Coronavirus new strain symptoms: Four warning signs on your skin to spot

Brazilian coronavirus variant 'is a concern' to UK says expert

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Coronavirus mutations are becoming the norm, with UK health officials scrambling to contain the latest strain on its shores – the P1 variant. This shape-shifting quality extends to the range of possible symptoms associated with the virus. The NHS has consistently stated that there are three main symptoms of coronavirus – cough, high temperature and loss of smell and taste.

Research continues to contradict this assertion, however.

A recent study found that for 17 percent of COVID-19 patients with multiple symptoms, skin rashes were the first symptom to appear, while for 21 percent of patients rashes were their only symptom, reports The Conversation.

Research gathered throughout the pandemic suggests there are four distinct skin changes that can signal COVID-19.

Chilblain-like lesions

These are characterised as red, swollen or blistering skin lesions that affect mainly the toes and soles of the feet, colloquially known as “COVID toes”.

Over the course of one to two weeks, the lesions will become even more discoloured and will flatten, and after this they will spontaneously resolve without treatment.

These lesions appear to be prevalent in adolescents and young adults with no or only mild symptoms of COVID-19.

They account for the majority of skin issues associated with the virus.

In two international reports on different types of suspected COVID-related skin conditions, around 60 percent of patients with skin complaints reported these lesions.

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Maculopapular rash

This term describes both flat and raised areas of discoloured skin.

A study of 375 patients in Spain found that 47 percent of patients with COVID-related skin changes had this kind of rash.

These were associated with more severe COVID-19 symptoms, and were mainly found on the trunk in middle-aged to elderly patients.

They tended to last seven to 18 days, appearing 20 to 36 days after infection.

Hives

Also known as urticaria, these are raised areas of itchy skin.

In a study involving four hospitals in China and Italy, 26 percent of COVID-19 patients that complained of skin changes presented with hives.

Hives typically precede or present at the same time as other symptoms, making them useful for diagnosis.

They are more common among middle-aged patients and are associated with more severe disease.

Vesicular lesions

These are clear fluid-filled sacs under the skin, similar to those seen in chicken pox.

They are less common compared to the skin conditions above: in the previously mentioned Spanish study of skin changes associated with COVID-19, only nine percent of patients had these vesicles.

However, they are thought to be a more specific indication of someone having COVID-19 than the previous skin changes, and so are more useful for diagnosis.

They appear to present in patients with mild disease around 14 days after infection.

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Computer training to reduce trauma symptoms

computing

Computer training applied in addition to psychotherapy can potentially help reduce the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These are the results found by researchers from Ruhr-Universität Bochum and their collaborating partners in a randomized controlled clinical trial with 80 patients with PTSD. With the computerized training, the patients learned to appraise recurring and distressing trauma symptoms in a less negative light and instead to interpret them as a normal and understandable part of processing the trauma. The results are described by a team headed by Dr. Marcella Woud and Dr. Simon Blackwell from the Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, together with the group led by Professor Henrik Kessler from the Clinic for Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy at the LWL University Hospital Bochum in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, published online on 23 February 2021.

Intrusions are a core symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder. Images of the traumatic experience suddenly and uncontrollably re-enter consciousness, often accompanied by strong sensory impressions such as the sounds or certain smells at the scene of the trauma, sometimes even making patients feel as if they are reliving the trauma. “Patients appraise the fact that they are experiencing these intrusions very negatively; they are often afraid that it is a sign that they are losing their mind,” explains Marcella Woud. “The feeling of having no control over the memories and experiencing the wide variety of intense negative emotions that often accompany intrusions make them even more distressing, which in turn reinforces negative appraisals.”

A sentence completion task could help patients to reappraise symptoms

Consequently, trauma therapies specifically address negative appraisals of symptoms such as intrusions. The Bochum-based team set out to establish whether a computerized training targeting these appraisals could also reduce symptoms and, at the same time, help to understand more about the underlying mechanisms of negative appraisals in PTSD. During the training, the patients are shown trauma-relevant sentences on the computer, which they have to complete. For example: “Since the incident, I sometimes react more anxiously than usual. This reaction is under_tand_ble.” Or: “I often think that I myself am to blame for the trauma. Such thoughts are un_ound_d.” The patients’ task is to fill in the word fragment’s first missing letter and by doing so to systematically appraise the statements in a more positive way. The aim is thus to learn that their symptoms are normal reactions and part of the processing of what they have experienced.

Approximately half of the study participants underwent this “cognitive bias modification-appraisal” training, while the other half received a placebo control training—a visual concentration training—which was not designed to change negative appraisals. Both trainings took place during the first two weeks of the patients’ treatment in the clinic, with four sessions each week. One session lasted about 20 minutes. During and after the inpatient treatment, various measurements were collected to record any changes to the symptoms.

Fewer trauma symptoms

Patients who had participated in the appraisal training subsequently rated their symptoms such as intrusions and trauma-relevant thoughts less negatively than patients in the control group, and they also showed fewer other trauma-relevant symptoms after the training. “This leads us to conclude that the training appears to work—at least in the short-term,” says Marcella Woud. “Our study was not designed to examine long-term effects, which is something we will have to do in future studies on top of studying the training’s mechanisms in more detail.”

In addition to the behavioral data, the concentration of the stress hormone cortisol was assessed using hair samples of the patients. A decrease in negative trauma-appraisals was accompanied by a decrease in stress hormones. The team intends to explore this correlation in more detail via follow-up studies.

Transparent study design

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Covid new symptoms: New study shows emerging new symptoms for Coronavirus

Coronavirus deaths spike by 1,052 as new case numbers drop

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There are a plethora of symptoms associated with COVID-19 and the list continues to be updated. A new study suggests chills, loss of appetite, headache and muscle aches should be added to the list. The findings are based on swab tests and questionnaires taken from June up until last month as part of Imperial College London’s REACT study of over one million people.

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Coronavirus new strain: Dr Hilary shares ‘major’ risk factor you can change for COVID-19

Coronavirus: New strain 'significantly more risky' says expert

CORONAVIRUS is an indiscriminate threat – it can seriously affect anyone of any age. However, researchers have found a strong association between one’s health and the risk of severe COVID-19. Speaking on GMB on Tuesday, Dr Hilary issued a dire warning about excess weight. He said: “Obesity causes general inflammation in the body and that’s a major risk factor for COVID-19.”

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Vitamin B12 deficiency: Delirium linked to low B12 levels – how to spot it

This Morning: Guest reveals symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency

Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that helps keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. Vitamin B12 also helps prevent a type of anaemia (low red blood cell count) called megaloblastic anaemia that makes people tired and weak. A torrent of symptoms can therefore accompany B12 deficiency.

A lesser-known branch of symptoms associated with B12 deficiency are neuropsychiatric symptoms.

Neuropsychiatry term describes medical conditions that straddle both neurology and psychiatry.

Research suggests the neuropsychiatric symptoms associated with B12 deficiency may be concurrent or precede the other symptoms.

A case report published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition links delirium to low B12 levels.

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Delirium is a serious disturbance in mental abilities that results in confused thinking and reduced awareness of the environment.

The reported case is a clinical case of delirium due to vitamin B12 deficiency in a female vegetarian patient.

Initially, it was difficult to diagnose this patient, who presented with delirium that could have been due to multiple causes.

“The finding underlines the importance of conducting a complete laboratory test panel for delirium, including the blood levels of vitamin B12,” the researchers concluded.

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What is the link between vegetarianism and B12 deficiency?

People adhering to a strict vegetarian or vegan diet are more prone to B12 deficiency than meat eaters.

That’s because vitamin B12 is found naturally in a wide variety of animal foods.

According to the National Institutes of Health, plant foods have no vitamin B12 unless they are fortified.

B12 sources include:

  • Beef liver and clams, which are the best sources of vitamin B12.
  • Fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and other dairy products, which also contain vitamin B12.
  • Some breakfast cereals, nutritional yeasts and other food products that are fortified with vitamin B12. To find out if vitamin B12 has been added to a food product, check the product labels.

How to treat B12 deficiency

The treatment for vitamin B12 or folate deficiency anaemia depends on what’s causing the condition.

The patient in the case study was as treated with vitamin B12 supplementation.

According to the NHS, if your vitamin B12 deficiency is caused by a lack of the vitamin in your diet, you may be prescribed vitamin B12 tablets to take every day between meals.

“People who find it difficult to get enough vitamin B12 in their diets, such as those following a vegan diet, may need vitamin B12 tablets for life,” explains the health body.

Vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia is usually treated with injections of vitamin B12.

There are two types of vitamin B12 injections:

  • Hydroxocobalamin
  • Cyanocobalamin.

This is a common treatment method for B12 deficiency because the most common cause of vitamin B12 deficiency in the UK is pernicious anaemia, which is not related to your diet.

Pernicious anaemia is an autoimmune disease that prevents the body from making intrinsic factor (a protein made by the stomach and needed to absorb vitamin B12 in the intestine).

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Low potassium levels can raise your blood pressure – how to tell you’re deficient

High blood pressure: Lifestyle changes to reduce reading

High blood pressure – a process whereby the force of blood pushing against your artery walls is consistently too high – is usually attributed to unhealthy lifestyle decisions. This is reassuring because it means you can easily reverse it by improving your lifestyle. It is invariably linked to poor dietary habits and high up on the list is not getting enough potassium in your diet.

Potassium, which is found in the foods we eat, helps the body to perform its vital functions, not least assisting blood pressure.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, pharmacist Mina Khan explains how high blood pressure is often the result of potassium deficiency.

“If we don’t get enough potassium, we can develop something called Hypokalemia, which is low potassium levels in the blood,” she says.

“This deficiency can lead to a whole host of medical problems, such as high blood pressure, kidney disease, fatigue and more.”

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As Khan explains, our bodies rely on potassium to help our muscles contract (including the heart) and also to balance sodium levels in our bodies.

“So when we don’t get enough potassium, our blood vessels are much more likely to have trouble relaxing, and therefore our blood pressure will increase,” she says.

This mechanism can lead to stroke, heart attack and many other problems.

“On top of this, when we don’t get enough potassium, our bodies are less able to balance the levels of sodium in our bodies,” says Khan.

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“This can be particularly dangerous for those who have a high salt intake, as this can quickly get out of control and again lead to an increase in blood pressure,” she warns.

It’s therefore “extremely important” to make sure you’re getting the right balance of potassium, Khan adds.

Potassium deficiency – key warning signs

According to Khan, too little potassium can leave you feeling tired, constipated, weak and breathless.

“You may also have a numbing or tingling sensation,” she says.

Crucially, you may not have any symptoms at all, warns Khan.

“So it’s vital that you make sure you’re getting a healthy amount of potassium in your diet.”

That said – it’s equally as important that you don’t have too much potassium, adds Khan.

“As this can cause hyperkalemia (high levels of potassium in the blood), which causes its own array of problems, including irregular heartbeats and can even lead to a heart attack.”

What are the best sources of potassium?

Potassium is found in most types of food. According to the NHS, good sources of potassium include:

  • Bananas
  • Some vegetables – such as broccoli, parsnips and Brussells sprouts
  • Beans and pulses
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Fish
  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Turkey.

Adults (19 to 64 years) need 3,500mg of potassium a day – you should be able to get all the potassium you need from your daily diet, explains the health body.

“If you take potassium supplements, do not take too much as this could be harmful,” warns the health body.

Taking too much potassium can cause stomach pain, feeling sick and diarrhoea, it says.

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Thyroid cancer symptoms: Lump in the neck could be a sign – when it is cancerous

Thyroid cancer: Know the symptoms

Thyroid cancer is when abnormal cells in the thyroid gland start to divide and grow in an uncontrolled way. The thyroid gland is a small gland at the base of the neck that produces hormones. “Without treatment, cancer cells can eventually grow into surrounding healthy tissues and may spread to other areas of the body,” warns Cancer Research UK.

It is therefore imperative to act on the warning signs as soon as they appear to strengthen treatment outcomes.

One of the main symptoms is a painless lump or swelling low down in the front of the neck, according to the NHS.

“However, neck lumps are common and are usually caused by a less serious condition, such as an enlarged thyroid (goitre),” explains the health body.

According to the latest figures, only around one in every 20 neck lumps are cancer.

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According to the NHS, a neck lump is more likely to be cancer if it:

  • Feels firm
  • Does not move around easily under the skin
  • Gets bigger over time.

“See a GP if you have a swelling or lump at the front of your neck. While it’s unlikely to be cancer, it’s important to get it checked,” advises the health body.

Other symptoms to look out for

Other symptoms of thyroid cancer include:

  • Swollen glands in the neck
  • Unexplained hoarseness that does not get better after a few weeks
  • A sore throat that does not get better
  • Pain in your neck
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing.

Am I at risk?

It’s not usually clear what causes thyroid cells to grow uncontrollably but there are a number of things that can increase your risk.

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It is important to note that having any of the risk factors doesn’t mean that you will definitely develop cancer.

According to Cancer Research UK, some non cancerous (benign) conditions of the thyroid increase your risk of thyroid cancer.

These include:

  • Nodules (adenomas)
  • An enlarged thyroid (goitre)
  • Inflammation of the thyroid (thyroiditis).

“Thyroid cancer is more common in people who had radiotherapy treatment, particularly in people treated with radiotherapy when they were children,” warns Cancer Research UK.

According to the charity, people who have low levels of iodine in their body might have a higher risk of thyroid cancer after exposure to radiation than people with normal iodine levels.

Furthermore, you have a higher risk if you have a family member with thyroid cancer, it adds.

There is also a modifiable risk factor associated with developing thyroid cancer – obesity.

According to Macmillan Cancer Support, it is thought that people who are overweight may have a higher risk of getting thyroid cancer.

A healthy diet and regular exercise may therefore reduce the risk by helping you to maintain a healthy weight.

How to treat thyroid cancer

Treatment for thyroid cancer will depend on the stage of the cancer and your general health.

“Surgery is usually the first treatment. You may also have treatment with radioactive iodine or thyroid replacement therapy,” explains Macmillan Cancer Support.

It adds: “Occasionally, you may have external beam radiotherapy, targeted therapies or chemotherapy.”

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Mental Health Symptoms Common for Perinatal Women During COVID-19

THURSDAY, Dec. 3, 2020 — Mental health symptoms are common among perinatal women during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study published online Nov. 4 in Psychiatry Research.

Cindy H. Liu, Ph.D., from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and colleagues examined COVID-19-related health worries and grief and current mental health symptoms among 1,123 U.S. women (pregnant and postpartum) during the COVID-19 pandemic (May 21 to Aug. 17, 2020).

The researchers found that 36.4, 22.7, and 10.3 percent of respondents reported clinically significant levels of depression, generalized anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), respectively. The likelihood of scoring at clinically significant levels of depression, generalized anxiety, and PTSD was increased 1.6- to 3.7-fold for women with preexisting mental health diagnoses based on their self-reported history. High levels of COVID-19-related health worries were reported by about 18 percent, and they were 2.06- to 4.2-fold more likely to score above the clinical threshold for mental health symptoms. High levels of grief were reported by about 9 percent, and they were 4.8 to 5.5 times more likely to score above the clinical threshold for mental health symptoms.

“Because COVID-19-related health worries and grief experiences are risk factors for probable depression or anxiety, women who show elevated worries and grief should be screened further for these diagnoses,” the authors write. “Taking these steps may help reduce maternal psychiatric distress.”

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Do you have the flu or COVID-19? How to spot the differences between symptoms

The timing is pretty awful: We’re entering flu season during the COVID-19 pandemic, at a time when most of the nation is experiencing serious spikes in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.

So what are the differences between the two illnesses, and how do we know which one we might have? Can you get them both at the same time?

First, a few fast facts:

  • The flu (influenza) and COVID-19 are both respiratory illnesses, and both are contagious, but they are not the same virus.
  • COVID-19 spreads more easily than the flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control, and can cause more serious illnesses in some people.
  • COVID symptoms don’t always show up as fast as flu symptoms, and people seem to stay sick longer with COVID than with the flu.

But as far as the actual symptoms, there are few differences.

The CDC advises that since it’s hard to tell the difference between COVID-19 and seasonal flu symptoms, it’s best to get testing to confirm a diagnosis.

Here’s more information on symptoms.

COVID-19 symptoms

Not every person infected with the new coronavirus has all symptoms listed here.

COVID-19 symptoms include: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea.

Seasonal flu symptoms

The list of flu symptoms is very similar to COVID symptoms: fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue.

With the flu, some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

The bottom line: COVID-19 and the flu essentially have the same symptoms, except the “new loss of sense of taste or smell” is unique to COVID. The other main difference is that COVID causes more serious illnesses and more deaths in some people, so take it seriously.

Could you have COVID and the flu at the same time?

The CDC says that yes, it’s possible to have both viruses at the same time. If you are experiencing symptoms and believe you are sick, contact a physician to be tested for the flu and COVID-19.

What about flu and COVID-19 vaccines?

There are flu vaccines available, and the CDC advises everyone age 6 months and older get the shot (with rare exceptions).

The COVID-19 vaccines are starting to be approved by the FDA, with health providers, first responders and the elderly listed as among the first people expected to receive it by the end of this year. For most people, the COVID vaccine will be available later in 2021.

What about colds and allergies?

Signs of a cold commonly include sneezing, a runny/stuffy nose, aches and a sore throat. A cough can accompany a cold (particularly in later stages of a cold), but fevers are considered rare.

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Coronavirus symptoms: Sixth most common symptom of COVID-19 increases death risk

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It’s well known that a COVID-19 infection becomes more severe in those with underlying health conditions or the elderly. Now a study reveals a sixth most common symptom increases death risk by 24 percent. Why does the delirium symptom increase fatalities amongst the elderly?

Delirium is a symptom caused by COVID-19 affecting elderly patients and has been reported to be found in around one in three over-65s.

Scientists note the delirium symptom is cause for worry amongst the elderly as it increases their likelihood of a possible severe infection resulting in death.

The study involved 817 older patients testing positive for COVID-19 with 28 percent of them being diagnosed with delirium.

What is delirium?

Delirium is a serious disturbance in mental abilities that results in confused thinking and reduced awareness of the environment, said the Mayo Clinic.

The health site continued: “The start of delirium is usually rapid within hours or a few days.

“Signs and symptoms of delirium usually begin over a few hours or a few days.

“They often fluctuate throughout the day, and there may be periods of no symptoms.

“Symptoms tend to be worse during the night when it’s dark and things look less familiar.”

What the study said

In the study published in JAMA Network, delirium in older patients with COVID-19 was further investigated.

The study noted: “In this cohort study of 817 older ED patients with COVID-19, 28 percent had delirium at presentation, and delirium was the sixth most common of all presenting symptoms and signs.

“Among delirious patients, 16 percent presented with delirium as a primary symptom and 37 percent had no typical COVID-19 symptoms or signs, such as cough or fever.

“In this cohort study of 817 older adults with COVID-19 presenting to US emergency departments, delirium was common and often was seen without other typical symptoms or signs.

“In addition, delirium was associated with poor hospital outcomes and death.

“These findings suggest the clinical importance of including delirium on checklists of presenting signs and symptoms of COVID-19 that guide screening, testing, and evaluation.”

What the experts said

Dr Rose Penfold, an epidemiologist at King’s, said: “Older, frailer people are at greater risk from COVID-19 than those who are fitter, and our results show that delirium is a key symptom in this group.

“Doctors and carers should watch out for any changes in mental state in elderly people, such as confusion or strange behaviour, and be alert to the fact that this could be an early sign of coronavirus infection.”

To confirm the link of delirium and a COVID-19 infection, Dr Claire Steves, consultant geriatrician, and her collaborators also assessed older patients with COVID-19 at St Thomas’ hospital in London for signs of delirium.

The finding proved consistent across both data sets, revealing that delirium was strongly associated with a positive COVID-19 test.

Dr Steves said: “Right at the beginning of the pandemic we noticed just anecdotally that patients with coronavirus were coming in with acute confusion and disorientation.

“The big question is if people with coronavirus are developing delirium because the virus has a huge effect on the body and the immune system, as we might see with other infections, or is there something more specific with coronavirus and the brain?”

Dr Steve suspects that the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, may enter nerve cells in the brain, disrupting them and causing delirium symptoms.

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