Is Coronavirus Gender Biased? Health Tips!

  • Feb 16, 2020 AEDT
  • Team Kalkine
Is Coronavirus Gender Biased? Health Tips!

When it comes to mortality, surviving ailment or handling agony, women are found to be stronger than men.

The slogan seems to be once again proved during the deadly epidemic of Coronavirus, as majority of the patients dealing with the virus are older men with pre-illness history. Several studies have been conducted with the patients and each revealing that Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) unduly affects older men, especially with a pre-existing illness such as diabetes and heart illness. The factors could be the genetics, as well as habits like smoking and exposure to hazardous work, and most importantly, hormonal differences, leading to a weaker immune system among men than women.

It is worth mentioning that women have autoimmune syndromea condition in which your immune system attacks your own body to further boost the immune system, at a rate double than men, resulting in a more robust shield towards epidemic.

Even at the time of SARS outbreak, males were more infected than females. Experiments conducted on mice during the outbreak had found that males were more susceptible than females, maybe because of the presence of estrogen hormones.

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With the above info, one doubt may arise that what will be the impact on children as the hormone is undeveloped?

As of 22 Jan 2020, no children below 15 years have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Also, recently a paper has been posted in the New England Journal of Medicine, stating that children are less likely to get infected by Coronavirus or show fewer symptoms if affected. However, few cases among children have been recently reported.

According to a report presented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2007, children younger than or equal to 12 years depicted milder symptoms of SARS than the grownups. Also, during the epidemic, no infants or teenagers died, and the epidemic period saw only one incident of SARS transmission from a child to another person.

In the current coronavirus outbreak, few children have gotten sick and one general reason can be that the affected adult person is more careful towards covering mouths, washing their hands and self-isolate from family to protect the members, especially children. At the same time, the reverse case can be seen in children becoming more dangerous, as it may appear because of the nature of play around or cuddle with a parent even if they are sick.

However, as per the CDC, once caught by a virus, children to the age 5 are vulnerable to more risk of developing severe complications such as kidney failure, respiratory issues and pneumonia to mention few. This is because the children have higher immunological response, leading to fever and damaging tissues while fighting off the infections.

Having said that, one incident of Coronavirus was reported in a newborn at the hospital of Wuhan, China. The mother of the baby was tested positive for COVID-19 before giving birth. The case of mother to child transmission or infection after birth is quite arguable, as the baby had no cough or fever but the shortness of breath.

How Contagious is this Virus?

Coronavirus is contagious and can be transmitted from one person to person via coughing, sneezing and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Interestingly, JAMA, a medical journal, in a recent publication depicted that around 41% of the initial 138 patients were diagnosed at one hospital in Wuhan, the centre for the epidemic. That means due to the poor hygiene or less care or unawareness regarding the severity, the virus spread within the hospital, affecting nearly half of the initial patients. The seriousness of the contamination can weigh, as many health workers and even doctors got infected by the COVID-19.

Coronavirus Preventive Measures, Untangling Myths VS Reality!

World Health Organization (WHO) has come up with home preventive measures from infection and curing the patients suspected of the virus: -

  • Isolation: Isolate the patients in a well-ventilated room to reduce the movement and minimise the shared spaces such as a kitchen or bathroom. One person should be assigned as a caretaker for the patients than the whole family. The member of the family should maintain distance, and if not possible, then the separation of at least one-metre range should be maintained.
  • Hygiene: Perform hand hygiene at each time it is in contact with patients or its environment. For the same, use sanitiser if the hand is not soiled or else use soap and water. Dry hand with paper towels, if not possible use regular towel and replace if they become wet. Also, wash hand before preparing and eating food, after using washroom or even when the hand looks dirty.
  • Medical Equipment (Mask): Apply the mask to the patient and if he/she can't tolerate then proper respiratory hygiene should be maintained such as the closing of the mouth while coughing or sneezing with suitable disposable tissue paper. The handkerchief or clothes should be discarded or washed regularly with soap or detergent. The caretaker should also wear a tightly fitted mask, and it should not be touched while treating or if it gets wet then immediately should be replaced with a new and dry cover.
  • Utensils: It is wise to use a dedicated linen and eating utensils for the patient. These utensils can be cleaned with soap and water after use. Patient’s bathroom, clothes, towels, etc., should not be touched with bare hands but gloves along with masks or other protective clothing. Do not shake soiled laundry and prevent direct contact of the skin and clothes with the infected items.
  • Avoid Sharing: No cigarettes, eating utensils, drinks, dishes, towels, clothes or bed linen should be washed together with an item of the non-effected person.
  • Transportation of Patients: Priorly inform the medical facility about the patient’s visit to the hospital. It is better to avoid public transport to the hospital, instead call an ambulance. The patient should properly be masked and protected from transmitting the infections. The stained surface with respiratory secretions and any other body fluids, if any, at the time of travelling, should be cleaned with soap or detergent and sanitary with a regular household product containing a diluted bleach at 0.5%

"With every expression, guideline or source, myths arise, and in the advent of such prevailing deadly outbreak it is essential to shatter the myths to come out of falsehood and prepare oneself to fight the epidemic."

There are some myths that are floating around ranging from the spread of Coronavirus from pets and animal meat to being unsafe to receive a delivery from China. As per WHO, there is no evidence supporting pets such as dogs or cats spreading COVID-19. Also, it is worth mentioning that it is a respiratory disease that spreads if the person comes in contact with such respiratory secretion such as saliva or discharge from the nose from the infected person but not the animal. Also, a package from China does not provide life shelves for Coronavirus to survive.

The other myths to mention few, hovering around, are that there exists medicine for the treatment of the virus, and it affects only older people. As of now, there is no specific medicine available for the treatment of disease. However, the infected person receives intensive care to treat the symptom such as fever and respiratory illness, to protect it from getting transmitted.

Also, any individual can get infected by Coronavirus, be adults, men, women and children. Though older people with a history of medical illness are prone to the virus and susceptible to get severe disease due to a weak immune system. 

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