Scratching the surface: the effect of coronavirus (COVID-19) on eczema

Eczema affects 1 in 10 Adults

Eczema is a very common skin disorder affecting children and adults. It affects 20% of children in the UK at some point in life, and 1 in 10 adults suffer from atopic dermatitis. Eczema is characterised by dry, scaly skin and mild to severe itching. It can be made worse by Western culture, rising pollution, and increasing stress levels. 

COVID-19 (Corona Virus Disease 2019), and is classified as a respiratory illness caused by virus strain SARS-COV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2), and as of yet, there is no vaccine.

As of writing, there have been over 36 million reported cases and 1 million deaths globally (you can keep up to date with the current figures here).

Stress is a risk factor of eczema

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Photo by whoislimos on Unsplash

COVID-19 has impacted our lifestyles. With people staying at home, our diets, health, fitness levels, mental state, and what we are exposed to in our environments daily have changed. For some people, stress levels have increased – due to changes in employment, worry over the virus, and uncertainty of the future – which is a risk factor of eczema.  Continue reading “Scratching the surface: the effect of coronavirus (COVID-19) on eczema”

The mind is not isolated from the world it lives in.

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The mind is not isolated from the world it lives in.

While writing one of my last posts, ‘The Effect of Coronavirus on Mental Health‘ – I wondered how things would improve. Before the pandemic began, many of us were already struggling. We were already dealing with poor mental health – the virus just put it in a vacuum. Life seemingly ground to a halt, pushing mental health issues to the forefront.

There has been an increase in mental health awareness, with governments and organisations providing guides and online support – but it feels temporary. With the focus on returning to normal as soon as possible, it’s easy to feel like the help won’t be available when that happens.

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Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash

The above quote is from an article in Nature by Rochelle Burgess titled: ‘COVID-19 mental-health responses neglect social realities‘. It discusses how the spotlight on mental health during the coronavirus pandemic. Burgess argues that these measures don’t take into account what people’s lives were like before and what’s been the main factor in their condition.

Continue reading “The mind is not isolated from the world it lives in.”

On This Day – 12th July

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On 12th July 1957, the US government became the first government to publicly link smoking to lung cancer. The Surgeon General, Dr. Leroy Burney, who was an epidemiologist (someone who looks at patterns and causes of various health and disease conditions), issued a report which stated:

It is clear that there is an increasing and consistent body of evidence that excessive cigarette smoking is one of the causative factors in lung cancer.’

This was an important statement because of how widespread smoking was at that time, and how much power lobbyists in the tobacco industry held. Unsurprisingly, The Tobacco Industry Research Committee rejected the study and complained about the methodology used. Continue reading “On This Day – 12th July”

On This Day – June 11th

on this day psOn June 11th, 1998, the genome sequence of the bacterium that causes tuberculosis (TB) was completed and published in the scientific journal, Nature.

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This allowed scientists around the world to understand tuberculosis better and develop effective treatments. This was groundbreaking because TB is multi-drug resistant (meaning that it’s resistant to more than one antibiotic). Continue reading “On This Day – June 11th”

Can you really boost your immune system?

 

immune system

Can you really boost your immune system?

Boosting the immune system is something that is popular no matter where you are.

In times when people are working longer hours than usual, it’s easy to look for quick ways to stop us from getting sick. A simple Google search will turn up a host of articles and guides on how we can boost our immune systems using supplements, diet improvements and exercise. Continue reading “Can you really boost your immune system?”

raising awareness vs raising alarm

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Raising awareness versus raising alarm; the public can’t be better informed if the information isn’t better. — T.K. NALIAKA

In the wake of everything happening today, I think this is an important quote (unfortunately, I couldn’t find a source).

People are confused, scared and angry and as far as I can see, no one has really come up with an adequate way to keep the general public informed without regurgitating a series of numbers and data sets that won’t offset their anxiety.

What’s the death count today?” is now common question as opposed to, “what’s the latest information?”

For example, while Wikipedia has an extensive timeline for COVID-19. When you click onto April,  it’s mainly a report of cases and deaths – that’s great for statisticians, but not so much for the general public. The Financial Times has an interactive guide that is much better, but the graphs may be tiresome to people who don’t find them easy to follow.

General members of the public tend to feel at ease when they can understand what is happening. Presenting the information as numbers/data makes it difficult for everybody to follow what’s happening beyond the dark nature of COVID-19. Two months ago, it was unheard of to hear that 20,000+ people had died. Today, after hearing that hundreds have been dying every day – that number loses its bite.

It’s clear that information channels need to be improved in order to prevent alarm and desensitization to what’s happening.

That being said, it’s unsurprising that there are so many resources and not much clarity. A virus of this nature is one that nobody was prepared for. Here’s hoping that in time, the information will be better.

© Purplexed Science 2020

P.S. I’ve compiled a small list of resources here (and will continue to add to it).

Why wearing a mask might not prevent the spread of coronavirus

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What is a coronavirus?

Coronavirus is the scientific name for a group of viruses that cause things like common colds and more serious illnesses like SARS (severe acute respiratory symptom). They can be transmitted from humans to other humans or from animals to humans.


Why is it in the news today?

The coronavirus we’ve been hearing about is a new strain of the virus that nobody had come across before it struck patients in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China last year. It has now been named COVID-19 (Corona Virus Disease 2019), and is classified as a respiratory illness caused by virus strain SARS-COV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 and as of yet, there is no vaccine.

It is currently a serious issue because of the rate at which it is spreading and the fact that it can be fatal.

As of writing there has been 1,923,651 reported cases and over 119,595 deaths globally (you can keep up to date with the current figures here).


How is it transmited?

During the initial stages of the outbreak, it was thought that there was animal-to-person spread originating in a seafood and live animal market. However, a lot of patients didn’t have any contact or exposure with animal markets suggesting that there is in fact person-to-person spread.

This has been the case in countries all across the world where it appears to be spreading easily due to a lack of social distancing, limited testing and poor hygiene practices when the first few cases began to appear. This led to a high level of person to person spread first in Italy, which became the new epicentre of the virus, and then the rest of Europe before the number of cases grew in the United States.

Person to person spread comes about when people come within six feet of an infected patient. It is thought that people are most contagious when they’re sick. The virus is spread through droplets produced by sneezing and coughing.

Although, currently the World Health Organisation doesn’t believe that COVID-19 is airborne, a research article in Environmental International states:

National authorities [should] acknowledge the reality that the virus spreads through air, and recommend that adequate control measures be implemented to prevent further spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.


Will wearing a mask prevent transmission?

Much has been made of members of the public wearing face masks with the WHO reluctant to state that it’s a foolproof method of preventing transmission. While local authorities are suggesting that people wear cloth face masks while out and about, there is not yet enough evidence to say that they will stop people from catching COVID-19. 

The question has remained: are masks effective when it comes to preventing droplets from spreading?

In short, no.

That’s the worrying answer a group of researchers in South Korea arrived at when they put surgical masks and cotton masks to the test. Continue reading “Why wearing a mask might not prevent the spread of coronavirus”

10 ways to stay productive at home

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All around the world, many of us are being asked to stay in our homes and avoid any contact with other people – this is known as social distancing or isolation.

It is important that everybody adheres to the advice and instructions given by their governments in order to stop the spread of Covid-19 (the coronavirus that is sadly killing and hospitalizing a lot of people).

However, sitting at home watching television can get pretty boring after a while.

So – what can we do to make use of all of the time we have on our hands?


How To Stay Productive At Home


1. Maintain your physical health

It is important to stay healthy while you’re at home. This can be done by eating a healthy and balanced diet. It might be tempting to binge on ice cream and chocolate, but bearing in mind that our physical activity is going to be limited, it is better to limit junk food and opt for healthier alternatives.

Exercising at home is also a great way to stay healthy. This can be done using home equipment and online workout videos/routines. Continue reading “10 ways to stay productive at home”

COVID-19 Pandemic: Do You Need to Wear a Face Mask? Perhaps. — Moosmosis

COVID-19 Pandemic: Do you need to wear a face mask? How effective are face masks in protecting us from the spread of COVID-19? In this article, we evaluate the efficacy and importance of face masks amidst COVID-19 pandemic.

via COVID-19 Pandemic: Do You Need to Wear a Face Mask? Perhaps. — Moosmosis


 

Very informative and well-research article by Moosmosis on whether or the general public should be wearing face masks.