There has been an overload of information concerning the Covid-19 pandemic facing our country and the globe at large.
As expected a lot of us remain anxious and in panic about the unfolding events and I hope this will enable us to somewhat dispel some of this panic.
1. Do you know what Covid-19 is? – It is a communicable disease of zoonotic origin (initial spread from contact with an animal) that was confirmed in Dec 2019 in China and is now spreading through human – human transmission.
2. Do you know how Covid-19 is spread? – Spread occurs when an infected person coughs/ sneezes and the droplets get into contact with your mucous membranes through the eyes, nose, lips or mouth
3. Do you know the symptoms of Covid-19 infection? – The main symptoms are very similar to flu symptoms including:-
- Sore throat
- Difficulty in breathing / shortness of breath
- Severe respiratory tract infections.
4. Do you know who can be infected? – People of all age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion etc. can be infected. The elderly and those with comorbid conditions such as heart disease, chronic respiratory diseases etc are at a higher risk.
Thankfully, for yet unknown reasons, children are faring extremely well globally with very few (if any) reported deaths resulting from corona virus infection.
5. Do you know how you can prevent infection?
- By practicing good hand hygiene through thorough hand washing with soap and water (for at least 20 seconds) and sanitizing with an alcohol based sanitizer (above 70% alcohol content for at least 20 seconds);
- coughing / sneezing onto the inner side of the elbow
- avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- Social-distancing (avoiding crowds)
- Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched – e.g. door handles, light switches, toilet handles, staircase rails, lift buttons etc.
(Whenever possible avoid touching surfaces as the virus is said to survive for even more than 3 days on inanimate objects).
- Self-isolation when you feel unwell i.e. stay home and monitor your symptoms from home and only leave to go to the hospital if symptoms worsen.
A lot if not all of the information above is known to you, therefore proving that you know a lot of what you should and that you do have power in how you play a part in the spread and in the prevention of Covid-19. You therefore also have the power to protect not only yourself but your loved ones, your colleagues, the vulnerable aging community and the society at large.
A few pointers that may not be above:-
- Avoid visiting hospitals un-necessarily – call those in hospital for whatever reason and reassure them without having to physically go there.
- Avoid social media overload of material that is mostly unconfirmed and untrue – for valid information please visit the WHO website which gives a lot of updated authentic information.
- Educate your home workers who may not have access to this information and ensure they too wash their hands thoroughly especially when they leave your home for whatever reason (off-day, market etc.).
- Take a minute or two every hour to look around/ take a walk and appreciate the wonder that nature is.
- Before you sleep, think about 3 things you are grateful for every day, and when you wake, think of 3 things you hope to achieve in the day (this should be the very last and very first things after turning off/ before turning on your cell phone.
- Talk to your children about what is going on – keep it honest and age appropriate. They easily sense our anxiety and they feed off it so work on keeping yourself calm so it reflects the same to them.
Finally, remember to pray for the situation we now find ourselves in - that the Lord who is all knowing (and is not shocked or surprised by this turn of events) will give us the wisdom and strength, as a globe to fight this disease and be cognizant of the fact that there are lessons we must learn from this experience.
Dr. Sheila Kamuyu
World Diabetes -14th November
World Diabetes Day is celebrated every year on 14th November.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic disease that results in raised blood sugar/glucose levels. Blood sugar levels are regulated by Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas. In diabetes, Insulin is either not produced in adequate amounts or the insulin produced is not used effectively.
Prolonged exposure of the body’s organs to this environment results in often fatal complications involving the kidneys, heart, eyes, blood vessels and nerves.
Diabetes is one of the leading causes of mortality in the world today and is placed among the top four non communicable diseases along with cardiovascular (heart) disease, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases.
A diagnosis of diabetes is made when the fasting blood glucose level is ≥ 7 mmol/l.
Types of Diabetes
1. Type 1 Diabetes – there is deficient production of insulin.
2. Type 2 Diabetes – the body ineffectively uses the insulin produced. Accounts for >90% of all diabetes cases.
3. Prediabetes - impaired fasting blood glucose levels of 6.0 mmol/l to < 7 mmol/l. Action can be taken to prevent progression to Type 2 diabetes.
4. Gestational Diabetes - blood glucose levels are above normal but below those diagnostic of diabetes during pregnancy. These women and their children are at an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life.
What are the Risk Factors?
1. Being obese /overweight – this is especially dangerous if the fat is concentrated around ones mid-section.
2. Sedentary lifestyle – a minimum of 30 min of moderate exercise 3 or more days a week
3. Age – increased risk above 40 years
4. Family history of diabetes
5. Race – increased in Africans & Asians
How is Diabetes Treated?
Positive lifestyle changes can not only reduce diabetes symptoms, but also reverse some types of diabetes. The lifestyle changes entail eating healthier, physically active, losing weight and avoiding tobacco use.
That said, a majority of diabetics still require daily oral or inject-able medication to keep their sugar levels within normal range.
• There are 422 million people living with diabetes in the world today with more than half being in low & middle income countries.
• In 2016, an estimated 1.6 million deaths globally were directly caused by diabetes.
• In 2015, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) estimated the diabetes prevalence for Kenya to be 2.2%.
• An estimated 2/3 of diabetics remain undiagnosed.
• Diabetes is a leading cause of chronic kidney disease, lower-limb amputations and adult-onset blindness.
World Diabetes Day serves to remind everyone of their part in the fight against Diabetes – both individually and as a community. Your part is to share the knowledge, reduce your risk and get your blood sugar checked regularly.
Have a Diabetes Aware day :-)