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The Joys and Trials of Frontline COVID Workers: Stories of Their Experiences

Thank you doctor

It is impossible for anyone to adequately thank the frontline COVID workers for everything they have done during this pandemic. Their struggles, long work hours, the upsetting incidents they have to witness all make it clear how much we owe them. One way we can show our appreciation is by amplifying their voices and listening to their stories.

Here, I will talk about two impactful stories of frontline workers – one positive encounter and one negative one. These incidents show just how much grief they have to see and how some incidents make their labor worth it.

An Elderly Couple Diagnosed With COVID

Kaitlyn Weckerle, a frontline health care worker in New York City, shared her story with a teacher, Michael Tuccio. Her story was heartbreaking, to say the least. It involves a couple in their eighties, admitted to Mather hospital on different days.

The husband came first. He had a bad case of COVID, and the doctors immediately decided that he needed intubation. However, he did not want that. He felt that he could beat COVID on his own without the intubation.

Of course, since he was old, that did not work out. His condition worsened, and intubation became necessary. On the day he got intubated, his wife contracted COVID and got admitted to the same hospital. Both the husband and the wife were Kaitlyn’s patients. 

Here comes the upsetting part. Both of them were in critical condition. This meant that the doctors could not inform either of them that they were in the same hospital. While they battled COVID together, neither of them knew of the other’s condition.

The couple’s daughters were in contact with the doctors throughout the operation. They would call the hospital every day to inquire about their parents’ conditions. So, understandably, both of them were extremely upset when the couple passed away.

The saddest part of this story was that the couple was in the hospital at the same time, operated on by the same doctor. They even died around the same time. However, neither of them knew that the other had died. Both of them passed away without having the opportunity to meet each other or to say goodbye. On top of that, their daughters could not meet them before their death either.

Kaitlyn remarked that this incident was very difficult for her. Unfortunately, it was not the only one. She said that many of her patients who needed intubation did not survive. Some of them seemed as if they would recover but then got worse and often passed away. 

My heart breaks to think about what both the daughters and Kaitlyn may have gone through. The number of such incidents these frontline workers have to witness every day is unbelievable and calling Kaitlyn, and other healthcare workers like her brave would be an understatement.

Of course, it’s not always bad. Many healthcare workers have talked about how happy they are when a patient recovers or when a patient has an emotional conversation with their family members. It is these moments, they say, that encourage them to come back to work every day.

doctor

A Very Impressive Haircut

Another healthcare worker, Fabriana Margaglio, submitted her story for COVID Heroes. She is an ER nurse at Orange County, CA. She recounted a wonderful story about a patient to whom she gave a haircut. 

The patient in question had just come off ECMO and was on the ventilator. This meant that she was awake. Since she had been lying down for days, her hair was untidy, so her nurse was trying to brush it. The ECMO stopped the woman from turning fully, and the nurse could not lift her neck properly. 

The patient had a tight, stubborn knot in her hair which the nurse was struggling to untangle while she brushed the woman’s hair. Fabriana, sure of her ability to untangle the knot – owing to her past experiences brushing dreadlocks out of her friends’ hair – volunteered to help.

Fabriana walked in and attempted to untangle the knot in the woman’s hair. Unfortunately, it was not possible. The patient, who had very long hair, resignedly told Fabriana to cut her hair instead. Fabriana was reluctant since people with long hair often do not make such a decision easily. After checking to see if the woman was sure about her decision, she cut her hair.

Fabriana made sure that she gave the woman an attractive-looking haircut. In her words, she wanted it to be a “Victoria Beckham circa 2005” cut rather than a “Kate Gosselin circa any time” cut. When she finished, the patient’s hair was in a nice-looking bob, and Fabriana was able to salvage most of the hair in the back.

Something worth noting is that Fabriana did all of this with 1-inch long suture removal scissors. She was also wearing a beekeeper suit while she did it. It was impressive how she was able to cut her hair so well with such conditions in place.

After the cut, the patient FaceTimed her husband and showed him her new cut. He told her she looked beautiful. Later, the patient’s nurse said that when Fabriana talked to the patient and after she cut her hair, the patient smiled. It was the first time she had smiled after she woke up. Clearly, Fabriana’s cut and her conversations about Victoria Beckham and Kate Gosselin helped lift the woman’s spirits.

Fabriana was very happy to make the patient smile. She said that she felt great knowing that she had the power to make someone this happy. 

Final Words

These two incidents show the variety of emotions healthcare workers feel while they work. It was impressive to note that, despite so many obstacles and so many chances of things going wrong, these frontline workers keep a positive attitude, always making sure to help as many people as possible.

Fabriana and Kaitlyn’s stories show us just how much we need to thank frontline workers and how much we should appreciate them, especially during the pandemic.

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All You Need to Know About Vaccine Side Effect

Vaccine

In the last decade, over 1 billion children have been vaccinated. Back in 2019, around 85% of newborns got 3 doses of the DTP3 (diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis) vaccine, protecting them from a serious disease, disability, and even death. Right now, immunization is preventing 4 to 5 million deaths annually.

The truth is, vaccines have spiked debates for a very long time. They are often the reason you are stuck in an awkward conversation with someone who doesn’t share the same view as you when it comes to vaccinations.

Yes, there will always be some level of fear and uncertainty. But, to understand the sheer impact of vaccination, it is crucial to take a look at all aspects that are surrounding it—even the bad ones. Just like any medication or a chemically manufactured product out there, vaccines can cause adverse effects.

Although, for the most part, they are minor, people are worried they could affect the quality of life. That’s why we decided to compile this comprehensive guide on vaccines and side effects. They will give you that valuable insight that you’ve been looking for.

What Are the Possible Side Effects?

COVID Vaccine

After receiving a vaccine, patients normally experience temporary side effects. They could last anywhere from a couple of hours to a few days after a dose. This is completely normal since it’s the body’s natural response system that’s reacting to the chemicals in the product.

The system is doing its best to create immunity to battle the disease. This is what experts refer to as a reaction or an inflammatory response. It is not uncommon for these reactions to get in the way of your daily life. Sometimes, you would need to take over-the-counter meds to cope with the aches or fever.

These typical adverse effects may include:

  • Reactions on the injected area. They are typically associated with swelling, redness, and pain.
  • Flu is accompanied by mild fever, muscle pain, chills, exhaustion, joint pain, or a headache.
  • Allergic reactions. When a patient is allergic to any of the products inside the vaccine, the body can react abnormally. It can result in swelling, rash, elevated heart rate, decreased blood pressure, vomiting, etc.

Do have in mind that side effects are also classified by the severity of impact. There are mild to moderate and moderate to severe problems. Mild side effects are the ones that cause mild rash, tenderness, swelling, or fever. Whereas the more complex ones can cause a bad rash, severe infection, and a weakened immune system.

Why Vaccines Have Side Effects?

Every day, our body is fighting external agents that are trying to invade our system. The cells, however, develop a memory of these invading pathogens. Therefore, the immune system becomes capable of recognizing the external agent.

These memory cells have one job – spot the virus that invaded the system and get the immune system to attack it. Vaccines are basically tools for these memory cells. So, when they enter the system, the body can fight it. There is always a chance that the patient’s body won’t react favorably to a vaccine. That’s because everyone is different, and their body reacts differently to the vaccine.

Then, there are stress-related reactions. When someone is very anxious about getting a vaccine, they can turn pale or start to sweat. They can feel lightheaded, their breathing pattern will start to speed up, and they could lose their sensations in the feet, hands, or face. These reactions, however, are not caused by the vaccine. They are triggered by the stress from getting one. When the patient calms down, these reactions disappear.

What Should People Do When Facing These Side Effects?

If you develop any of these reactions or effects, it is best to consult with a healthcare provider. To prevent the side effects from turning into an actual problem, it is best to sit in the hospital for at least 15 to 30 min post-vaccination to see how the system will react to it. For example, you can sit in your vehicle for a little while before you drive off. This can be a worthwhile strategy.

Those who develop injection site pain or fever typically take over-the-counter treatments. Like paracetamol, aspirin, or ibuprofen. Others like to rely on home remedies for relief. Such as a cold compress to relieve the stiffness and pain. If you are not feeling too well, it is crucial to drink plenty of fluids. This can help you avoid dehydration and ease the discomfort. 

Different Vaccines May Cause Different Side Effects

Not every vaccine has the exact same side effects. Each immunization provider ensures a unique impact on the human body. But, to understand the impact, it is important to take a look at each individualized side effect of a vaccine. The table below will give you a general outline.

Illness​

Effect of illness​

Vaccine side effect​

Hepatitis A

Around 7 in 10 adults experience nausea, vomiting, fever, jaundice, tiredness, liver pain, etc.

Roughly 1 in 5 patients develop local swelling on the injected area. Serious reactions are very rare. 

Hepatitis B

An estimated 1 in 4 chronic carriers experiences liver cancer.

Anaphylaxis happens in 1 in 1 million people. While 2 in 100 develop a fever. Around 1 in 20 have local swelling. 

Measles

Around 1 in 15 children affected with measles experience pneumonia. 1 in 1000 develop brain inflammation. Some could experience permanent brain damage. 

Roughly 1 in 10 develop redness, pain, and swelling on the injected area. 1 in 20 have a non-infectious rash. 

Final Thoughts

As you can see, the sheer impact and benefit of any vaccine outweigh the possible side effects. Although there will always be a risk when taking chemical products, vaccines are a worthwhile choice. Not only to protect yourself but those around you as well. This is the kind of protective strategy everyone is looking for.

References

https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/immunization-coverage

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8037149/

Why do vaccines have side effects?

https://ww2.health.wa.gov.au/Articles/A_E/Comparisons-of-the-effects-of-diseases-and-the-side-effects-of-vaccines

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/covid-19-vaccine-what-to-do-about-side-effects#Home-remedies

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Everything You Need to Know about COVID-19 Vaccines

The arrival of COVID-19 vaccines was much-anticipated as the number of new cases and deaths kept rising in the United States and across the globe. Today the immunization process is going strong, which is why it’s important to learn as much as possible about the approved vaccines, how they work, and their effectiveness and potential side effects. Read on to get informed about Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Astra Zeneca, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccines.

Overview of manufacturers

Pfizer-BioNTech

Pfizer is a well-known American pharmaceutical giant founded in 1849. Headquartered in Manhattan, Pfizer develops medications and vaccines for a wide range of medical conditions and fields ranging from oncology to immunology.

BioNTech, on the other hand, is a German biotechnology company founded in 2008. The Mainz-based company combines groundbreaking research with cutting-edge technology to develop therapeutics.

Moderna

Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Moderna was founded in September 2010. The pharmaceutical and biotechnology company focuses primarily on drug discovery and development and mRNA-based vaccine technologies. Their pipeline includes 24 development programs, 13 of which entered clinical studies.

Johnson & Johnson (Janssen)

Breaking: Johnson & Johnson vaccine had been paused over rare blood clots since this week.

Johnson & Johnson, founded in 1886, develops pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and consumer packaged goods. As one of the most well-known American companies, Johnson & Johnson has become the world’s largest and most broadly-based healthcare company focused on creating healthier communities. Janssen is a Belgium-based pharmaceutical company owned by Johnson & Johnson.

AstraZeneca

Founded in April 1999, AstraZeneca is a British-Swedish biotechnology and pharmaceutical company headquartered in Cambridge, England. Their pipeline includes 174 projects. In April 2020, AstraZeneca announced a collaboration with Oxford focused on the development and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Vaccines overview

There are different types of COVID-19 vaccines in terms of mechanism of action. These four vaccines belong to two categories: mRNA and viral vector (adenovirus) vaccines. Below, you can learn more about each vaccine and how it works.

Pfizer

Pfizer and BioNTech’s BNT162b2 vaccine is a messenger RNA (mRNA) type of vaccine. Messenger RNA is a genetic material the cells in the body read to make proteins. The vaccine relies on genetically engineered mRNA to give cells instructions on how to produce a harmless segment of S protein found on the COVID-19 virus surface. Once a person is vaccinated, the immune system starts making the pieces of S proteins that emerge on the surfaces of the cells. 

As a result, the immune system creates antibodies. Therefore, if a person gets infected with the virus, the antibodies will strive to protect them. Upon production of S protein fragments, the mRNA breaks down immediately. In fact, mRNA never reaches the nucleus of a cell where your DNA is stored. The vaccine is administered in two doses given 21 days apart. Each vaccine vial contains 5 doses of 0.3 milliliters.

When was the vaccine issued?

On November 20, 2020, Pfizer requested an emergency use authorization from the FDA. On December 11, 2020, the Food and Drug Agency granted Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine their request. Vaccination in the U.S. started on December 14. The first Western country that approved this vaccine was Great Britain on December 2, but seven days later (on December 9, 2020), Canada did the same. The vaccine was authorized in the European Union on December 21, 2020.

How many people have received the vaccine?

The latest data shows at least 67,56 million doses have been administered so far in the United States. Keep in mind these numbers keep changing by the day as more and more people get vaccinated.

How effective is the vaccine?

According to the latest real-world evidence, two weeks after the second vaccine dose, protection by Pfizer-BioNTech is strong, with 97% effectiveness. In other words, this vaccine has 97% effectiveness against symptomatic COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, severe and critical hospitalizations, and death. Additionally, the effectiveness of this vaccine is 94% against asymptomatic cases. One of the earlier reports, a trial involving 43,548 participants, reported two doses of this vaccine conferred 95% protection against COVID-19.

Does the vaccine have side effects?

Some people may experience temporary and mild side effects after vaccination with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. These adverse reactions tend to last a few days only and include:

  • Tiredness
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Pain and swelling around the injection site

Keep in mind these side effects are normal and, actually, indicate the vaccine is doing its job in “activating” the immune system.More serious side effects are uncommon. They may include:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Muscle pain
  • Joint pain
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Nausea

It’s useful to mention adverse reactions are more common after the second dose rather than the first.

Who should and shouldn’t get vaccinated with this vaccine?

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is suitable for persons aged 16 and older. Most adults are eligible for this vaccine. However, you shouldn’t get this vaccine if any of these apply to you:

  • History of an allergic reaction to any ingredient in mRNA vaccine
  • Suffering from an allergic reaction after the first dose of this vaccine

The vaccine is meant to work for persons with underlying, chronic conditions. But, if you have concerns, you may benefit from consulting your doctor.

Moderna

Moderna’s mRNA-1273 vaccine works just like Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine. Basically, it’s an mRNA-based vaccine that does not contain the live virus but aims to produce antibodies by inducing the immune system’s reaction to a specific protein (S protein)

The vaccine is administered in two doses, 28 days apart. Each vaccine vial contains 10 doses of 0.5 milliliters.

When was the vaccine issued?

The FDA approved Moderna’s vaccine on December 18, 2020. Canada authorized this vaccine on December 23, 2020, and European Union on January 6, 2021.

How many people have received the vaccine?

At least 62,88 million doses of the Moderna vaccine have been administered to Americans. These numbers change every day as the immunization process keeps moving forward.

How effective is the vaccine?

The vaccine has been shown to have an effectiveness of 92% in protecting against COVID-19, starting two weeks after the first dose. A study from the New England Journal of Medicine showed Moderna vaccine had the effectiveness of 94.1% at preventing COVID-19 illness.

Does the vaccine have side effects?

Common side effects in the injection site may include pain, redness, and swelling. Adverse reactions throughout the body include:

  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Nausea
  • Tiredness

Most side effects are mild to moderate. The risk of severe side effects is low, and they may include allergic reactions.

Who should and shouldn’t get vaccinated with this vaccine?

Moderna’s vaccine is suitable for persons aged 18 years and older. Almost everyone should get this vaccine. The vaccine shouldn’t be administered to persons who had a severe allergic reaction to the first dose of the vaccine and men and women who are allergic to the ingredients of this vaccine. Pregnant and breastfeeding women may want to consult their healthcare provider first.

Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson’s JNJ-78436735 vaccine is different than Moderna and Pfizer’s. This is a viral vector vaccine. Essentially, the viral vector (or adenovirus) vaccine contains genetic material from the COVID-19 virus. The genetic material was inserted into a different kind of live virus, known as adenovirus. Here, a viral vector or adenovirus acts as a delivery system. Upon entering the cells, the viral vector delivers the COVID-19 virus’s genetic material. When that happens, the virus gives instructions to those cells to produce S protein. Just like with mRNA vaccines, fragments of S proteins appear on the surface of the cells, thus activating the production of antibodies. The vaccine can’t infect you, and genetic material doesn’t reach your DNA.

Janssen is a single-dose vaccine. One vial of this vaccine contains five doses of 0.5ml.

When was the vaccine issued?

On February 27, 2021, FDA issued emergency use authorization for the Janssen vaccine. Approval in Canada for this vaccine was received on March 5, 2021, and European Union authorized it on March 11, 2021.

How many people have received the vaccine?

About 2.73 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered so far in the United States.

How effective is the vaccine?

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine showed an effectiveness of 85% in preventing severe COVID-19 that doesn’t require hospitalization. The effectiveness in the U.S. was 72%, and overall efficacy across all studied geographical areas in their trial was 66%.

Does the vaccine have side effects?

Common side effects of the Janssen vaccine are the same as those of Pfizer and Moderna. While severe adverse reactions are unlikely, some people may experience an allergic reaction. The allergic reaction occurs within a few minutes up to an hour after vaccination. Your healthcare provider may ask you to stay at a vaccination place for monitoring.

Who should and shouldn’t get vaccinated with this vaccine?

Johnson & Johnson vaccine is meant for persons who are at least 18 years old. Generally speaking, the vaccine is suitable for most people. Those who shouldn’t get the vaccine are persons who are allergic to any of the ingredients contained in the formula.

AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca and Oxford’s AZD1222 vaccine belongs to the viral vector category, just like Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine. As mentioned above, these vaccines contain genetic material from the COVID-19 virus and a delivery system in the form of adenovirus or a viral vector.

Unlike Johnson & Johnson, the AstraZeneca vaccine is not a single-dose vaccine. Two shots are necessary for intervals of eight to 12 weeks. Each vial contains eight to 10 doses of 0.5ml.

When was the vaccine issued?

AstraZeneca was first approved in the U.K. on December 30, 2020. The approval of this vaccine in the E.U. arrived on January 29, 2021, and Canada authorized it on February 26. At the moment of writing this article, the AstraZeneca vaccine wasn’t approved in the U.S. The approval is expected to happen in the coming days or weeks.

How many people have received the vaccine?

AstraZeneca vaccine is not distributed in the U.S. just yet.

How effective is the vaccine?

The interim trial among adults in the United States, Chile, and Peru showed an effectiveness of 79%. 

Does the vaccine have side effects?

The side effects of the AstraZeneca vaccine are similar to what you might experience with other vaccines. In most cases, the adverse reactions range from mild to moderate. They generally include pain at the injection site, body chills, tiredness, and fever.

Who should and shouldn’t get vaccinated with this vaccine?

People aged 18 years or older can get the AstraZeneca vaccine. You shouldn’t get the vaccine if you had an allergic reaction to a previous dose or you are allergic to any component of this vaccine.

Where to learn about vaccines?

Sources of reliable information about vaccines include:

CVDVACCINE.com – https://www.cvdvaccine.com/

CDC – https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/index.html

HHS.gov – https://www.hhs.gov/coronavirus/covid-19-vaccines/index.html

Conclusion

The main focus of this post was on vaccines against COVID-19. These vaccines belong to mRNA and viral vector categories and have a high effectiveness rate. Consult your doctor if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or if you are concerned about your medical condition.

References

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Travel Safety: How to Protect Yourself During Christmas Travel

travel during covid

With Christmas just around the corner, people have started considering making travel plans. Whether it’s to meet the family that lives in a different city or to take a short winter vacation, travel is slated to increase during these holidays.

If you are planning to travel, you will need to factor in the very real risk of coronavirus into your plans. While traveling may be possible, you will need to take care to take extra precautions to keep yourself and others safe.

There are several steps that you can take to ensure your safety, including:

  • Disinfection: Make sure to disinfect the surfaces of the vehicle you are in thoroughly. If you are traveling in your own personal car, you should wipe down the windows, seats, seatbelts, console, steering wheel, and door handles. If you are traveling by plane or in a rideshare vehicle, wipe down the surfaces around you with antibacterial wipes or using sanitizer.
  • Carry Hand Sanitizer: Ensure that you have a bottle of hand sanitizer with you that has at least60% alcohol. You can use this to clean your hands if soap and water are not available, as well as if you come into contact with frequently touched surfaces like elevator buttons and hand railings.
  • Keep Distance: Make sure that you maintain a distance of at least 6 feet between you and other travelers when possible. Though this may not always be feasible, ensure that you keep as much distance between yourself and others as you can.
  • Wear a Mask: If you are in a vehicle with people not from your household, including rideshare drivers, or in an airplane with other passengers, ensure that you wear a mask at all times. Masks can reduce the amount of virus in the airspace. The more people wear a mask, the lower the risk of transmission.

Air Travel

When traveling by air, make sure you research each airline’s policies around social distancing before making a booking. Some airlines block middle seats so that you are not seated directly next to a non-household member, which can help reduce the risk of transmission. If possible, ensure you are traveling with one of these airlines.

If you are taking a short flight, consider going snack free. Snacking on flights will require you to lower your face mask, which can significantly increase the risk of virus transmission. 

If you can choose which seat to book, book a window seat. Also, ensure that your seat is not next to the restroom. An aisle seat will put you in contact will people traveling up and down the aisles, while the restroom is a frequented spot, and so will once again put you in contact with more people. A window seat will reduce the amount of contact that you have with fellow passengers to as little as possible. 

Rideshare Vehicles

If you are traveling via a rideshare vehicle, do not use the carpool option. Carpooling means increased proximity to several non-household members, as opposed to just one (your driver).

Similar to air travel, avoid accepting complimentary drinks or snacks that will require you to lower your face mask. If it is a short ride, avoid even snacks or drinks that you have brought from home. 

Carry a magazine or a book that you can read during your journey. This will ensure you do not have to handle any complimentary magazines that are in the vehicle. 

When possible, make sure to ride in the back seat instead of the passenger’s seat. This will create a level of distance between you and the driver. If possible, hire a rideshare vehicle that has a partition between the driver’s seat and the back seat, as this will significantly minimize the risk of virus transmission. 

If you are traveling this winter, make sure to research the area you are traveling to thoroughly before finalizing plans, and be aware of your own region’s case load. If COVID-19 is spreading rapidly in either place, you may want to reconsider your plans or choose a safer destination. Furthermore, make sure you have researched local guidelines well so that you can stay in compliance with any restrictions they might have. 

While travel this year will require you to be more careful than previously, traveling safely is possible. As long as you follow all local restrictions and guidelines and follow safety measures, this winter can be enjoyable!

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Treat COVID-19 As Boon Instead of Bane

Mental health, relax life

I know there is a lot of you out there struggling to cope with the pandemic. The stress, anxiety, anger, and frustrations are flooding your life. They are controlling every step you take and every decision you make.

You say and do things you don’t really mean to. So, you end up hurting the ones you love, or they are hurting you instead.

But let me tell you something.

This storm will pass. It may take longer than we thought. But it will pass. What matters is that you laugh. It’s OK for you to laugh. It’s crucial, even. When we have to face something this terrifying and hard, it’s vital that we try and find out what each moment will teach us.

Remember, difficult times don’t last, but tough people do.

How I Got Off to a Bad Start

I would always let my anxiety take hold of me. That distress became my wheels while I was just a hungry horse trying to drag the whole carriage down. 

The truth is, no one could predict how fast COVID-19 was going to reshape the world. To me, it felt like everything happened overnight. Millions of people lost their jobs, cities turned to ghost towns, and everyone I know and love was suddenly at risk of getting infected with a disease. The thought of losing them was horrifying. 

Then, my best friend got infected. Someone I’ve known since middle school got bedridden almost immediately after contracting the disease. That’s when it hit me. This was real.

My anxiety went through the roof. The lockdown made me feel panicky and trapped. There was nothing I could do to help my friend. I had to stay at home and limit my interaction with people. In just a matter of days, mine and everyone else’s future became uncertain – no more weddings, summer vacations, or family gatherings. No more life as we knew it.

I’m a law student. I’m used to long lectures, regular visits to the library, workshops, and study groups. But the moment the pandemic rolled in, everything was put on hold. Even my single source of income, a job in retail, put me at risk of contracting the disease and losing it all.

I couldn’t let that happen with my weak immune system. I quit my job. I couldn’t go to class anymore and couldn’t meet my friends to seek support in my community.

Suddenly, I lost the will to do anything. I was moping around in bed and doing nothing. I just went through the motions, morning to night. And just before I realized, I wasted five days of my life frowning, slouching, and crying over what could have been.

No more! I won’t let that helplessness ruin me or what I stand for. Yes, I did feel alone. And yes, I didn’t want to ignore my loneliness. But that doesn’t mean there is nothing I can do to fix it.

The Pandemic Didn't Change Me; I Changed Myself

Hope and motivation are something we should find for ourselves. They are a key component of our happiness. Something that keeps us going.

When I’m afraid, I need to be brave for someone else. I had to be brave for my friend. She was always my backbone. She was there for me and gave me the little pushes I always needed to keep moving.

Now our roles changed. Honestly, I’m happy they did. As soon as she got better, I stood up, freshened up, and went to check in on her.

I can’t describe to you the warmth in her smile when she saw me walk through the door. I’ve always been the wisecracker in our group. I could make even the grumpiest old lady laugh at my jokes. I think the moment she laid eyes on me, she expected I’d make some weird joke.

Luckily, my sassiness remained unchanged. Just a couple of minutes of me being there, every patient in the room was having a blast. In the end, my friend just looked at me and said, “Thank you. I needed that.”

I’m happy to say my friend made a full recovery. I know I didn’t treat her with a couple of gags. But, I also realized something else that day.

Each patient in the room there needed something to lift their spirits, regardless of how small it may be. To you, it may sound insignificant, but everything we do, everything we try, can put a smile on their faces and ours.

So, don’t just drown in your own self-pity, fear, or silence. You must find your own strength and learn from it. This is the only way we, our civilization, will heal. Yes, I understand that things may not always go the way we want them to. But, when they do, we should be able to enjoy it.

Take one day at a time. Figure out what’s crucial in your life. If you want to stop feeling helpless, start helping others. It will get rid of that loneliness, sadness, and stress. Another thing you can do is get your body back on track. Move around, go for a little walk every day, try doing some push-ups or jumping jacks.

Trust me; a little exercise can go a long way. It will clear your mind and give you something to focus on. If you don’t think you can handle all of that alone, try getting expert mental health treatments.

As long as you do everything to get that smile back, you can make it work. Just don’t give up on yourself and those around you. Although COVID-19 will not go away as quickly as most of us wanted, we can still maintain a positive outlook on life.

Just in a different way. Find your anchor, anything that makes you happy, and stick to it. Spend time with your loved ones, relax, and enjoy the time you dedicate to the people around you. So, when this pandemic passes, you will still be you.

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Why Is It Important for Children to Wear Face Masks?

ASTM Level 2 Procedure Face Mask for Kids

In light of the recent Covid-19 pandemic, and as per CDC recommendations, all individuals must wear face masks to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. These recommendations are also extended to children who are susceptible to the virus and can quickly spread it as well. It is next to impossible to keep your child indoors for nearly an entire year.

At some point, kids will be exposed to the outside world, and perhaps even with someone who has been infected with the coronavirus. This is especially true, considering how unsure most countries around the world are about reopening schools, it is essential for parents to reinforce protective practices in their children so that they stay safe from this deadly virus.

One of the most important methods of preventing this disease’s spread is by wearing a face mask! This includes getting your child to wear one as well. 

What Kind of Face Mask Should Your Child Wear?

According to the World Health Organisation, kids who do not have any underlying health issues can wear non-medical or fabric masks. However, the best kind of mask for your child would be one that offers adequate protection and is easy to breathe in as well.

Level 2 masks that have an adjustable nose bar and elastic ear loops are perfectly suited for children to wear. They are also the safest and most comfortable masks you could use for your child.

Three-layered masks made from non-woven fabric and filter material should always be given priority over other kinds of face masks for children. This is because such masks offer excellent protection against bacteria and viruses like the coronavirus while being breathable and comfortable to wear. Having colorful masks can also encourage kids to wear them more often. 

When Should Kids Wear Masks?

It’s recommended that children always keep a mask on when stepping out of their homes. Nonetheless, at times, some parents may wish to remove their child’s facemask for a while. However, kids should always have a face mask on under the following circumstances:

  • If a distance of more than 6 ft cannot be maintained
  • If your child is in a crowded area or an indoor environment that isn’t their home
  • If your child is exhibiting symptoms related to the coronavirus such as dry cough and fever
  • If stated by law 

The Perfect Mask for Your Kid

Wearing a face mask is essential for kids to protect them from the Covid19 pandemic. However, not all masks are suitable for kids and maybe uncomfortable for them to wear and breathe in. Soothy Garden’s ASTM Level 2 Procedure Face Mask for Kids is an excellent product when it comes to protective face masks for children.

Not only are these facemasks colorful and fun, but they are also made from the best quality non-woven fabric and filter material. Making them breathable and soft yet highly effective. Their adjustable nose bar and elastic ear loops ensure that the mask remains firmly in place over your child’s nose and mouth, and they remain safe from all sorts of bacteria and viruses.  

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How to Choose a Plexiglass Barrier for Your Office?

Plexiglass

A plexiglass barrier is a shield made from a petroleum-based thermoplastic. It’s clear and transparent, just like glass, but comparatively cheaper and is quite challenging to break.

This simple little thing may not seem like much of a necessity in your office. However, if the Coronavirus pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that the little things matter. 

A plexiglass barrier is important to protect yourself in your office. It will act as the first line of defense against coughs and sneezes. This function is especially crucial if your workstation has a lot of traffic.

So, we’ll be guiding you through how you can choose the perfect plexiglass shield for your office.

Choosing a Plexiglass Barrier for Your Office

If you’re going to choose the right plexiglass barrier for your office, you can’t just pick the any transparent wall. That’s the first step to losing the value for your money.

To help you make the best choice, consider:

Thickness

Plexiglass, no matter the density, will not break easily. However, this material isn’t invincible. It can still get scratched, dented, bent, and generally suffer damage. If people are going to be moving in and out of your office often, you’ll need your barrier to be reasonably thick.

Additionally, you want to make sure that the thickness is even across all parts of the plexiglass sheet. This’ll improve its durability enough to withstand any external impacts (accidental or otherwise).

Ease of Installation

You’re protecting against microorganisms and minor impact, not a nuclear explosion. If your plexiglass will be too difficult to install, you may be going in the wrong direction.

In this regard, we’ll advise that you get a plexiglass barrier you can easily screw in in a couple of minutes.

Size

Your plexiglass barrier may be the right size for the space it will occupy. If it is too small, you run the risk of betraying the purpose of buying it. In that case, you’ll end up leaving yourself/employees exposed to danger.

On the other hand, if it’s too big, you may have issues cleaning it. This will be particularly challenging if the plexiglass is mounted on a table or counter.

Optical Clarity

It’s much easier to look through some types of glass than others. 

For the best results, ensure that your glass has a reasonably high level of optical clarity. This should be between 88-90%. This way, you’ll be able to see people on the other side of the glass easily. However, if your job doesn’t require this, then there’s always the option to get a glass with a lower rating.

Conclusion

Among the requirements for getting a plexiglass barrier for your office, these rank the highest. When upgrading your office to offer more protection for your workers, keep them in mind to get your money’s worth.

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COVID-19 in Children: Can My Child Get Infected? How Do I Keep Them Safe?

With over 11.8 million cases recorded, the pandemic continues to spread. With schools getting closed and playdates reduced to a minimum, parents are now terrified about their children’s health and well-being. The virus has taken a toll on children’s lives, ruining their day-to-day routines.

Parents are uncertain if a child will have the exact same symptoms as an adult, or the infection poses a more serious threat. Here, we will answer all your questions for you to help you get properly prepared.

What Are the Odds of a Child Getting Infected with COVID-19?

According to the United Kingdom National Health Service, anyone can get infected with COVID-19, including children. But, it seems that the virus is less prevalent in the younger generation, while more present in adults and the elderly.

Based on clinical reports, out of 150,000 COVID-19 cases in the U.S., only around 2,500 were registered in children. That’s about 1.7% of the infected. Similar reports have been shown in different regions and countries, especially Italy and China, where the outbreak has left a major impact.

Despite the countless recorded cases around the globe, not that many children have lost their lives due to COVID-19. While every child is capable of getting infected, they are not as prone to diseases as the older population. They also have less chance to contract something as severe as the coronavirus.

The reason for that is the body structure and the number of antibodies. Since children get sick with the flu often, their body produces more antibodies and a lot quicker. The antibodies don’t overreact with the virus and tend to remove the pathogens much faster.

What About Children With Diabetes?

Unfortunately, any person with an underlying medical condition, like diabetes, is more vulnerable to the disease. If a child already has diabetes, they are at high risk of contracting the coronavirus.

The same thing applies to children with cardiovascular diseases, genetic illnesses, and poor immune system.

Are Toddlers At Risk of COVID-19?

COVID-19 in toddlers is very rare, but still possible. If they do get infected, the virus can be a serious problem for their overall health, particularly in babies younger than one year.

Toddlers are extremely vulnerable to diseases. Their immune system is underdeveloped, and their body has very tiny airways. If the infection were to cause breathing difficulties, like it’s the case with COVID-19, it could turn into a critical illness.

How to Protect Your Child from COVID-19?

Keeping your child safe from the virus should be a top priority. The CDC advises parents to do that by:

  • Teaching children proper hygiene
  • Inspiring them to wear a face mask
  • Encouraging them to play outdoors and stay socially active
  • Show them the importance of keeping a safe distance

What to Do If Your Child Gets Infected?

If you notice any flu-like symptoms, high temperature, or trouble breathing, get your child tested. If they test positive, seek medical help in the pediatric care unit immediately. Your doctor will provide your child with the supportive care they need, including medicine and treatment.

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How COVID-19 Affects Senior Citizens

In the past few months, the coronavirus has taken the world by storm. Though this virus isn’t the deadliest one to surface in the last few decades, its highly infectious nature means everyone must take social distancing precautions.

 

There’s a lot we don’t know about the virus. However, the most recent data shows that COVID-19 is dangerous for older adults. People above the age of 65 accounts for 73% of deaths in the US. On the other hand, people below the age of 18 only accounts for 0.06% of deaths.

 

What the link is between COVID-19 and old age, we can’t say for sure. However, we do know that the trend of the coronavirus affecting older people more than younger people is not limited to just the US.

Why Is COVID-19 Worse For Older People?

The primary reason COVID-19 is dangerous for older adults is that they have a range of underlying conditions, which make it more difficult for their bodies to effectively fight off the virus. The most common comorbidities in older people include conditions such as diabetes, blood pressure problems, and hypertension.

  

In addition, the older you are, the fatal coronavirus could be for you because of immunosenescence. This is the natural deterioration of the immune system that comes with old age. It makes it more difficult for the body to effectively combat the virus.

How To Protect Yourself And Your Loved Ones

Knowing that COVID-19 can be fatal for older adults makes COVID-19 old age protection necessary. Most of us have loved ones that are in their 50s, 60s, or even older. This means we need to ensure that they’re taking necessary safety precautions, and we ourselves are also taking precautions to keep them safe.

 

The CDC has a comprehensive guideline for older adults that you can check out. Ideally, you must ensure that older people have extremely limited social interaction. Keep them at home at all costs. If you need someone to go grab groceries, for example, send a younger member of the household.

 

Also, ensure that the older members of your household have plenty of access to sanitizers, tissues, soap, and anything else they may need. Even inside the home, keep your distance from older people to minimize any risk of infecting them.

Government Benefit Programs

The current pandemic is especially scary for senior citizens. Some of them live alone with their partners or in old age homes. At times like these, it’s easy to panic and loses hope, but don’t worry! As long as you take precautions, you can keep yourself safe from the virus.

In times of the coronavirus, old age security is more important than ever. Luckily governments all over the world offer senior citizen benefits that can ease some of the difficulties you may currently be facing. In the US, you can apply for the Nation Council on Aging’s Benefits for Seniors. Similarly, the government of Canada offers many programs for seniors too. As part of their COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, the government of Canada has also given pensioners an extra one-time payment of $300-500, on top of their pension.

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How Can UV Lamps Protect You In Daily Life

You’ve probably heard the term ‘UV light’ or ultraviolet light, but do you know what it is? UV light is essentially an invisible light that is all around us. Despite the fact that we can’t see it, it’s extremely beneficial for us.

 

In fact, UV radiation is often used to disinfect surfaces, reduce pollutants in waters, and is even used as an alternative to chemical solutions. Given this, it’s no surprise that the trend of having UV lamps is rising. If you’re thinking of getting one, it’s essential to know how UV lamps can protect you.

BENEFITS OF UV LIGHT

UV lamps can protect you through the UV light they emit. Here are some benefits of UV light you may not have known about.

PHYSICS BENEFITS

Your body needs exposure to UV light in order to produce Vitamin D, which is used to build up immunity and is a crucial part of bone development. Thus, a UV lamp can help you maintain healthy bone density.

MENTAL BENEFITS

Vitamin D levels in the body have been directly linked to the production of serotonin as well. While we dont know much about serotonins role in the body, we do know that it causes feelings of happiness and well-being.

ANTISEPTIC

You dont have to worry about UV radiation harming you. Luckily, our skin has a special pigment, melanin, which protects us from UV radiation. Viruses and bacteria, however, have no protection against UV radiation, which is why UV light does an excellent job of eradicating them. 

DIFFERENT TYPES OF UV LIGHTS

UV light is just EM radiation with a specific wavelength, which means the smaller the wavelength, the stronger the radiation. Hence, UV lamps with different wavelengths are used for different purposes.

To make it easier, we divide UV light into three categories. UVA, UVB, and UVC, with UVC being the strongest and UVA being the weakest.

UVA

UVA is used in tanning beds because this light can trigger the production of melanin in your body – giving you a tanned look. UVA is also used for UV curing, which causes adhesives to bind quickly when UV rays are incident on them. UV rays speed up the process.

UVB

This is used for cleaning/sanitizing water. UVB is also used to treat skin diseases. Youll find one in your closest barbershop!

UVC

UVC is the strongest form of UV light. Therefore, it is often used to sanitize hospital floors and surgical tools.

 

DAILY MAINTENANCE

The life of a UV lamp is considerably long, but it can be even longer if you take of it properly. Weve compiled a list of ways you can make your lamp last longer.

CLEANING

Like all things, UV lamps can collect dust and debris from the air. So, make sure that you clean your lamp once a month using a lint-free cloth soaked in Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol). Remember to always wear gloves!

TEMPERATURE CONTROL

Making sure that your UV lamp has the right temperature is extremely important. Place your UV lamp is a space with proper ventilation but also make sure it is not too cool.

COVID-19 HELP

So, youre probably wondering if UV lamps can kill viruses, can the lamps be used to fight Covid-19? Yes! Absolutely. UV light destroys the outer layer of the virus, killing it. Sadly, there are a few problems with commercially available UV lamps that make them only somewhat useful for this purpose. However, you can still wipe out the majority of the virus on most surfaces. Read about it more here.

IS IT SAFE FOR DAILY USE?

Many people think that if UV light can kill viruses, it may be harmful to humans too. The answer isnt as simple as a yes or a no. If exposed to high-intensity UV rays, you can get sunburn or even skin cancer in rare cases.

With proper precautions, UV lamps are incredibly safe. Wearing full-sleeves shirts and full-length pants can save you from skin irritation. Remember to always wear UV-protection sunglasses or eye-gear when dealing with UV lamps.