Coronavirus: In addition to Covid, countries in the Northern Hemisphere, including the US and the UK, are currently seeing a spike in cases of influenza, RSV and the common cold. Due to all these infections, a large number of people are being hospitalized.
Conversation: There’s a lot to be happy about this Christmas. covid Still exists but not in a serious form for vaccines and treatments. Preparations for Christmas festivities, theater and New Year’s Eve parties are back to normal. However, the return to normal life will also bring winter diseases that have not been seen in the past two winters due to less contact with people due to restrictions.
In addition to Covid, countries in the Northern Hemisphere, including the US and the UK, have currently seen a large increase in cases of influenza, RSV and the common cold. Due to all these infections, the health system is under pressure as a large number of people are hospitalized. People say that the reason behind this is the social distancing that happened earlier, due to which the immunity of people has been damaged.
This suggests that not being exposed to seasonal viruses during epidemics can affect our immune system, leading to higher rates of some infectious diseases, especially among children. This hypothesis is controversial because there is insufficient evidence to support it. I would argue that the situation we are seeing is due to the social distancing that happened earlier.
More people are sick than last year
After two years of bans, UK data shows more people are getting sick before Christmas than last year. This is because, as restrictions loosen and life returns to normal, diseases are given a chance to spread. Over the years, many countries have had laws, policies and guidelines about what to do when sick. This year the responsibility is on people’s common sense and on them personally.
I have argued before that there is no such thing as common sense about Covid – none of us have been through this pandemic before and we are learning as we go. Of course lockdowns and social distancing laws are now a thing of the past. But people still need guidance.
There are still Covid-related guidelines, for example from the World Health Organization. The challenge, however, is to find out if you’ve got Covid. The problem is that many of the symptoms of respiratory disease and covid are similar.
Symptoms of the new form are not dangerous
Symptoms of the new Covid variant are not as distinct as the original strain (for example, a “running cough” or loss of taste or smell). The most common symptoms of Covid now include sore throat, runny or stuffy nose and cough without phlegm. These are also common cold and flu symptoms. In short, when in doubt, get a covid test. It is definitely better to test than risk your life. (I believe the government should make exams free at least in winter).
The only way to know for sure if your cough or sneeze is due to covid is testing. Although Covid has caused a lot of havoc in the last few years, it is important to prevent respiratory diseases as far as possible. Overall, Covid, flu and pneumonia still account for a large proportion of all deaths in many countries, including the UK.
A Hierarchy of Safety To keep ourselves and others safe this Christmas, we call it a “hierarchy of safety.” It is inspired by the model used to manage workplace safety, the “hierarchy of controls”.
This model outlines five levels of protection against hazards in the workplace. By narrowing down occupational exposure to respiratory viruses, we can use this model for our operations if we have symptoms of covid.
Protection through elimination: The only sure way to avoid the spread of airborne diseases is to avoid close contact with an infectious person. But some people are not able to isolate themselves. Perhaps he needs to take care of loved ones this holiday season, or he can’t face the prospect of celebrating another Christmas alone.
Protection by Substitution: If we cannot eliminate contact with people when we are ill, we can at least try to minimize them, especially those who are medically vulnerable. Meeting people outside is also a good idea. The chance of spreading the virus in Christmas markets is much lower than in indoor markets.
Engineering protection: If we can’t go outside (it’s winter), we can at least try to keep indoor spaces well ventilated, for example by opening windows and buying portable HEPA air filters.
Administrative protection: Visit people briefly when sick and avoid physical contact such as hugging and shaking hands. By doing so, it can help prevent the spread of infection.
Protection by PPE (Protection by PPE): In the past year, the practice of wearing masks and even maintaining hand hygiene has decreased significantly in many countries. But if you are sick, you need to take these measures. We can compare masks to umbrellas, using them when needed.
Of course, some of these things can be adopted together, depending on the situation. Doing what we can to reduce the spread of respiratory viruses may mean making some personal sacrifices this Christmas if you’re one of the unlucky ones to fall ill. But this sacrifice will greatly benefit your loved ones and public health.
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