Each week, we answer “frequently asked questions” about life during the coronavirus crisis. If you have a question you’d like us to consider for a future post, email us at email@example.com with the subject line: “Weekly Coronavirus Questions.”
I hate shots. Tell me the truth: How much is this vaccination going to hurt?
The honest, and short, answer appears to be: Not much! That’s according to people who have already been jabbed including Vice President Kamala Harris, who said she “barely felt it,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, who didn’t flinch when he got his inoculation on live TV, and my needle-averse son, who is in Moderna’s adolescent trial and says the poke hurt way less than any other he’s gotten.
“From my own experience, I didn’t even feel the needle go in,” says Dr. Jill Weatherhead, assistant professor of adult and pediatric infectious diseases at Baylor College of Medicine.
Experts say the coronavirus vaccine should feel about the same as any other intramuscular vaccine shot when the needle pierces your skin en route to your deltoid, a muscle that has been deemed an easy target. But there’s some evidence to back up the anecdotal accounts that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines hurt less: There is a range in the CDC’s guidelines for needle size, and vaccine administrators may be opting for the smallest length and diameter within those limits in order not to waste any amount that clings to the needle, says Dr. Abinash Virk, co-chair of the COVID vaccination allocation and distribution for the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
Previous research has shown that smaller needles are more tolerable, Weatherhead says. And in case you’re a numbers nerd, the diameter range, which likely matter more than length in terms of potential pain, is 25-28 gauge— skinnier than a pencil point.
“I’ve heard people say, I didn’t feel it!'” Virk says. “But it is a needle piercing through your skin, inserting a little bit of liquid into a spot that normally doesn’t have [liquid], so your body has to adjust: ‘What do I do with this .3 ml ?’ So it just causes a little bit of pain.”
Of course, people’s perceptions of pain vary widely.
“There’s so much individual variation,” Virk points out. “I’ve seen kids who don’t blink and others who bring the house down. Interestingly, I ran the trial clinic at Mayo Clinic for 17 years, and it was usually the young, very fit guys who were not doing well. For the most muscular, tough guys, here comes the needle and you hold on to them to make sure they don’t fall off the table.”
So what can the needle-phobic among us do to ease the experience? We asked Drs. Virks and Weatherhead for tips:
If you’re not a fan of needles, don’t watch, Weatherhead says. “Many do not like the look or feel of needles, so look away to quell fears and anxiety related to needles.”
Of course, it’s fine to keep your eye on things if you tolerate shots well. “My 5-year-old loves to watch,” Weatherhead says. “It’s all personal. Whatever makes you feel more comfortable and confident to get this done, do it.”
Don’t take a pain reliever beforehand (but afterward is fine if needed)
Some research on other vaccines suggests there could be “a slight blunting of the immune response” in kids who took Tylenol before their shots, Dr. Virk says. Even though a different study of older adults did not back that up, most experts are erring on the safe side and recommending not to take any pain relievers beforehand.
“You don’t want to be taking medicine you don’t need,” Weatherhead says. “If you develop symptoms afterward, then at that point it’s certainly OK to take some sort of pain relief to help control symptoms.”
Be honest with jittery offspring
If it’s your child who is nervous, the best strategy is honesty, Weatherhead says.
“Be honest with kids upfront that you’re going to get a vaccine that’s a shot in your arm, that it may hurt initially, but it’s helping your body get stronger to protect you from illnesses,” she says. “Give children honest answers. When they’re empowered around their own health, it’s really helpful.”
In terms of potential pain, you don’t need to worry too much about whether your arm is tensed or relaxed, Weatherhead says, but “just being relaxed in general is helpful,” she says. If you relax your arm by your side, you’re less likely to flinch it or move it during the jab. That means the vaccinator can get the needle in and out in a flash.
Trust in nurses
Doctors are the first to admit that experienced nurses are expert at delivering painless jabs.
“Nurses are definitely the most talented and very valued, especially in the pediatrician world,” Weatherhead says. “It does take some practice to be fluid and quick. There’s a little hand coordination and muscle memory. The faster and smoother you can do it, the less discomfort and more tolerable it will be to the patient.”
This isn’t to say that there is no pain associated with the COVID-19 vaccine, doctors stress. Most side effects, including arm pain, begin hours after the poke – that’s when the actual immune response begins. To prevent as much interference with daily activities as possible, there are a few things you can do:
Offer your non-dominant arm
The vaccine instructs your cells to mimic the spike proteins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to provoke an immune response. That will occur with equal efficiency in your left or right arm. But arm pain will likely be less annoying in your left arm if you’re right-handed and vice versa, says Weatherhead.
Most people will have some arm pain after getting the shot, Weatherhead stresses, and it’s really up to you which arm you’d rather experience it in.
If you rely on ice to ease other types of pain, you can certainly try it for a shot. There isn’t any data on it, Weatherhead says, but if it makes you feel better, go for it.
If COVID-19 vaccines become an annual event, you can take some comfort knowing that there are oral vaccines in development. (No nasal sprays thus far.) There’s no guarantee they’ll come to fruition, however, and doctors remind us that any pain associated with the vaccine is a fraction of what many people experience with COVID-19.
Of course, many people have never been so excited for a vaccine, and that may outweigh any fear of being poked. Few people are complaining about sore arms in the vaccination clinics Dr. Virk has seen. The word nurses used to describe the scene, she says? Joy.
Sheila Mulrooney Eldred is a freelance health journalist in Minneapolis. She’s written about COVID-19 for Medscape, Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Science News for Students and TheWashington Post. More at sheilaeldred.pressfolios.com. On Twitter: @milepostmedia
Deadly rabbit disease found in Ontario for the 1st time – CBC.ca
Two pet rabbits infected with a highly contagious virus that’s newly detected in Ontario have died, causing concern among veterinarians and pet owners.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said it’s the first time rabbit hemorrhagic disease (RHDV-2) has been detected in Ontario. It previously was found in B.C. and Alberta.
The rabbits in the Ontario case were from the same household and previously healthy, according to Dr. Jamie McGill Worsley, a veterinarian in Forest in Lambton County.
The rabbits quickly died.
“This was devastating for a pet owner with no warning and initially no understanding,” she said, “As we did testing, we started to become more suspicious that maybe this [virus] was the case.”
Samples were sent to a lab. Earlier this month, the CFIA confirmed it was RHDV-2.
The source of the infection isn’t known, the agency said.
“Immediately following this, the CFIA placed a quarantine on the site,” the agency said in a statement. “An investigation has been completed and no high-risk contacts have been identified that could result in spread of the disease from this premise. The CFIA is collaborating with the province and continues to monitor the situation.”
The CFIA’s website says the virus is found in most European countries, Australia, New Zealand, Cuba and some parts of Asia and Africa, and there have been occasional outbreaks in the U.S. and Canada, in 2011, 2016 and 2018.
What is RHDV-2
According to the CFIA, the disease is highly contagious in wild and domestic rabbits. The virus doesn’t affect other species.
People can pick up the virus on their shoes — or even on their vehicle’s tires — through the feces of an infected rabbit, said McGill Worsley.
That’s one of the reasons there’s such concern, she said.
“It is very resilient in the environment. It’s very easy to spread around with microscopic amounts. And then, of course, the potential outcome of this virus, its impact on the rabbits, whether they’re wild or pet rabbits, is quite devastating,” said McGill Worsley, who has strengthened disinfection protocols at her clinic because of RHDV-2.
The CFIA said infected rabbits usually show symptoms within one to five days. Symptoms include fever, loss of appetite and neurological symptoms such as difficulty walking.
“Death is common after a short period of illness. Death may also occur suddenly without signs,” the CFIA says in a fact sheet on its website.
Hazel Gabe of Ottawa is part of a Facebook group for rabbit owners where news of the virus has generated concern.
“People are really scared. People are very scared and nervous,” she said.
But for some, there’s a bit of relief, she said.
“Now that there’s been some cases in Ontario, even though we hate that some rabbits died and somebody probably lost their pet, but this means that maybe we will finally have access to the vaccine, because we’ve been asking for this for a while.”
While other countries have vaccines that protect rabbits against the virus, they’re not readily available in Canada.
In B.C., where there have been outbreaks, the government waited until there were a certain number of cases before offering an organized vaccine program.
McGill Worsley suspects it will be the same case in Ontario. But at this point, clinics have to request a special permit to import the vaccine from Spain or France, she said.
“It’s a bit of a process. I’ve worked part way through it myself … that way we can start to be able to protect rabbits once we have permission from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to bring those vaccines here.”
Should I be worried about monkeypox? A doctor answers questions as the outbreak spreads – CBS News
The World Health Organization said June 25 that More than 4,000 cases have been reported worldwide, with about 250 in the U.S. And with public health officials unable to follow all chains of transmission, they’re likely undercounting cases. Everyone should be aware of its symptoms, how it spreads, and the risks of it getting worse.wasn’t yet a public health emergency of international concern.
Q: Should I be worried about monkeypox?
The American public is currently at low risk for monkeypox. It is spreading among men who have sex with men, but it is only a matter of time before it spreads to others. As of June 27, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control had reported 10 cases among women. Monkeypox is generally a mild disease but can be serious or even deadly for people who are immunocompromised, pregnant women, a fetus or newborn, women who are breastfeeding, young children, and people with severe skin diseases such as eczema.
But monkeypox could become endemic in the U.S. and around the world if it continues to spread unchecked.
Q: How does monkeypox spread?
Monkeypox is a viral infection, a close cousin of smallpox. But it causes a much milder disease.
It is transmitted through close contact, including sex, kissing, and massage — any kind of contact of the penis, vagina, anus, mouth, throat, or even skin. In the current outbreak, monkeypox has primarily been.
Condoms and dental dams will reduce but won’t prevent all transmission because they protect only against transmission to and from the skin and mucosal surfaces that are covered by those devices. It’s important to know that the virus can enter broken skin and penetrate mucous membranes, like in the eyes, nose, mouth, genitalia, and anus. Scientists don’t know whether monkeypox can be transmitted through semen or vaginal fluid.
Monkeypox can be transmitted through respiratory droplets or “sprays” within a few feet, but this is not thought to be a particularly efficient mode of transmission. Whether monkeypox could be transmitted through aerosols, as covid-19 is, is unknown, but it hasn’t been documented so far.
It is not known whether monkeypox can be transmitted when someone doesn’t have symptoms.
Q: What are the common symptoms of monkeypox?
Symptoms of monkeypox may develop up to 21 days after exposure and can include fevers and chills, swollen lymph nodes, rash, and headaches.
It is not known whether monkeypox always shows any or all of those symptoms.
Experts currently think monkeypox, like smallpox, will always cause at least some of these symptoms, but that belief is based on pre-1980 science, before there were more sophisticated diagnostic tests.
Q: What does the monkeypox rash look like?
The monkeypox rash usually starts with red spots and then evolves into fluid-filled and then pus-filled bumps that may look like blisters or pimples. The bumps then open into sores and scab over. People with monkeypox should be considered infectious until after the sores scab over and fall off. Monkeypox sores are painful. The rash was often seen on palms and soles in the past, but many people in this outbreak have experienced external and internal lesions of the mouth, genitalia, and anus. People may also experience rectal pain or the sensation of needing to have a bowel movement when their bowels are empty.
Q: How do I get tested for monkeypox?
If you have symptoms of monkeypox, including oral, genital, or anal lesions, go to your nearest sexual health clinic for testing. A medical professional should swab any suspicious lesion for testing. There’s also emerging evidence that throat swabs may be useful in screening for monkeypox, but health officials in the U.S. are so far not recommending them.
Q: Is there a vaccine for monkeypox?
Yes. Two vaccines are effective in preventing monkeypox: the Jynneos vaccine and the ACAM2000 vaccine. The FDA has approved the Jynneos vaccine for preventing monkeypox and smallpox among people 18 and older. The ACAM2000 is FDA-approved to prevent smallpox. The only the Jynneos vaccine because it’s safer and has fewer side effects.
The Jynneos vaccine is safe. It has been tested in thousands of people, including people who are immunocompromised or have skin conditions. Common side effects of the Jynneos vaccine are similar to those of other vaccines and include fevers, fatigue, swollen glands, and irritation at the injection site.
The Jynneos vaccine is effective inup to four days after exposure and may reduce the severity of symptoms if given up to 14 days after exposure.
Q: Can I be vaccinated against monkeypox?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommends vaccination against smallpox and monkeypox only for those at heightened risk: people who have had close contact with someone with monkeypox, as well as some health care workers, laboratory staffers, first responders, and members of the military who might come into contact with the affected.
Supplies of the Jynneos vaccine are limited. As of June 14, the strategic national stockpile held more than 72,000 doses. The U.S. government purchased 500,000 more doses this month, bringing the total number of doses bought to almost 2 million.
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has started to gay and bisexual men, other men who have sex with men, and trans women who are age 18 and older and have had multiple or anonymous sex partners in the past 14 days. Other big cities, including San Francisco, are expected to do the same.
Q: What are other ways to lower the risk of monkeypox transmission?
The best way is to educate yourself and your sex partners about monkeypox. If you’re worried you might have monkeypox, get tested at a sexual health clinic. Many emergency rooms, urgent care centers, and other health care facilities may not be up to date on monkeypox. The CDC link to find the nearest sexual health clinic is https://gettested.cdc.gov/.
Abstain from sex if you or your partner has monkeypox. And remember that condoms and dental dams can reduce but not eliminate the risk of transmission. The CDC also warns about the risk of going to raves or other parties where lots of people are wearing little clothing and of saunas and sex clubs. It has other suggestions like washing sex toys and bedding.
Q: Is there a treatment for monkeypox?
There is no proven, safe treatment specifically for monkeypox. Most cases of monkeypox are mild and improve without treatment over a couple of weeks. Medications like acetaminophen and ibuprofen can be used to reduce fevers and muscle aches, and medications like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and opioids may be used for pain. In rare cases, some patients —such as immunocompromised people, pregnant women, a fetus or newborn, women who are breastfeeding, young children, and people with severe skin diseases — will develop more severe illness and may require more specific treatment. Doctors are trying experimental therapies like cidofovir, brincidofovir, tecovirimat, and vaccinia immune globulin. If administered early in the course of infection, the Jynneos and ACAM2000 vaccines may also help reduce the severity of disease.
Q: What misinformation is circulating about monkeypox?
Conspiracy theories about monkeypox abound. Monkeypox is not a hoax. Monkeypox is real. Covid vaccines can’t give you monkeypox. Monkeypox was not invented by Bill Gates or pharmaceutical companies. Monkeypox didn’t come from a lab in China or Ukraine. Migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border haven’t brought monkeypox into the U.S. Monkeypox isn’t a ploy to allow for mail-in ballots during elections. There is no need for a monkeypox vaccine mandate or lockdowns due to monkeypox.
Dr. Céline Gounder, an internist, epidemiologist and infectious disease specialist, is Senior Fellow and Editor-at-Large for Public Health at Kaiser Health News.
KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operating programs at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization providing information on health issues to the nation.
Peel Region reports its first confirmed case of monkeypox – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News
Peel Region has its first confirmed case of monkeypox.
According to Peel Public Health, the person infected is an adult male in his 30s who lives in Mississauga.
The heath unit said the risk to the public remains low.
Monkeypox, which comes from the same virus family as smallpox, spreads though close contact with an infected individual. Most transmission happens through close contact with the skin lesions of monkeypox, but the virus can also be spread by large droplets or by sharing contaminated items.
To reduce risk of infection, people are advised to be cautious when engaging in intimate activities with others. Vaccination is available for high-risk contacts of cases and for those deemed at high risk of exposure to monkeypox.
Symptoms can include fever, headache, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash/lesions, which could appear on the face or genitals and then spread to other areas.
Anyone who develops these symptoms should contact their healthcare provider and avoid close contact with others until they have improved and rash/lesions have healed.
While most people recover on their own without treatment, those who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for monkeypox should self-monitor for symptoms, and contact PPH to see if they are eligible for vaccination.
The Mississauga case is at least the 34th confirmed case of the disease in Ontario, with dozens more under investigation.
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