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Infectious Diseases

Updated 06 October 2020

Coronavirus morning recap: Test gone wrong, social media, and keeping safe while shopping

Woman suffers brain fluid leak after having nasal test for Covid-19, could social media use increase depression and secondary trauma; and hand sanitisers vs wipes.

LATEST SCIENCE AND RESEARCH

READ | Woman suffers brain fluid leak after having nasal test for Covid-19

A 40-year-old US woman who underwent a Covid-19 nasal swab test experienced more than just an uncomfortable itch and tickle; the swab procedure ended up rupturing the lining at the base of her skull, causing cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) to leak from her nose and putting her at risk of brain infection.

The case was reported in the medical journal, JAMA Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery this week.

The doctors wrote that the patient had an rare undiagnosed condition, and that the test she received may have been carried out improperly, causing the rupture. This means that health risks associated with nasal swab tests remain very low.

The patient had a compulsory Covid-19 test ahead of an elective hernia surgery.

Shortly afterwards, she started noticing clear fluid coming out of one nostril, and subsequently developed headache, vomiting, neck stiffness, metallic taste and photophobia (aversion to light), the case report reads.

Although her case is a rare event, Jarrett Walsh, senior author of the paper told AFP that her case shows that healthcare professionals should take special care to follow testing protocols closely, and that patients who have undergone extensive sinus or skull base surgery should consider requesting oral testing if available.

READ | Could social media use during Covid-19 increase depression and secondary trauma?

If you scroll through all your social media platforms and are constantly being bombarded with bad news, you might want to take a break, researchers from Penn State and Jinan University urge.

The negative side-effects of social media were known well before the Covid-19 pandemic, but in these uncertain times we need to be extra careful as excessive use of social media for Covid-19 health information can be linked to depression and secondary trauma, stated the team.

"We found that social media use was rewarding up to a point, as it provided informational, emotional and peer support related to Covid-19 health topics," said Bu Zhong, associate professor of journalism, Penn State. "However, excessive use of social media led to mental health issues. The results imply that taking a social media break may promote well-being during the pandemic, which is crucial to mitigating mental health harm inflicted by the pandemic."

The new research was published online in the journal Computers in Human Behavior and included 320 participants from urban districts in Wuhan, China. In February 2020, as the outbreak escalated, the participants completed a survey which investigated how they accessed and shared crucial health information with their family, friends and colleagues on social media, specifically WeChat, a popular social media mobile app in China.

The researchers then measured Facebook addiction to assess the participants’ use of WeChat. They also investigated and assessed the participants’ views of WeChat.

In addition, they investigated any health behaviour changes by using a 12-item Depression Anxiety Stress Scale and found that more than half of the participants experienced some level of depression, while 20% of them suffered moderate or severe depression.

READ | Do sanitising sprays on trolley handles really kill the coronavirus?

Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit South African shores earlier this year, retail stores have been doing their best to battle the spread of the virus.

In addition to the usual disinfectant trolley wipes, most stores have an employee at store entrances to spritz trolley handles with sanitising liquid - often contained in an unlabelled bottle.

However, some disinfectants may not contain the correct levels of alcohol to effectively kill the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Rhodes University tested sanitisers at an Eastern Cape boarding school, where more than 200 staff and pupils tested positive for the virus this year, and found that they only contained only 57.6% alcohol – less than the required minimum alcohol content, News24 reported.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), alcohol-based sanitisers need to contain at least 60% alcohol to effectively kill the virus.

According to Bernard Reeksting, chemical scientist and former director of the Centre for Polymer Technology at the CSIR, even if a spray kills SARS-CoV-2, it may not necessarily be the most effective way of disinfecting surfaces.

CORONAVIRUS CASES LATEST

SA cases update: 

The latest number of confirmed cases is 682 215.

According to the latest update, 17 016 deaths have been recorded in the country.

There have been 615 684 recoveries.

So far, more than 4.28 million tests have been conducted, with 10 714 new tests reported.

Global cases update:

For the latest global data, follow this interactive map from Johns Hopkins University & Medicine.

Early on Tuesday morning, positive cases worldwide were more than 35.34 million, while deaths were nearly 1.04 million.

The United States had the most cases in the world - more than 7.45 million, as well as the most deaths - more than 210 000.

HEALTH TIPS (as recommended by the NICD and WHO)

• Maintain physical distancing – stay at least one metre away from somebody who is coughing or sneezing

• Practise frequent hand-washing, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, as your hands touch many surfaces and could potentially transfer the virus

• Practise respiratory hygiene – cover your mouth with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Remember to dispose the tissue immediately after use.

Image credit: Getty Images