Categories
COVID-19 testing

COVID-19 and its Effects on Pregnant and Postpartum Women

The effects of the COVID-19 virus on the world cannot be overemphasised, but for some groups of people, it hits different. Pregnancy is a life-changing event with symptoms and illnesses that sometimes differ in women, but each illness is as uncomfortable as the next. Postpartum mothers are not left out of it because some mothers tend to suffer from baby blues and even postpartum depression. Imagine then all these combined with the COVID-19 virus. It is a whole lot to handle. That’s why pregnant women are always advised to get tested for COVID-19 testing and get the vaccines as soon as possible.

COVID-19 testing tend to be crowded, especially in populated areas. Pregnant women need to be cared for and attended to with respect. Some pregnant women may have reservations about the COVID-19 tests and vaccination, so health workers should be able to assure them that both are safe and highly recommended.

A pregnant woman is equally prone to contracting the COVID-19 virus as another person. Still, when they do, it is a more severe case than a non-pregnant woman getting the virus because pregnant women are more likely to have severe illnesses. They might even have to be taken to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in some cases. It’s usually riskier for older women, women with pre-existing conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes, and overweight women. There’s also the issue of pregnancy complications because of the virus, but on the bright side, it is only in sporadic cases that the virus can infect the foetus. Although, for safety purposes, after birth, the baby should be tested, isolated from other babies, and cared for specially. In truth, these complications can be avoided, if pregnant women get vaccinated. There are questions about whether a pregnant woman with the COVID-19 virus has to give birth by caesarean section, and the answer is no. Caesarean section is only recommended when necessary, and the pregnant woman has the right to choose her preferred mode of birth.

Suppose a symptomatic mother contracts the virus during her postpartum period. In that case, she can still breastfeed her baby, but with all the necessary precautionary steps taken, like washing of hands before and after carrying the baby, wearing a facemask, and disinfecting near surfaces. The baby should be held skin-to-skin while being fed. Alternatively, if the mother cannot handle breastfeeding at that time, the baby should be fed expressed breast milk by a trusted, healthy caregiver until the mother fully recovers. In this case, she has to wash her hands thoroughly and put on a facemask before pumping. It is not yet certain that the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted to the baby through breast milk, but it is unlikely. 

The World Health Organisation (WHO), in a study, discovered that breast milk samples from 3 mothers involved contained the COVID-19 virus, while 43 samples tested negative. Also, it is highly recommended that breastfeeding mothers be vaccinated rather than wait till after breastfeeding. The vaccine can induce COVID-19 antibodies in the mother which could seep into the breast milk and serve as a protective agent for the baby.

In conclusion, COVID-19 has its effects on pregnant and postpartum women, and that is why it is best for them to get tested and vaccinated as soon as possible to avoid further complications.

Pregnant women should have frequent visits to their obstetrician-gynaecologists (ob-gyn) to help with decisions concerning the COVID-19 testing and vaccination and other pregnancy-related issues. They should also be able to do their research and ask questions every step of the way. Pregnant and postpartum women deserve all the care and help they can get, and it is only fitting to take care of them more in cases where they are affected by the COVID-19 virus during these delicate periods.

Categories
COVID-19 testing

Effects of covid-19 on the respiratory system

The respiratory system is one of the sensitive areas in the body. It is the organs and tissues that function together to aid breathing. These organs include the airways, blood vessels, and the lung. The airways are in two different divisions, the upper and lower airways. The upper airways are the Nose, mouth, and throat, while the other consist of the trachea, bronchi, bronchioles, and alveoli. The muscles that aid the lungs are also part of the respiratory system.

These organs and tissues are relevant parts of the body. They enable us to;

Perceive and talk.

Warm the air to our body temperature and moisturise it to the appropriate humidity level.

Deliver oxygen to the body cells.

Relieve the body of waste gases, including carbon dioxide, by exhaling.

Help protect the airways from toxic and hazardous chemicals.

Effects on the respiratory system

Covid-19 is a transmissible infection that spreads from one person to another through particles from the upper respiratory system. These particles are discharged when an infected person coughs, talks, or sneezes. If the infected particles stay in the upper airways, it causes symptoms like dry cough and sneezing. But when it goes further into the lower airways, the lungs precisely, it causes severe symptoms such as the seizure of breath and low oxygen levels.

People with existing respiratory issues are at higher risk of getting infected by the virus. Issues like diabetes, lung infections that are chronic, cancer, kidney disease, and obesity.

The impact on the respiratory system and the human body generally is not favourable. Therefore, tests are necessary for the detection of the virus. The PCR test London is a perfect way to start your testing journey.

Covid-19 may lead to lung diseases such as Pneumonia and, in some severe instances, ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome). Another covid-19 issue is sepsis which can cause long-term damage to the lungs and other organs. More airway disorders, such as bronchitis, may be caused by the virus, which may require immediate hospitalisation.

Pneumonia

In pneumonia, the lungs become swollen and filled with fluid, causing breathing problems. Breathing issues in certain patients might become serious if they require hospital care with oxygen or possibly a machine.

Pneumonia caused by the virus usually affects both lungs. Shortness of breath, cough and other symptoms result when air sacs in the lungs are filled with fluid, reducing their capacity to take in oxygen.

While most individuals recover from pneumonia without any long-term effects, pneumonia caused by the virus can be severe. Even when the sickness is gone, lung injuries can cause breathing problems that take months to recover.

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)

If covid-19 pneumonia advances, more air sacs may get clogged with fluid spilling from the blood veins in the lungs. The difficulty in breathing that develops can lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a type of lung failure. Patients with ARDS are frequently unable to breathe without aid and require ventilator assistance to help them.

ARDS is deadly whether it happens at home or in the hospital. People who recover from ARDS and covid-19 may have long-term lung injuries.

Sepsis

Sepsis is another effect of a severe case of covid-19. It occurs when an infection enters the bloodstream and spreads throughout the body, causing tissue damage.

The heart, lungs, and other internal systems function together. This collaboration between the organs breaks in sepsis and the lungs, heart, and other organs begin to shut down. Even if a patient survives sepsis, the organs in the body might be permanently damaged.

These lung diseases are some of the drastic effects of covid-19. Majorly, difficult breathing is one of the most significant effects of the virus on the system. And we are advised to do the PCR test and take the vaccine shots, especially for those at higher risk of getting infected. The vaccination will help boost the immune system, while the test will aid the detection of the virus for proper treatment.

Categories
COVID-19 testing

Covid-19 Pandemic and People with Disabilities

There have been different discussions about the effects of Covid-19 testing on various groups, from gender and care, to racial, age, and health inequalities. Still, they fail to mention the difficulties of disabled people. A person can be referred to as disabled when they have a condition, impairment, or illness that is longstanding and affects their ability to do regular activities. There are physically disabled children and children with special needs in learning, even disabled parents that cannot do much for their children, and many more. 

According to statistics from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), over 11 million people living in the UK are disabled, and this is about 20% of the UK population. As the COVID-19 pandemic struck, there were concerns for disabled people because of their possible vulnerability to the Coronavirus. According to the ONS, 45% of people aged 65 and above are disabled, and, typically, it is general knowledge that older people are more likely to be affected by the virus. So, it has always been a thing of concern that the health conditions of disabled people will put them at risk from the virus.

Also, apart from the feeling that disabled people were more likely to be affected by the virus, there was the issue of their living conditions. For example, many disabled people live in public homes either because they cannot afford to live on their own or because they’re too old, which increases the risk of Coronavirus transmission. It is almost impossible for infected people in such public homes to self-isolate because most of them need special care and attention. Some of them might even be asymptomatic, and it makes the spread of the virus easy. Those who depend on care from social workers are at more risk because these workers visit multiple public homes, and it is easier for the virus to be transmitted through them. 

It was alarming to see that people—both disabled and non-disabled— barely had access to most of the little things like medication, groceries, and other essentials during the pandemic. This was a significant inconvenience to many people, especially disabled people. Another thing the pandemic harmed that is not addressed enough is mental health. More disabled people than the non-disabled have reported that the COVID-19 pandemic messed with their mental health. It made them feel anxious and stressed out, lonely, and like a burden to others, the latter being a major occurrence among them.

Despite the subtle neglect of disabled people in most places, Leicester has put in some effort for them to be catered for within the city. The city opened COVID-19 vaccination centres for people with learning disabilities from age 16 upwards. They understand that the Coronavirus will only slow down learning further for these people, and they came up with this beneficial initiative.

Although this is a good step, there’s more that could be done for them. For instance, there could also be the provision of private blood test centres for disabled people. A lot of people contract the Coronavirus and do not know it because it has similar symptoms to some other illnesses, while some others are just asymptomatic carriers, and that is why they need to be tested. There are various community-based testing centres within cities in the UK, but there could be private blood test centres in Leicester, specifically for disabled people. The reason is that testing centres are likely to be overcrowded, and it is pretty risky for a disabled person to be caught up in such. Another approach is to make home test kits available for some of them that have people that could administer it to them to make it easier for them.

There is still more to be done in the city of Leicester, in the UK, and other countries of the world for disabled people in this period of the COVID-19 virus, and it is one step at a time.

Categories
COVID-19 testing

Pre and post covid-19 experiences

We all had a life before the covid-19 outbreak. Everywhere bustled and rustled till the virus came and took it away from us without mercy. Before the lockdown, we enjoyed family gatherings, unions, celebrations, work, academic, and social life. At the instance of the virus, all of these abruptly changed at the snap of a finger. Everything is beginning to come back to normal now, but we cannot be too sure of total normality because a cure is yet to be found. Nevertheless, it is advisable to continue with the covid-19 safety measures, get the vaccine shots, and equally get tested using the PCR test for covid-19 or other covid-19 tests.

The sudden outbreak of the virus and total lockdown undoubtedly affected us. However, it had some positive outcomes on family life, work-life, and children who lacked proper care and attention from their parents. Couples bonded with their children and vice versa, work stress was reduced due to a lack of physical meetings, and children spent quality time with their parents. Despite the positive outcome, the devastating nature of the outbreak engulfed all. The experiences before and during the pandemic, from the economy, to the healthcare systems, will be discussed. Noting the economic meltdown and the swift change in the healthcare system of the United Kingdom.

The Economy

Before the outbreak, the UK economy was unstable due to the impact of Brexit. It did not stop the country’s thriving in exporting goods and services as it produced significant value. The economy showed a notable increase in manufacturing operations, including food, beverage, machinery and equipment, and chemicals. However, like other countries, the UK faced a challenge of recession concerning the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic, especially during the lockdown. The economy became worse than unstable. It affected the whole production capability coupled with a slowdown in global demand and concerns regarding the availability of raw materials. As a result, machinery and equipment manufacturers temporarily halted their production operations in the country. For example, in March 2020, the Joseph Cyril Bamford Excavators Limited (JCB) suspended manufacturing at all of its UK factories due to the fall in demand for construction equipment. The JCB company’s global demand for products declined as customers cancelled orders and suspended deliveries. Furthermore, since the relaxation of the lockdown and the introduction of testing, vaccination, and other safety measures, companies are opening up, and the country’s economy is gradually returning to stability.

The Healthcare Systems

Healthcare facilities have specific number capacities of which healthcare systems can accept mostly for hospitals. Before the outbreak, patients were given proper attention and care in their various wards. With the sudden breakout of the virus, healthcare systems were caught unprepared. This caused a large influx in hospitals resulting in a shift of attention from the non-covid patients and the emergency ward to the covid-19 patients. The response strategy of an extensive human resource activation and the upskilling program was launched, together with the invention of intensive care units. These minimised the overpopulation of hospitals. The experiences of non-covid-19 patients during this period of the initial outbreak worsened due to lack of proper care. In the long run attention and care were given evenly to all, both covid and non-covid patients. Cities like London and Wales recorded significant death rates due to their population density. Residents in these cities should always take their vaccine shots and go for tests to curtail the spread and minimise death.

With the lessons learnt from these experiences, various emergency measures should be in place in case of another pandemic or outbreak. Social distancing, quarantine, travel restrictions, lockdown, and other physical safety guidelines, certainly saved us from a big doom and limited the spread and rapid death in the country. Although testing and vaccination came into play late, they also helped curb the spread of the virus. The PCR test London, the swab test, and other covid-19 tests are still available for proper detection of the virus and continuous treatment.

Categories
COVID-19 testing

COVID-19 Testing Inequalities

The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic was a rude shock that the world is yet to get over. The impact of this pandemic on the UK has been immense. Efforts have been made to make vaccines and opportunities for cheap Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests available in the UK, as well as in other countries of the world, through testing within communities and testing before and after travel. There is no doubt that this has assisted in reducing the spread of the virus. But, despite all efforts, there are apparent differences in the availability of testing in specific communities in the UK. It is not so surprising that the groups affected the most by the pandemic have the least access to the COVID-19 testing. While private businesses and schools introduced testing for their employees and students, small businesses and public schools have no choice but to depend on the state

.
Despite being talked about for so long, health care and health inequalities have continued and, in certain instances, worsened over time. In the UK, the Coronavirus pandemic increased the already high death toll, causing further difficulties for those already experiencing health inequalities. Northern England suffered the most during the Coronavirus pandemic as they had the most increased death and infection rates within the UK.


Health inequalities, especially those related to the COVID-19 testing, all have underlying factors that cause them. These factors include education, employment, socioeconomic status, social support systems, physical environment, race, and access to good healthcare. So, it is clear that social factors that determine health are the main health drivers. For example, a child born into a family with little or no education will probably live in a neighbourhood that is not so healthy.


For immigrants in the country, as important as healthcare is, they are more concerned about getting deported and the stigma that comes with it. Limited English Language Proficiency (LEP) can be a challenge because it can disrupt communication about the transmission of the virus. Also, they can be more vulnerable to exposure as a good number of them are essential workers. They should have access to the cheap PCR tests and possibly have their home test kits.


There are uninsured people in the UK, both elderly and non-elderly. Most of them have low-income jobs. They should be granted COVID-19 home visit tests, especially the elderly ones among them. People of colour among them seem to have more difficulty getting tested than white people. The impact of the pandemic on black people and other people of colour in London reflects the racial inequality in health.


The population of homeless people is just a clear display of health inequality in the UK. These are some of the people supposed to be of priority but are neglected. With no access to cheap PCR tests, the infection rate within this group keeps increasing.


It is pretty interesting to see that many of these groups that have been affected the most by the pandemic have not only little or no access to COVID-19 testing, but also they are hesitant to go for tests or even receive vaccines when they are finally made available to them. This hesitance is due to bad experiences people from these groups might have had and continue to have, so they are wary of medical professionals.


The impact of the Coronavirus in the UK and the measures that have been put in place to reduce the spread have and will continue to have an effect on these groups on different levels.


The governments in the UK have the opportunity to take deliberate and precise action to reduce or curb the impact of the pandemic on these socially disadvantaged groups that are susceptible to the COVID-19 virus. The governments should make testing available across all states in the country. People of these socially disadvantaged groups should also be more included in decisions to improve trust in the medical system. If all these measures are taken, it will be a significant step towards socio economic recovery.