Corona virus: Why Cancer Patients, Survivors, and Caregivers Need to know more about it?

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The recent outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus in China has caused global concern which is said to originate from a seafood and meat market that sold live and recently killed animals in Wuhan, China, in December. The novel corona virus (named 2019-nCoV) caused outbreak of respiratory illness. Six cities in China have been quarantined because of the coronavirus but the virus has spread to other parts of the world outside China too.

On January 30, 2020, the WHO declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern.” Indian government is taking full-fledged preventive measures with respect to the corona virus outbreak.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that range from the common cold to much more serious diseases. 2019-nCoV is a new strain of coronavirus which has not been previously identified in humans.

If you are cancer patient or a survivor or a care giver you must know something more about the Corona Virus.

It is important to understand the corona virus first. There are several different types of coronavirus circulating in the world, and the majority of them do not cause severe illness. So if a person has ever had a cold or the sniffles, they may have already been exposed to a coronavirus.

However some important things cancer patients must know about coronaviruses, including the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) that was first identified in Hubei province of China.

What is a coronavirus?

Human  corona viruses are a family of viruses that are found throughout the world. There are seven known types of corona virus. Four of those types (229E, NL63, OC43 and HKU1) cause only mild or moderate upper-respiratory illness, such as the common cold. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most people will get infected with one of these common types of coronavirus in their lifetime.

Why 2019 novel coronavirus different?

Sometimes as an unusual case, a coronavirus from animals may evolve and become a “jump species” and infects humans. These viruses then can cause more severe infections and diseases in humans, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

The latest COVID-19 respiratory disease that originated in Wuhan is believed to be the latest example of animal-to-person spread.

For many cancer patients and survivors with compromised immune systems, the reporting on this public health emergency may likely be source of anxiety.

Human immune system is made up of special cells, tissues, and organs. It is your body’s defense mechanism against infections and sickness caused due to invaders like bacteria or viruses est. Compromised immune system which is also referred to as immunosuppressed or immunocompromised state means that your body supports a weakened immune response to invading organisms. 

A compromised immune system makes you more susceptible to viruses and bacteria’s and so the people who have undergone cancer treatment including surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy Bone marrow transplants etc. have a compromised or suppressed immune system which means weak defense against infections including viruses.When you get an infection the body produces cytokines which help to control and direct the immune system to the infection but a compromised immune system after or during cancer treatment is not so strong and well functioning. Viral infection is a common problem during cancer treatment and patients are at a bigger risk of infection due to weak defense against infection.

Chinese medical researchers have discovered that patients with cancer are more susceptible to infection of the novel coronavirus, according to a recent research article in the Lancet Oncology journal. The article stated that malignancy and anticancer treatments, such as chemotherapy or surgery causes systemic immunosuppressive state which might put the cancer patients might at an increased risk of the novel coronavirus and such patients might also have a poorer prognosis.

Novel Corona virus is a global concern and not just people with compromised immune system but everyone shall be aware of it to stop more damage to human race due to this virus which has already taken thousands human lives. So everyone shall be careful and protect themselves from all respiratory infections and prevent the spread of disease by:

  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick or infected
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. You use antiseptic gel also.
  • Avoiding being in crowded areas and around sick people.
  • Avoiding consumption of raw or under cooked animal products.
  • Always cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Always clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe

The WHO recommends that if you have mild respiratory symptoms and no travel history to or within China, cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, disinfect the objects and surfaces you touch, and to stay home until you are recovered, if possible. If you have recently visited China and develop flu like symptoms you must consult the doctors immediately.

Richa Agarwal- Founder Wellwelive

Bio:

 Richa Agarwal  is a post graduate in Business economics and is working as Assistant Professor in Economics. She is also a social worker, motivational speaker and trainer. She is founder of ‘Well We Live’ – an organization that works towards inspiring people with a mission they have named as  ‘Ayushmaanbhava’ which follows with the spirit beyond just survivorship of diseases or any other traumatic life events but to the ‘Conquerorship’. ‘Well We Live’ believes that everyone should  live a happier, healthier, wealthier, more fulfilling, passionate and purposeful life whether that means surviving a trauma of a disease or a fateful life event, reigniting your relationship, achieving in business or discovering who you really are and be a winner in all situations. Richa is a stage IV cancer survivor and she has developed a cancer lifestyle management program for patients, survivors , caregivers and families that helps them to find and strengthen a more peaceful and healthy perception of themselves.

Watch her you tube channel Wellwelive on : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-V9jqWhvTFI

Follow her on instagram: @wellwelive

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