Health & Fitness News

Dialysis Patients Face Close-Up Risk From Coronavirus

DaVita and Fresenius have put in place similar measures in recent weeks to try to prevent infections. No one gets into a clinic without a fever check and a discussion about potential coronavirus symptoms. Their patients and employees are now required to wear masks.

The companies have also decided to separate patients either suspected or confirmed to have the virus, putting them either in different clinics or scheduling their treatments on other shifts. The companies have taken the unprecedented step of agreeing to shift patients between their respective sites, if necessary, so infected or potentially infected patients are not spreading the virus.

Both companies acknowledge concerns over shortages of supplies but say they continue to have enough. Every patient is handed a new mask for each visit, the companies say, and workers have adequate protective equipment.

But some workers are questioning whether the clinics are making sure as few people

Read More

A User’s Guide to Face Masks

Almost overnight, masks of all shapes, colors and styles have appeared on the faces around us. Here’s how to decide what mask works best for you.

N95 respirator masks: These masks fit tightly to the face and have the highest filtration efficiency, blocking 95 percent of particles of 0.3 microns or larger. An N95 mask protects medical workers who come into contact with high doses of the virus while visiting and carrying out medical procedures on multiple patients. The rest of us don’t need that level of protection, so these masks should be reserved for health care workers only. To learn more about how these masks work, check out this video animation from the Arizona State University Risk Innovation Lab.

Medical masks: These are also in short supply and should be used only by medical workers. Sometimes called surgical masks or

Read More

Will a Coronavirus Antibody Test Allow Us to Go Back to School or Work?

The first type of antibody to appear is called immunoglobulin M or IgM, and its levels spike within a few days of infection. But IgM is a generic fighter. To target and destroy a specific virus, the body refines it into a second type of antibody, called immunoglobulin G, or IgG, that can recognize that virus.

As IgG levels rise, IgM levels drop; IgG levels peak around 28 days after the onset of infection.

There is a third type of antibody, called IgA, that is present in mucosal tissues — like the inner lining of the lung. IgA is known to be important for fighting respiratory infections such as influenza, and is likely to be central in coronavirus infection, too.

Many of the tests being developed look for levels of all three antibodies; some look for just IgM and IgG, and still others test for only one type.

What can

Read More

At the Center of a Storm: The Search for a Proven Coronavirus Treatment

OMAHA — Beginning every morning at 5:30, Dr. Andre Kalil makes himself a double espresso, runs 10 kilometers, makes additional double espressos for himself and his wife, and heads to his office at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

A deluge awaits him.

Calls and insistent emails pile up each day. Patients and their doctors are clamoring for untested coronavirus treatments, encouraged by President Trump, who said that “we can’t wait” for rigorous studies of the anti-malarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, and that ill patients should have ready access to experimental medicines.

Dr. Kalil, 54, is a principal investigator in the federal government’s clinical trial of drugs that may treat the coronavirus. It is starting with remdesivir, an antiviral drug. The first results will be ready within weeks.

Dr. Kalil, who has decades of experience grappling with questions about the use — and misuse — of experimental drugs, has rarely

Read More