested, or you could get it done by using a home test kit. It could be a PCR or antigen home test kit

Another way asthmatics stay safe is to always take their asthma medicine as prescribed. It is best to stay home as often as possible to avoid crowds and close contact with people. Reduced connection with many people helps to reduce the chances of contracting the virus. Another vital thing is that asthmatics must always have an inhaler with them—and a spare, if possible—and they should know how to use it well. Those that have nebulizers should do well to clean them often. Asthma triggers—like allergens, air pollution, and smoke—should be avoided as much as possible.

COVID-19 and asthma have similar persisting symptoms, so these measures must be taken to ensure the necessary healthcare access for asthmatics, including clinical investigation and evaluation.

Long COVID effect

Long COVID: What You Need To Know

Since the emergence of the COVID-19 virus, there has been a rapid spread, even after the pandemic period elapsed and countries eased off their lockdowns. Research has shown that people with the virus usually recover after some days or one or two weeks. In more severe cases, recovery can take about six weeks or longer. 

But, in some unusual cases, COVID-19 can cause symptoms that last longer than usual—for weeks or months—after recovery. This case is known as ‘Long COVID.’ It is also referred to as post-acute COVID, long-haul COVID, long-tail COVID, and post-COVID. This article will address symptoms, probable causes, and ways to manage and recover from long COVID. 

Contrary to what most people think, the long COVID effect can happen to anyone recovering from the virus, not depending on the severity of their illness. The same is the case for people without chronic medical conditions. 

Based on data from the United Kingdom’s Office for National Statistics, one out of ten people tested for COVID-19 experience symptoms for about 12 weeks or longer, which led to the probability that there may be 5 million long COVID cases—or more— across the world. 

Some studies have found more probable occurrences of long COVID in females, older adults, people who were not vaccinated for COVID-19, and people with a high BMI (body mass index).

Long COVID has its symptoms, most of which linger after recovery from the COVID-19 virus. The most common symptoms include chest pain, joint pain, cough, shortness of breath, and fatigue. Some people may also experience muscle pain, fluctuating fever, headache, heart palpitations, depression, and memory problems (also known as brain fog). Some other long COVID effects are rare long-term complications. These complications include hair loss, insomnia, lung problems, severe kidney injuries, rashes, mood swings, anxiety, concentration problems, and loss of smell and taste. 

The long COVID effect will not occur the same way. Some patients get less severe symptoms that ease off over time. However, some have long-lasting, severe symptoms that can sometimes lead to disability.

There are uncertainties about what causes long COVID. Still, based on research, some possible causes include reinfection of the COVID-19 virus, post-traumatic stress, a lack of response from the immune system, and deconditioning, among others. 

Long COVID does not have a specific test for diagnosis, and there may be other symptoms that do not stem from long COVID but from other medical conditions. The doctor diagnoses long COVID based on the infected person’s entire medical history and all COVID-19 symptoms, from the time of the infection to the current state. 

Some blood tests may be done to check electrolytes, liver function, kidney function, full blood count, iron levels, heart health, inflammation levels, troponin, muscle damage, and D-dimer- to ensure there are no blood clots. Some other possible tests include an antigen test, a urine test, a chest X-ray, and an electrocardiogram. Sometimes, some of these symptoms are difficult to manage or understand, but there is still ongoing research to understand them fully. 

However, there are ways that long COVID patients can manage the situation. Some of these include home remedies like resting, using over-the-counter pain relievers, healthy dieting, sleeping, no smoking, limiting the intake of caffeine and alcohol, and other general healthcare methods. But, because the long COVID symptoms vary in people, the remedies will be more individualized. Some people will have to take more extreme measures than others, with the direction of a doctor, most importantly.

It is currently unclear how long it takes for a long COVID patient to recover. However, it is necessary to seek medical help once the patient starts to experience any of these symptoms: worsened breathlessness, extreme weakness, chest pain, noticeable changes in speech, sight, or hearing, or a state of confusion. 

Living with long COVID can be difficult, mainly because there is no immediate cure. People living with long COVID need to keep in touch with a doctor for advice. They could also seek support groups because it is much easier to go through medical conditions like this with people in similar situations. 


COVID-19 and Sickle Cell Disease

Sickle cell is an inherited disease that is caused by the abnormal shape of the red blood cell. The typical form of a red blood cell is round, but someone with sickle cell disease has a red blood cell with the shape of a farm tool called the sickle which makes the carriage of oxygen around the body strenuous and deficient.

The shape of these cells prevents them from flowing correctly through small blood vessels, which causes a blockage that prevents blood flow, leading to pain and severe health-related issues like stroke, various infections, and acute chest syndrome. Aside from the shape difference, a normal red blood cell is flexible, but sickle cells are rigid and sticky. 

The COVID 19 pandemic, as we all know, swept across the world in 2020, which led to people being hospitalized and also claimed some people’s lives. Countries worldwide had to declare a total lockdown, and things were at a standstill. Living through this pandemic was an unpleasant experience for most people. However, living through such conditions with a chronic health condition such as sickle cell is a whole different ball game. It becomes a great challenge to adjust to the lifestyle changes that came with the COVID-19 pandemic.

A lot of guidelines and steps were given to help curb the spread of this virus, such as wearing facemasks, constant social distancing, proper washing of hands, using alcohol-based hand sanitizers, self-isolation if sick, and so on.

At this time, everyone has to be very cautious not to contract the virus, but sickle cell patients need to be extra careful. Sickle cell disease is so severe that it affects every body organ. With the COVID-19 outbreak, sickle cell patients are expected to be prioritized because they are at greater risk than those without chronic diseases. Specific extra measures should be taken by sickle cell patients and their parents/ guardians and caretakers during this period to avoid the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Sickle cell patients should stay indoors as much as possible and isolate themselves to avoid any risk of getting the virus. Any medications they need should be bought in bulk so they don’t run out of them and must go out. They should not be in crowded places during this period and strictly follow the social distance rule. Long trips should be avoided as much as possible so as not to put the patient at risk. If these sickle cell patients show any symptoms— such as fever, cough, vomiting, muscle and joint pain, sore throat, etc., they should immediately contact health care personnel and follow their instructions.

The family members of a sickle cell patient also need to take procedures so as not to risk the virus’s spread and to secure the person’s safety. They should be careful not to bring the virus home by social distancing while outside and ensuring proper sanitization.

Families should make sure they maintain personal hygiene for a germ-free environment. Clothes, bathrooms, and toilets should be clean and properly disinfected. If a family member feels sick, they should stay far away from the sickle cell patient and get help before it spreads. This is why COVID-19 testing is necessary. Antibody tests are also recommended for those that may have contracted the virus previously.

You can only do so much to avert it, but when a sickle cell patient contracts the virus, not much can be done but to contact the necessary health agencies. It is also very advisable that sickle cell patients get vaccinated. Even though it is not a complete shield from the virus because it is still developing into different variants, it is a step in the right direction. It helps reduce the chances of contracting the virus. 

Those with sickle cell disease must take these crucial preventive measures so they do not contract the COVID 19 virus. Sickle cell warriors are vulnerable to different diseases, whether critical or not. Thus, they need all assistance and attention they can get for their safety.

Alcohol consumption

COVID-19 and Alcohol: Effects of Alcohol Consumption During COVID-19

The outbreak of the COVID-19 virus was declared a pandemic, and people were asked to stay at home in an attempt to hinder the virus from spreading. This forced lockdown took a toll on people worldwide, and most sought ways to handle the psychological stress that came with it. Some went about it the healthy way, turning to exercise, picking up new hobbies, self-care, and other relaxation strategies. Some others, however, took to drinking, smoking, overeating, oversleeping, and other habits that generally would be avoided. 

While scientists and medical experts worldwide worked to find a cure or vaccine, several myths about possible homemade remedies or treatments for COVID-19 surfaced online. Some false medicines include vitamin C, Vitamin D, Zinc, the keto diet, bleach or disinfectants, and alcohol.

For this article, we’d be addressing alcohol intake during the COVID-19 pandemic.

When it comes to the intake of drinking alcohol, no matter the type, it is essential to note that it has effects on almost every body organ, either short-term or long-term. There is also evidence that suggests that there is no safe limit when it comes to the consumption of alcohol. Even when taken in small quantities, alcohol is known to cause certain types of cancer. It also alters one’s behaviour, thoughts, judgement, and ability to make sound decisions.

Alcohol is known to debilitate the immune system, especially with heavy use, reducing one’s ability to cope with infectious diseases. It can also increase the risk of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), and this is one of the most severe complications of COVID-19.

During the height of the pandemic, there were myths that alcohol could serve as protection against the COVID-19 pandemic. One of such myths was that consuming alcohol destroys the virus that causes COVID-19. This statement is false because alcohol cannot kill the virus, and drinking it is likely to put a person at greater risk if infected. Alcohol, at certain concentration levels, works as a disinfectant on the skin but does not do any good to the body.

Another popular myth was that drinking strong alcohol kills the virus in the inhaled air. This statement is false because alcohol cannot kill the virus in the inhaled air, nor can it disinfect one’s mouth and throat. It does not give any protection against COVID-19. 

Unfortunately, some still believe such myths and see no need to get the COVID-19 vaccine or get tested when they see symptoms of the virus, be it the same-day COVID test or tests carried out with the home test kit. 

With the relaxation of the restrictions put in place, alcohol consumption is to be avoided as it can lead to violations of quarantine and social distancing rules. Alcohol can serve as a social cue, bringing people together in bars, restaurants, and other places, increasing the virus’s transmission risk. It can also encourage smoking, and this is dangerous as smoking also increases health risks, making it hard for one to fight the virus that causes COVID-19.

Alcohol consumption can also lead to an increase in domestic violence. Alcohol is linked with violence, and with more people at home, it could increase the frequency of this violence.

Furthermore, there is evidence to suggest an increase in alcohol consumption in women during the pandemic. This can lead to a rise in Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) rates in the future. This disorder is characterised by neuro-developmental deficiencies, learning disabilities, and behavioural problems.

While alcohol consumption is a way to relax for some people, there being no benefit to alcohol consumption, coupled with the negative effect it has on behaviour, it is advised that people refrain from consuming alcohol.

People are advised to increase physical activity, strengthening the immune system and overall well-being. It is also recommended that people seek trusted sources of information, and double-check the information they receive, so as not to fall victim to circulated myths and rumours.