from the world's big
As a doctor, I am reminded every day of the fragility of the human body, how closely mortality lurks just around the corner.
'Despite all our medical advances,' my friend Jason used to quip, 'the mortality rate has remained constant – one per person.'
The physical action of handwashing plus the properties of soap is a one-two punch for the virus.
- A common recommendation from experts to help protect against coronavirus is to wash your hands often, but why? It turns out that each time you do it is an effective two-pronged attack.
- As Kate the Chemist explains, the virus has a weak outer membrane. By using the proper handwashing technique, you're actually breaking through that membrane and ripping the virus apart.
- Soap is an important part of the equation because of its two sides: the hydrophobic side (which grabs onto the virus), and the hydrophilic side (which grabs onto the water). Washing your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds allows the virus to be rinsed away.
Most homes are using insufficient methods to determine when chicken is done cooking and safe to eat.
- Checking the inside color of chicken is not a sufficient way to test its doneness.
- According to experts, the best way to ensure that chicken is safe to eat is to cook it to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
- From 2009 to 2015, more than 3,100 people were sickened by chicken.
Forget the color-check method<p>While this is a common technique used by half of the households in the survey, the researchers reported that the color of the inside of a chicken changes at temperatures that are too low to kill common poultry pathogens like <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/salmonella-enterocolitis" target="_blank"><em>salmonella</em></a><em>,</em> <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/diseases/clostridium-perfringens.html" target="_blank"><em>clostridium perfringens</em></a><em>,</em> and the most common,<em> Campylobacter</em>. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, poultry that is sufficiently cooked and safe to eat can come in shades of white, pink, and tan just like insufficiently cooked poultry.</p><p>Thermometers are perhaps the most reliable ways of indicating if a chicken is safe to eat, but less than 1.3 percent of households in the study used them while cooking chicken. </p>
Chicken pathogens<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a95b7b0158b3bdc4ce0ac2c880cc75b4"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/-yxA3r0xI-A?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>In addition to being the most popular meat in the United States, chicken is also the number one cause of foodborne illnesses. <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/67/ss/ss6710a1.htm" target="_blank">According to a CDC study</a>, 3,113 people reported being sickened by chicken via the National Outbreak Reporting System web app between 2009 and 2015, more than by any other food category.</p><p>Eating undercooked chicken can cause foodborne illness with symptoms like fever, diarrhea, digestive malfunction, abdominal cramps, vomiting, and dehydration. This affects more than 1 million people in the United States every year, according to the <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/chicken.html" target="_blank">CDC</a>. <a href="https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/salmonella/symptoms-causes/syc-20355329" target="_blank"><em>Salmonella</em> symptoms</a> typically begin 6 hours to 6 days after infection, and can last from 4 to 7 days. Symptoms associated with a <em>Campylobacter</em> infection start 2 to 5 days after the infection and can last up to a week. As for <em>C.</em> <em>perfringens</em>, the symptoms come on suddenly, typically occurring between 8 to 12 hours after infection, and last for less than 24 hours. Unlike <em>s</em><em>almonella</em> and <em>Campylobacter</em>, vomiting and a high fever are not symptoms associated with <em>C.</em> <em>perfringens</em>.</p>
How to safely prepare chicken<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzI0MzIyNC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTU5NzI3NzAyOX0.Iask-3R_e3L6BkrXCDrRBeuLPmM6IjtO05KKqNPjlj4/img.jpg?width=980" id="0685c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a191cb3ffdf863e3a4f164c222a29474" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="chicken dish" />
Should pharmaceutical companies pay people for their plasma? Here's why paid plasma is a hot ethical issue.
- Human blood is made up of red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and plasma. Plasma is the liquid part of blood. It is used to treat rare blood conditions and has an increasing number of medical applications.
- It is a $26 billion industry, and the US is a major exporter of plasma to other nations. Most nations do not collect enough plasma to sustain therapies for their own citizens. The US has such a large supply of plasma because it pays people to donate plasma—a controversial practice.
- Is it ethical for people to be paid for their plasma? Here, Peter Jaworski, an ethics scholar, explains five key arguments people make against paying people for plasma—safety, security, altruism, commodification, and exploitation—and explains his views on them. What do you think?
Understanding the math behind social distancing.
- Proper social distancing includes staying 6ft (2m) away from other people, avoiding all non-essential gatherings or crowds, and working from home if possible.
- During the COVID-19 incubation period of 5 days, each infected person can infect 2.5 more people.
- Using this math, it's easy to determine how many people will go on to be infected after the initial person contracted COVID-19 using various levels of social distancing (0%, 50% and 75% examples are found in this article).
Quarantine and isolation for COVID-19, explained<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjkwNTM5OC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NDE1ODE0M30.ehm3SCWC7SG781GVK0D3JL8x2REUOwsyWTn65Z38G8o/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=25%2C0%2C73%2C0&height=700" id="de0c8" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="28f421302ea3a309b8c2931944e5cbbf" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="stay home stay safe dice conception social distancing self quarantine COVID-19" />
Health professionals suggest 14 days self-quarantine if you feel you may have been in contact with the virus.
Photo by FrankHH on Shutterstock<p>"Self-quarantine" and "flattening the curve" appear to be common phrases so far in 2020, along with hashtags on social media such as #StayHomeSaveLives and #SelfIsolation...but what does all of this truly mean?</p><p>Senior Director of Infection Prevention at Johns Hopkins (<a href="https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/coronavirus-social-distancing-and-self-quarantine" target="_blank">Dr. Lisa Maragakis</a>) explains just how critical social distancing measures are when it comes to fighting the spread of the new strain of coronavirus. </p><p><strong>What is self-quarantine? </strong></p><p>Self-quarantine is the practice of separating yourself away from others due to the potential that you may be sick (maybe you or someone in your household has shown symptoms of COVID-19, for example). </p><p>If you feel you may have been in contact with the virus at some point, health professionals including Dr. Maragakis suggest a self-quarantine of <a href="https://bigthink.com/politics-current-affairs/coronavirus-incubation" target="_blank">14 (fourteen) days minimum</a> to determine if you will become ill and/or could be contagious to others. </p><p>During this time, <a href="https://bigthink.com/surprising-science/coronavirus" target="_blank">you should</a>:</p><ul><li>Use standard hygiene and washing hands frequently (avoid touching your face)</li><li>Stay at home (have someone else pick up your groceries or use an order-in service)</li><li>Not have visitors</li><li>Refrain from sharing utensils, towels or hygiene products with others in your home</li></ul><p>Once you have completed the minimum quarantine time and no longer show symptoms, this is when you go into "self-isolation" to ensure you do not pick up the virus somewhere and pass it along to others. </p><p><strong>What is self-isolation? </strong></p><p>Isolation, in medical terms, simply means keeping an infected patient away from others to avoid passing the infection. </p><p>Self-isolation in regards to COVID-19 refers to the act of isolating yourself, not specifically with doctor's orders, to avoid contracting the infection and passing it along. </p><p>"<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/article/flatten-curve-coronavirus.html" target="_blank">Flattening the curve</a>" of COVID-19 refers to using protective measures to slow the spread of the infection. </p>
The math behind social distancing: How does it help?<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjkwNTM5OS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxNDYwODU5Mn0.FsZXw4yDFrQmEHGNKRnSSdkMxKjPupfiKx52BIgOjQQ/img.jpg?width=980" id="b1cce" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="f5ebe339897c94177e0137adb14079f6" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="concept of social distancing COVID-19" />
Scientists measure the intensity of an infectious disease by it's "reproduction number", which is the average number of people a sick person could infect.
Image by Poi NATTHAYA on Shutterstock<p> <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html" target="_blank">Social distancing</a> is another term that has become extremely common this year. If carried out properly, social distancing really can save lives. </p><p> <strong>Proper social distancing involves: </strong> </p><ul> <li>Keeping at least 6ft (2m) away from others at all times </li> <li>Avoiding non-essential gatherings and crowds</li> <li>Limiting contact with high-risk groups (the elderly, newborns, etc)</li> <li>Working from home if possible </li> <li>Greeting neighbors or colleagues with a wave instead of handshakes </li> <li>Avoiding going out except for when it's absolutely needed (grocery shopping, to pick up medications, etc) </li> </ul><p> With many places around the world entering "lock-down mode", gatherings including sporting events and concerts have been postponed and people who are able to work from home are being advised to do so to slow down the spread of this virus. </p><p> <strong>How does social distancing help flatten the curve? </strong> </p><p> It all comes down to the math. Scientists at <a href="http://social-distancing.com/" target="_blank">Signer Laboratory</a> in the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California San Diego measure the intensity of an infectious disease by its "reproduction number," which is the average number of people a sick person could infect. </p><p> It's important to keep a couple things in mind when explaining social distancing: </p><ol> <li>There is a direct correlation between social exposure and the reproduction number, which the researchers call R<sub>0</sub>). </li> <li>The incubation period of COVID-19 is approximately 5 days - after this period, the person will either experience symptoms and self-quarantine or be "in the clear". </li> </ol><p> For COVID-19, the average reproduction number (R<sub>0</sub>) has been estimated at 2.5. This means that during the incubation period, each infected person can infect 2.5 more people. </p><p>Here's how the math breaks down for various levels of social distancing, from no measures taken, to 50 and 75 percent social distancing:</p><p> <strong><u>NO SOCIAL DISTANCING MEASURES </u></strong> </p><ul> <li>Continuing your daily life as though nothing is happening</li> <li>Not practicing social distancing at all</li> </ul><p> <strong>Day 1: </strong>Person A contracts the virus </p><p> <strong>Day 5:</strong> Person A infects up to 2.5 people </p><p> <strong>Day 30:</strong> 406 people have been infected </p><p> <strong><u>REDUCING SOCIAL EXPOSURE - 50% </u></strong> </p><ul> <li>Only leaving your house for work and to get groceries</li> <li>Practicing social distancing at work</li> <li>Not physically touching others</li> </ul><p> <strong>Day 1:</strong> Person A contracts the virus </p><p> <strong>Day 5:</strong> Person A infects up to 1.5 people </p><p> <strong>Day 30: </strong>15 people have been infected </p><p> <strong><u>REDUCING SOCIAL EXPOSURE - 75% </u></strong> </p><ul> <li>Self-isolation</li> <li>Only leave your home once or twice a week for the essential needs such as groceries or medical supplies</li> <li>Not having any visitors</li> </ul><p> <strong>Day 1: </strong>Person A contracts the virus </p><p> <strong>Day 5: </strong>Person A infects up to 0.625 people </p><p> <strong>Day 30:</strong> 2.5 people have been infected </p><p> Scientists and health care professionals agree on this one fundamental truth in these difficult times: social distancing can be thought of as the first line of defense against COVID-19. </p><p> <em>"This pandemic can seem overwhelming, but in truth, every person can help slow down the spread of COVID-19. By doing your part,"</em> explains Dr. Maragakis, <em>"you can make a big difference to your health and that of others around you." </em> </p>