COVID-19 Roundup: Hyperglycemia Tied to Higher Risk, Reusable Masks and Nerve Injury


This week, some of the latest scientific studies on the coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19 revise risks posed by abnormal blood sugar levels, examine after-effects of disease and address a challenge in health Care sector.

High blood sugar tied to COVID-19 risk in nondiabetics

According to a new study of 11,000 COVID-19 patients in Spain, high blood sugar may indicate a rocky trend for COVID-19 patients seeking hospital care, even if they do not have diabetes.

No one was critically ill when they got to the hospital. However, researchers found the arrival with higher-normal blood sugar levels have higher chances of dying there – regardless of whether they are diabetic.

Overall, 20% of the patients died while hospitalized, including 16% of people with blood sugar below 140 milligrams per deciliter (mg / dL) at admission, 34% of those with levels from 140 to 180 mg / dl, and 41% of Patients with levels above 180 mg / dL. (A level of 200 mg / dL or higher indicates diabetes.)

After taking into account age and medical conditions, patients with the highest levels are 50% more likely to die in the hospital than patients with the lowest levels. People with elevated blood sugar are also at a higher risk of intensive care and mechanical breathing assistance.

In a report published in the Annals of Medicine, the researchers say accurate control of blood sugar should be required in the management of patients hospitalized with COVID-19, regardless of whether they have diabetes.

A medical staff member Tana Ingram monitors a patient's blood sugar level at the COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU) at the UN.  (Getty Images / AFP Photo)

A medical staff member Tana Ingram monitors a patient’s blood sugar level at the COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the UN. (Getty Images / AFP Photo)

No good response yet for decontaminating masks for reuse

According to a study published in the American Journal of Infection Control, there is no single method of decontaminating personal protective equipment (PPE) for re-use as best, according to a study published in the American Journal of Infection Control, and re-recommendation is not recommended. Use if one can avoid it.

Researchers analyzed 40 studies that tested various methods for sterilization of N95 masks and higher-end filters. They included steam, hydrogen peroxide, ultraviolet light, microwaves and electric cookers, among others. Disinfectant agents such as bleach, soap and water and alcohol were also tested. The outcomes differed by mask model, manufacturer and sterilization or disinfection process.

Furthermore, most methods simply caused at least some structural damage or weakening of the filtration capacity of the masks, according to associate Vanessa de Brito Poveda of University of São Paulo, Brazil.

Along with disinfection or sterilization processes, health systems that reuse masks must consider the need for traceability if the same mask can be shared by different professionals; Controlling the number of reuses of each mask; Training personnel to inspect the integrity and functionality of the mask after routine wear and cleaning methods to eliminate organic matter and soil (like residual cosmetics).

“The scientific evidence up to this moment does not support any trial as safe,” said de Brito Poveda, though she believes automated methods are safer than manual methods.

A man wearing a self-made face mask wins out from arthritic pain when he waits to register for a bedroom spot for the Bullfight ring Plaza de Toros de Acho in Lima, Peru, March 31, 2020. (AP Photo)

A man wearing a self-made face mask wins out from arthritic pain when he waits to sign up for a bedroom spot for the Bullfight ring Plaza de Toros de Acho in Lima, Peru, March 31, 2020. (AP Photo)

Lingering pain after COVID-19 may be nerve injuries

Patients with lingering pain after COVID-19 may have nerve injuries, according to a report published last week in radiology.

The researchers said that lingering pain in COVID-19 survivors may be due to nerve dysfunction caused by the virus itself, or it could be a side effect of treatment in the hospital. These may include nerve issues that are positioned in a way that helped the lungs recover but put pressure on other body parts or put pressure on a nerve of blood that pulled after prevention of blood clot.

High-tech imaging methods like magnetic resonance and ultrasound ultra-high resolution can help identify the location and extent of nerve damage, the researchers found when they reviewed previous study reports.

“Clinicians should (suspect nerve injury) in COVID patients who are left with chronic pain and weakness, particularly since early diagnosis and appropriate treatment is critical to prevent irreversible damage,” said Couture Drs. Swati Deshmukh of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois told Reuters.

During the pandemic, Deshmukh added, when patients come with unexplained new nerve and muscle symptoms, doctors should consider testing them for COVID-19.

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