COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions
What Does COVID-19 Do to the Lungs?
In the flow of materials on COVID-19 pneumonia, they increasingly began telling about its long-term consequences. What happens to the lungs afterward? Some messages sound really creepy. For example, a report of decreased lung function and scarring in recovered patients. There were even predictions that because of this, after the COVID-19 pandemic, we would face new problems. There will be a lot of patients with respiratory failure. Moreover, some will even need lung transplants.
It was first mentioned in the early 21st century after outbreaks of SARS and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). These diseases are also caused by COVID-19, but lung damage with them is more pronounced, and mortality is higher.
Fibrosis of the lungs (pneumosclerosis) can indeed be a very serious condition. Due to the connective tissue in the alveoli, gas exchange is disturbed - less oxygen passes into the blood, and carbon dioxide is removed from the blood slowly. This condition is called respiratory failure. But this happens when large parts of the lungs are affected. The most common cause of this condition is smoking. Experienced smokers must have pneumosclerosis. And for many, this is what leads to death. The body does not have enough oxygen, and an individual dies due to chronic hypoxia. But fibrosis along with smoking does not cause such fears as the same condition that occurs after COVID-19. How can we understand whether these fears are justified or not, and what is the situation in reality?
After suffering from COVID-19 pneumonia, pneumosclerosis may form. Though, in most cases, this will not affect health. Such lung changes after a serious illness are not unusual. They occur not only with COVID-19 but also after any viral pneumonia. For example, after the flu. In this case, the affected areas of the lung tissue can be turned off, and gas exchange in them decreases, but this does not seriously affect breathing. The compensatory capabilities of our lungs are great, and this will not lead to a decrease in oxygen absorption.
To mitigate the effects of such lung damage, it is good to do breathing exercises. Either classical breathing exercises or Indian pranayama will help. Thanks to such exercises, ventilation in all parts of the lungs is improved. You can use respiratory exercises that create resistance and oscillation (vibration) as you exhale. Thanks to this, they restore the areas that are turned off from breathing, improve blood supply in them and facilitate the separation of sputum.
Why COVID-19 Tests Can Give False Results?
No testing method can give a 100% accurate result. There is always a small chance of making an error even in tests for COVID-19, which is today’s issue. In the case of the COVID-19 COVID-19, we have new diagnostic systems developed in 2020. Of course, they are not yet perfect. Moreover, the result can be both false positive and false negative. To diagnose any infectious pathology, we need to identify the pathogen. It can be identified in two ways. The first is when we are looking for the causative agent of the infectious disease itself. PCR tests [polydimensional chain reaction] tests are used for that.
PCR is very sensitive to conditions: the result can be influenced by how the sample is taken, how it is transported, where it is stored, and which test system is used. Therefore, competent doctors always look at a set of indicators.
- complaints are taken into account
- clinical manifestations of the disease
- indicators of laboratory and instrumental research methods, including PCR
The longer the incubation period lasts, the earlier antibodies can be seen.
The second type of diagnosis is serological analysis, the method that includes, in particular, rapid tests for COVID-19. In this case, the reaction of the body to the pathogen is examined. To preserve itself, the body must fight an infection — viral, bacterial, fungal, or some other.
Why Can There Be Failures in Results?
Let's say we are talking about an individual who has HIV infection and that individual is on antiretroviral therapy. Then the PCR [for HIV] will be negative due to the absence of the virus in the blood, and the serological test will be positive due to the body's reaction to the virus. Another nuance is the presence of the so-called cross-sensitivity. In this case, a positive result may indicate that this is not necessarily the disease that was initially suspected. For example, we get a weakly positive result for Wasserman reaction [serological test for syphilis], then we start to figure it out, and the woman who passed this test is actually pregnant. Or she has rheumatoid arthritis, etc.
A rapid test for COVID-19 is positive, which means that the body is already fighting the virus. Such a reaction is the main weapon for protecting the body from viruses. Rapid tests can demonstrate a false negative result even if the individual has a weakened immune system and has severe concomitant diseases. For example, HIV, oncology, and other diagnoses.
In such cases, due to a weakened immune system, the body does not immediately begin to fight the virus. Therefore, antibodies also appear later. If you do a quick test too early, it simply will not show anything.
6 Signs That You Have Already Had COVID-19
Doctors from the University of Oxford in the UK concluded that an individual with a mild form of COVID-19 infection could have 6 characteristic symptoms of the disease, which most people do not pay attention to. These signs will help you understand that you may need to be at home for a while and not endanger other people.
This is the name of the temporary loss of smell, which is caused by damage to nerve endings in the peripheral nervous system and in the central nervous system. Many people do not pay attention to this symptom, confusing it with nasal congestion.
Gastric Disturbance and Abdominal Pain
Another important symptom that speaks of a mild form of COVID-19 is a digestive system disorder, which can manifest itself in the following forms.
- pain and cramps in the abdomen
As a result, COVID-19 can affect the digestive system, causing intoxication of the body.
Doctors drew attention to the fact that infected people experience fatigue and a feeling of apathy during the day due to the intoxication process taking place in the body infected with COVID-19. Such fatigue is felt even after a long rest and does not go away after a night's sleep.
Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)
The fact that an individual may have a latent form of COVID-19 is indicated by an unreasonable inflammation of the mucous membrane of the eyes and the presence of symptoms such as.
- burning sensation
- redness of the eyes
- accumulation of pus in the corners of the eyes
- itching in the eye area
Often people do not pay attention to such signs, believing it is the result of a cold or prolonged sitting at the computer.
Rash on fingers or toes is a common symptom in those who have mild COVID-19 disease. This symptom is usually seen in children.
COVID-19 can infect not only the lungs but also the brain. In a number of patients with a mild form of COVID-19, doctors observed stroke symptoms.
- loss of consciousness
- slight numbness of facial muscles
Important! If you have at least 2 of the listed symptoms, you should go to a clinic and get tested for COVID-19.
How to Prevent Getting COVID-19 while Exercising at Gyms?
The Fitness center's closure during the first wave of COVID-19 has become a real challenge for all lovers of an active lifestyle. Gyms are now working, but how to avoid getting the coronavirus while exercising?
- Disinfect sports equipment yourself, even if the fitness center strictly adheres to COVID-19 prophylaxis measures. Also, wipe your hands periodically.
- Practice social distancing and avoid shaking hands. Fitness centers have colored markings to maintain a social distance, but they are not always easy to follow when doing sports. If you are training with a coach, agree on social distancing with them. Avoid shaking hands and hugging.
- Do not wear a mask while exercising. The gym is the only place where people gather where wearing a mask is optional and even contraindicated. The World Health Organization recommends against wearing a mask while exercising to reduce your ability to breathe comfortably.
- The risk of infection in fitness centers depends on compliance with safety measures. In September 2020, the International Association of Sports and Tennis Clubs analyzed COVID-19 cases among U.S. gym-goers. It revealed that out of 49.3 million visits in three months, only 1155 employees and customers were infected. This is approximately one case for every 42,7 thousand visits. Another study from Norway found that out of nearly 1896 people who attended fitness clubs within six weeks, no one became infected. An important nuance- security measures were strictly observed in all these gyms. This is required from both staff and customers.
- Choose time slots for training when the workload of fitness centers is minimal. The logic is simple: the fewer people around, the lower the risk of infection and the easier it is to maintain social distancing. Therefore, it is better to exercise in the morning or the evening before the very closing of the fitness club.
What Pets Can Get COVID-19
Many people don't know that pets can get COVID-19 too. The first case of a pet being infected with COVID-19 was also found in China. The pet turned out to be a 17-year-old Pomeranian Spitz Benny. The animal was isolated in a state veterinary institution. After two weeks of quarantine, the dog passed several negative tests for the pathogen of COVID-19 and returned home. The pet died soon after. Nobody knows for sure what exactly led to the death of the pet.
An amazing fact in this story is that the genetic structure of the virus in the dog was very similar to the structure of the virus in its owner. Shortly before the infection of the Spitz, the 60-year-old owner of the pet herself had been ill with COVID-19. Based on this, scientists concluded that the dog was infected by humans.
Soon in Hong Kong, another dog and cat tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. It is believed that the German Shepherd and Shorthair cat also contracted the infection from their owners.
The first precedent in Europe was registered in Belgium. At the end of March, a common domestic cat caught COVID-19 again from a person. Symptoms appeared a week after the owner returned from Italy. The pet was sent for treatment to the Scientific Center of the Belgian Federal Public Health Service.
In early April, SARS-CoV-2 was found in an animal in the United States. Patient Zero is a female Malay tiger named Nadia at the New York Zoo. They decided to test the animal after several lions and tigers showed signs of respiratory illness. Curiously, the pathogen was not found in Nadia's neighbors - lions and tigers.
My Cat/Dog ate Poorly Today — Does it have COVID-19?
The issue of symptomatology in animals is poorly understood. For example, a study carried out by Harbin scientists does not mention any obvious ailments. The Belgian cat suffered from diarrhea, vomiting, and shortness of breath. The tigress Nadia from New York was also seen coughing. Dogs in all cases suffered from the disease and were completely asymptomatic.
The difference in the course of the disease may be due to the amount of virus in the animal's body. In dogs, SARS-CoV-2 develops poorly and slowly. Particles of the virus are often found in the analysis of sick cats.
Should We Be Afraid of Cats and Dogs Now?
Animals can get infected by humans. The reverse process does not work. In any case, no one has written about this. As a result, no matter what scientific article you open, experts urge you not to panic and not be afraid of your pets. Nevertheless, CDC advises you to adhere to general hygiene practices when dealing with animals.
We recommend that people who are ill or under the medical supervision of COVID-19 follow general precautions and hygiene measures when dealing with animals. These include thorough hand washing before and after being around animals and handling them, their food or care products, and their housing.
Rules for Caring for Animals During the Pandemic
- Pay more attention to routine hygiene: wash hands, and avoid direct contact with animal feces. Don't allow animals to lick your face and hands; if while playing with an animal you get an abrasion or a scratch - treat it immediately.
- If your animal does not go outside, then the risk of infection is only from you. Virus particles can enter the fur of a cat or dog in the same way as an elevator button, doorknob, or supermarket bag.
- Avoid contact with your dog with other animals (even with other pets) while walking. Stay at least 2 meters away from them.