What Have We Learned About How Covid
COVID is a virus that spreads in the air. One of the reasons we think that omicron is more infectious and moves more easily from person to person is it seems to be preferentially in your nose and mouth and upper airways. It seems to not like to spread in the cells that are deep in your lungs. Both are probably the reasons it is a little bit better at getting out across from one person to another.
Because it’s not as much in the lungs, may be the reason for many people, it doesn’t cause as severe pneumonias and the things that land you in the hospital. But it is notoriously good and probably one of the most efficient viruses many people have seen, at least in their lifetime at moving person to person, because it spreads through the air.
At the start of the pandemic, when we knew very little about the virus, we were particularly concerned that we had to scrub the pizza boxes when they were delivered to our houses, or that if someone had touched something, that we had to be worried about touching that surface. That is probably not a very useful way to think about the virus. What is much more useful is to think about those droplets from people who are positive, or the very fine droplets that hang in the air in rooms that aren’t ventilated.
How Long Can Covid
In general, these are not droplets that are staying in the air for extraordinarily long periods of time. But part of the reason why we are concerned about rooms that aren’t ventilated, and we know ventilation is important, is that we should think of these as very fine droplets that do hang in the air for a period of time.
I’m generally not as concerned that, you know, something that happened in the room half an hour ago is going to be a risk to me. But if I were in an environment that really has no circulation you can’t ever be quite sure.
I don’t get nervous, when I go into a room, about who’s been in the room before me.
But I do get nervous anytime I’m inside a room that’s not that well-ventilated, about even people who are across the room, or people who might be much further from me than I would generally think about. Because the air that’s there is just not circulating in the way that is really designed to keep me safe. Those viral particles are sort of hanging in the air.
What Is A Covid
A variant is when a virus mutates slightly, or changes. Variants frequently happen in viruses, but sometimes a variant can make the virus spread more easily, can make symptoms worse or reduce the effectiveness of treatments and vaccines.
The original COVID-19 virus has had many variants since it was first discovered, with some being labelled by the World Health Organization as a variant of concern. These variants include Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and most recently Omicron.
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Autonomic Nervous System Disruption
A third possible explanation of fatigue in long haulers involves disruption of the autonomic nervous system .
The ANS is part of the nervous system and controls our bodys internal organs without us even noticing. It influences muscles and organs throughout the body and controls a range of functions such as heart rate, breathing, and digestion.
The ANS has multiple parts. Two of the most important are the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system .
When our brain suspects theres a threat, it activates the SNS, which in turn starts pumping blood to muscles and increases breathing rate. The aim is to make you ready to fight for your life, and this is why its called the fight or flight mode. When the threat is gone, the PNS kicks in and calms everything down. This is often called the rest and digest mode.
In healthy individuals, the SNS and PNS are in a constant state of flux, with each system making small adjustments throughout the day. In long COVID patients, however, there is evidence to suggest the sympathetic nervous system becomes dominant. Not surprisingly, staying in this constant mode of physically heightened alert resultsin physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion.
You can read more about how this works and the symptoms it causes in our article about autonomic nervous system dysfunction in post-concussion patients.
Phone Advice Line Tool
Recommendations for Children or Adults with Possible COVID-19
The COVID-19 phone advice line tool is intended for healthcare facilities and healthcare personnel. The COVID-19 phone advice line tool helps healthcare personnel give advice on appropriate medical care to parents of children at least 2 years old and adults. The tool is not intended to diagnose or treat disease, including COVID-19.
The COVID-19 phone advice includes a phone script and accompanying figures and tailored messages intended for use by healthcare personnel.
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What Cdc Is Doing
CDC continues to work to identify how common post-COVID conditions are, who is most likely to get them, and why some symptoms eventually improve for some people and may last longer for other people. Rapid and multi-year studies are underway to further investigate post-COVID conditions in more detail. These studies will help us better understand post-COVID conditions and how to treat patients with these longer-term effects.
How Long Does Immunity From A Previous Covid
As the experts explained above, having had COVID-19 in the past will protect you to some degree from reinfection in the future.
In general, the experts said that you’ll have some protection for about three to six months after a COVID-19 infection. But the protection youll get from this type of natural immunity can be unpredictable, Yang said.
People who have more severe bouts of COVID-19, meaning people who are hospitalized, typically end up with more robust protection from the virus, he explained. But on the other hand, that also probably means they have a risk factor that made it more likely for them to get COVID-19 once and people in that situation really don’t want to get it again.
And a CDC study published in November underscores just how much better it is to get protection through vaccination than infection: Among 7,300 patients hospitalized with symptoms like those of COVID-19, those who were unvaccinated but had previously had the illness were five times more likely to test positive for the infection than those who were vaccinated .
Of course, getting that protection via infection also comes with the risks for long-term consequences of COVID-19 as well as hospitalization and even death. So, if you had COVID-19 and aren’t vaccinated, it’s still worth getting the shots to protect you in the future.
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How Can I Care For My Pets If I Have Covid
While researchers are still studying the risk of spreading the coronavirus between humans and pets, its best to follow the same safety measures with your pet as you would with people.
- Avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food.
- When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals.
- If you must care for them, wear a face mask and wash your hands before and after.
How To Recover From Post
For most long haulers, fatigue is one of their many symptoms. Long COVID can affect every organ in the body, causing difficulties from shortness of breath and trouble sleeping to erectile dysfunction and heart palpitations.
Instead of treating each symptom separately, we approach long COVID as a whole.
Soon after long COVID appeared, we realized this condition impacts the brain in a similar way to post-concussion syndrome , the primary condition we treat at our clinic. PCS occurs when concussion symptoms fail to resolve months after a head injury. Some of our patients have spent decades suffering from headaches, dizziness, brain fog, and more before finding our clinic.
Note: While concussions are the most common cause of post-concussion syndrome, blunt trauma is not the only way to injure your brain. Weve treated patients who injured their brains via carbon monoxide poisoning, encephalitis from an infection, transient ischemic stroke, and more. In this sense, COVID-19 is no different in that it causes brain dysfunction.
After confirming our suspicions of the similarity between long COVID and post-concussion syndrome via neuroimaging, we adapted our treatment protocols for COVID long haulers.
We use these results to design a customized treatment plan combining a series of cardio exercises and other therapies, including cognitive, sensorimotor, neuromuscular, and vision therapies, to name just a few.
We follow a prepare/activate/rest pattern:
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We Know A Lot About Covid
How did those pandemics end? The viruses didnt go away a descendent of the Spanish flu virus, the modern H1N1, circulates to this day, as does H3N2. Humans didnt develop herd immunity to them, either. Thats a phenomenon by which a pathogen stops spreading because so many people are protected against it, because theyve already been infected or vaccinated.
Instead, the viruses that caused these pandemics underwent a transition. Or more to the point, we did. Our immune systems learned enough about them to fend off the deadliest manifestations of infection, at least most of the time. Humans and viruses reached an immunological détente. Instead of causing tsunamis of devastating illness, over time the viruses came to trigger small surges of milder illness. Pandemic flu became seasonal flu.
The viruses became endemic.
If the pattern holds, and it is expected to, SARS-2 will at some point join a handful of human coronaviruses that cause colds, mainly in the winter, when conditions favor their transmission.
When will that happen? Thats the big, unanswerable question. I thought that wed be out of this acute phase already, admitted , the World Health Organizations leading coronavirus expert. Van Kerkhoves thinking, though, is influenced by her adamant view that the world could stop the pandemic if countries would only take the steps countries like New Zealand, Vietnam, and others have done, and bring transmission under control.
Can People Without Symptoms Spread The Virus To Others
“Without symptoms” can refer to two groups of people: those who eventually do have symptoms and those who never go on to have symptoms . During this pandemic, we have seen that people without symptoms can spread the coronavirus infection to others.
A person with COVID-19 may be contagious 48 hours before starting to experience symptoms. In fact, people without symptoms may be more likely to spread the illness, because they are unlikely to be isolating and may not adopt behaviors designed to prevent spread.
But what about people who never go on to develop symptoms? A study published in JAMA Network Open found that almost one out of every four infections may be transmitted by individuals with asymptomatic infections.
Getting vaccinated once you are eligible is important for protecting not just yourself but others as well early evidence suggests that you’re less likely to infect others, or may be contagious for a shorter period of time, once you’ve been vaccinated.
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How Long Is The Coronavirus Infectious When Its In The Air
How long the coronavirus is infectious when its in the air is a question scientists have been trying to pinpoint since the beginning of the pandemic.
Previous studies relied on spraying virus into rotating sealed chambers to create an aerosolized environment. Using this technique, researchers determined that the virus could still be detected for 3 hours. However, such experiments do not accurately replicate what happens when a person with an infection exhales.
For the new study, scientists developed a device that uses an electric field to levitate tiny, virus-containing droplets. While controlling for temperature, humidity, and UV light intensity, researchers tested the infectiousness at various lengths of time from 5 seconds to 20 minutes.
Thats far more representative of a close contact exposure where an infected person next to you talks or coughs, explained Herek Clack, PhD, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Michigan. That control of precision is something that had not been available using established techniques prior to this.
The study found that in air with 50 percent humidity similar to what would be circulating in large buildings or offices there is a near instant loss of infectivity in 5060% of the virus.
At 90 percent humidity , the virus remained stable for longer and sustained its infectiousness for 2 minutes. There was a gradual decline in infectiousness after this, reaching 10 percent after 10 minutes.
When Do The First Covid
Not everyone who gets COVID-19 has symptomsin fact, the World Health Organization says 80% of infections are mild or asymptomatic. Yet those who do may develop fever and chills, a cough, muscle or body aches, fatigue, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, or a loss of taste or smell. Other people with COVID-19 have reported headache, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Yes, thats a pretty large window. But a recent study by US immunologists, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, narrowed it down. They analyzed more than 180 COVID-19 cases and found that, on average, it takes just over five days for COVID-19 symptoms to hit.
The research team also found that 97% of people who get the virus will develop symptoms within 11 days from the time they are first infected. Any of these symptoms can strike at any time during the course of the illness, from day one to the last days.
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How Is Someone Tested For Covid
A specialized diagnostic test must be done to confirm that a person has an active coronavirus infection. Most often a clinician takes a swab of your nose . Some tests may be done using a saliva sample. The sample is then checked for the virus’s genetic material or for specific viral proteins .
Antibody tests can tell if someone has been infected with COVID-19. But the infected person doesn’t begin producing antibodies immediately. It can take as long as three weeks for a blood antibody test to turn positive. That’s why it is not useful as a diagnostic test for someone with new symptoms.
What Should Someone Who’s Experiencing Post
For those who experienced only a mild illness and self-treated at home but are now dealing with post-COVID syndrome symptoms, Dr. Lahoti recommends scheduling an appointment with your primary care physician.
“Your doctor can diagnose the severity of your lingering symptoms, helping to treat the ones that are mild and referring you to a specialist for any that are more advanced,” explains Dr. Lahoti.
If you were hospitalized for more severe symptoms during your illness, you may already have a cardiologist you can follow up with about any heart issues, such as chest pain, or a pulmonologist you can check in with to address any lung issues, such as difficulty breathing.
“Because the symptoms of post-COVID syndrome are diverse and because this condition is so new and unique, we’ve created the Houston Methodist COVID-19 Recovery Clinic an entire clinic dedicated to helping people manage post-COVID syndrome,” Dr. Lahoti adds. “The purpose of this clinic is to bring together a range of specialists who have been on the front lines during this pandemic.”
The clinic will have a team of doctors specializing in:
- Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
- Primary care
The clinic will also focus on performing impactful research, as well as providing doctors with access to tools that can help tailor care to the specific treatments someone previously received or the particular strain of the virus he or she was infected with.
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Can Dogs And Other Pets Get Covid
- The virus that causes COVID-19 can spread from people to pets, including cats and dogs.
- If you have COVID-19 you should restrict contact with your pet as much as possible to avoid passing it to them.
- To reduce the chance of your pet getting the virus from someone else, avoid letting your pet interact with people or animals that are not part of your household.
Coronavirus Survival By Surface
Thevirus typically doesnt like to live on surfaces that have a lot of holes ormicroscopic little grooves, nooks or crannies, explains Dr. Esper. It likes surfacesthat are very smooth, like door knobs.
Early research has demonstrated that the viruss survival depends on the type of surface it lands on. The live virus can survive anywhere between a couple of hours to a couple of days.
Heres how long the virus typically lasts on common surfaces, but it can change depending on sanitation efforts, sunlight and temperature:
- Glass 5 days.
- Cardboard 24 hours.
- Copper surfaces 4 hours.
Its important to note that the amount of live virus decreases over time on surfaces. So the risk of infection from touching something that had the virus on it for a few days would lessen the risk.
As you can imagine cardboard has little microscopic holes in it, so the virus doesnt like it very much, says Dr. Esper. And it doesnt last too long on fabric either, typically less than a day.
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Who Is A ‘close Contact’
You are a close contact if you have been near someone with COVID-19 while they have been infectious. There is a reasonable chance a close contact will get infected with COVID-19.
Contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 needs to have occurred during that persons infectious period a period which extends from 48 hours before the their symptoms started until they are classified as no longer infectious.
Close contacts can either be a primary or a secondary close contact.