Category: Medical News

I have allergy. Can I take the Covid-19 vaccine?

I have allergy. Can I take the Covid-19 vaccine?

This is a well-written and well-researched article by Dr. Amar Singh, and would be of great interest for those who have history of allergy and are considering taking the Covid-19 vaccine.

As we implement the National Covid-19 Vaccination Programme, those of us who are healthcare professionals have numerous friends and acquaintances asking us about the safety of the Covid-19 vaccines.

In particular, is the issue of the risk of taking the vaccine if we have a history of allergies. It is recognised that some individuals get a rare, serious side effect, for example, a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.

Anaphylaxis can occur after taking a drug, from a bee sting, eating some food item, etc, and not just vaccines. We often never know who is going to react in this way.

Click here for the complete article.

Healing the body with the power of the mind

Healing the body with the power of the mind

Researchers have long studied the healing power of the mind on the body. What they have concluded is that when the element of belief is strong, healing the body with the mind is possible.

The placebo effect

The placebo effect has become a well-recognised phenomenon in modern-day medical treatments. A placebo is defined as an inert, innocuous substance that has no effect on the body. When given a placebo, patients simply believe they are taking an actual drug and subsequently feel better because of it, although they didn’t actually receive any “active” treatment.

In this instance, “belief” is the factor that triggers the subconscious mind-healing programme. However, that trigger is not always obvious.

The current body of evidence now shows the benefits of placebos and sham surgeries that deliver the same effects as potent drugs or actual surgery, proving that the power of the mind or power of belief can really be a healing force. It accounts for one-third of all improvements and cures documented in many studies.

Science and mind healing

Scientist who have extensively researched this phenomenon in order to gain a fuller understanding of when and how mind-healing works have come to the conclusion that mind-healing powers lie in the subconscious.

The goal of the subconscious is to create coherence and agreement between what the mind believes and what is reality.

It allows the brain to accept beliefs as truths and act accordingly. Beliefs can either heal or make you sick.

The science of epigenetics can explain the way your mind heals your body. The primary factor that affects how a gene expresses itself is the cell’s environment, except for the case when a gene has a programmed defect.

Nutrients, hormones, brain chemicals, and toxins are the main factors that determine the quality of a cell’s environment.

However, the most important elements are perception and beliefs. The fact remains that your thoughts and emotions have an impact on the brain to make it release chemicals.

Because the healing and the damage-controlling property of your mind happens inside your body and takes place unconsciously, you normally don’t take any notice of its progress.

Mind–healing methods

Mind-healing techniques, both ancient and new, are to guide the subconscious to heal. When used correctly and consistently, these methods can bring positive effects to your mental and physical health.

Some common methods include visualisation, hypnosis, tapping and so on. It is important not to let your subconscious be primed, coaxed, manipulated, or bullied.

Mind-healing techniques can be used in combination with conventional medical treatment and natural remedies.

There are a variety of options such as therapy, herbs, medication, healing foods, emotional healing techniques, meditation, hypnosis or surgery.

This article first appeared in and was reviewed by Dr Duyen Le. The Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

What you need to know about (Covid-19) vaccines

What you need to know about (Covid-19) vaccines

There are a lot of news now about the Covid-19 vaccines. They are many different types coming into the market. This means that the different vaccines are made differently using specific methods, and therefore their safety profiles and efficacy are different as well.

To understand the Covid-19 vaccines better, it is useful to know:

  1. How vaccines are made or what are the different methods available in making a vaccine
  2. What are the clinical trials of vaccines so that you can understand what is meant by preclinical, phase 1, phase 2, phase 3 and phase 4 trials.
  3. Types of Covid-19 vaccines (see a simple summary in the image below)
  4. All you want to know about the Malaysian Covid-19 vaccine programme and when you can expect to be vaccinated
Latest Guidelines on Management of Close Contact

Latest Guidelines on Management of Close Contact

On 14 January 2021, the Health Ministry released a new guideline on the management of close contact – people who were exposed to patients diagnosed with Covid-19.

A person who is exposed for 15 minutes or more, at a distance of less than 6 feet, to someone diagnosed with Covid-19 infection is generally regarded as a close contact. The risk is increased if one or both were without a face mask during that contact.

All close contact must get their rt-PCR swab done.

A close contact can be asymptomatic or symptomatic.

  1. If a close contact is asymptomatic, and has a negative rt-PCR swab test, and continues to be asymptomatic, self home quarantine ends after 10 days.
  2. If a close contact is asymptomatic, and has a negative rt-PCR swab test, and then becomes symptomatic, this individual needs a second rt-PCR swab test and needs to be quarantined for 10 days, beginning from the first day of symptoms.
  3. If a close contact is symptomatic, and has a negative rt-PCR swab test, and the symptoms cleared, then quarantine ends after day 10.

Home Quarantine Guidelines for Covid-19 Patients with no or mild symptoms

Home Quarantine Guidelines for Covid-19 Patients with no or mild symptoms

As the number of Covid-19 patients increases, our hospitals are quickly running low in beds, tests, personnel and resources. As such, the Health Ministry has issued new guidelines for quarantine.

Those Covid-19 patients with no or mild symptoms are no longer admitted to our hospitals for quarantine. Instead, they are required to do self-quarantine at home.

For those who have tested positive for Covid-19, AND has no or very mild symptoms, here are the guidelines for home quarantine:

Home Quarantine Guidelines
Home Quarantine Guidelines for Patients
Guidelines for Duration of Quarantine

Colchicine effective oral drug for Covid-19

Colchicine effective oral drug for Covid-19

Canadian doctors have claimed a first in the use of a common oral medication that appears to be effective in treating Covid-19 infections.

In a study that involved 4,159 patients diagnosed with Covid-19 with PCR tests, patients taking colchicine were able to reduce risk of death or hospitalisation by 21% compared to placebo. The need for mechanical ventilation was reduced by 50% and death by 44%.

For more on this story, click here.

Understanding the Different Types of Covid-19 Vaccines

Understanding the Different Types of Covid-19 Vaccines

Now that many private companies are coming out with different types of Covid-19 vaccines, it may be difficult for lay people to understand what they are, how they are made, what are the pros and cons.

Well, you can now equip yourself with a better understanding of the different types of Covid-19 vaccines that are available by reading up on them from this well written article (click here).

Understanding the Covid-19 tests

Understanding the Covid-19 tests

There are generally two types of tests being used currently to detect Covid-19 infections.

The first type of test looks for the presence of the virus in the body. It is called rt-PCR test (real time polymerase chain reaction). It can be used in the early phase of the infection to detect whether the virus is in the body or not. This is a swab test of the nose and throat. A positive result is diagnostic of a Covid-19 infection. A negative result means there is no virus presence in the body. However, this is also dependent on how the swab is done. There is still a small chance that the area swabbed was free of the virus despite it being present elsewhere. This is the sensitivity rate of the test. No test is 100% sensitive.

The second type of test looks for the antibody response to the Covid-19 virus. Since these antibodies take some time to appear in the body even after the virus is present, this test may not pick up an infection if it is used too early. This is called a false negative. A repeat test after 7 – 10 days is recommended. This is a blood test.

There are two types of antibodies that can be detected in the body. IgM appears earlier than IgG, which can remain for a long time even after recovery from the infection. Thus, a positive test for IgG does not necessarily mean the infection or virus is still in your body. It unsure, it is best to get your doctor to interpret the result for you.

Get to know your Covid-19 enemy

Get to know your Covid-19 enemy

How you may be infected

A typical Covid-19 infection begins with a close contact with an infected person as that contact exposes you to a possible infection. It is not certain that you will be infected. That depends on many factors, including the viral load, how well you are protected and how good is your own immunity.

Close contact is a very specifically defined term. It does not apply to you if you just happened to walk past a known Covid-19 patient, or even if you happened to talk to the patient for a brief time when both are wearing masks. See the image before for its definition as applied to HCW.

For a more general definition of a close contact encounter with a Covid-19 patient, see this image below:

(PUI stands for Person Under Investigation)

Generally, the rationale is that the longer you are exposed to the patient, the higher is your risk of getting the infection. As a general guideline, the recommended cut off point for the encounter is taken as 15 minutes, i.e. if your encounter lasted less than 15 minutes, you are less likely to be infected. This is, however, not absolute, and should be assessed together with other factors, such as whether face masks were worn, there was any cough or sneeze, or vigorous talking, and the infectious period of the patient.

A viral load is the amount of virus present. The bigger the viral load, the more viruses are present, and therefore the higher the risk of infection. Viral load is determined by how much viruses are in the body of the infected person that you are in contact with at the time of the close contact. It is also determined by whether the infected person sneezes or coughs in your presence, or whether he or she talks to you, and how long. The duration of your exposure is another factor to consider. The longer you are exposed, the higher the risk of infection. Therefore, minimise your contact with other people, and if you cannot avoid the contact, make it as brief as possible.

On the other hand, the further away you are from the infected person, the less likely you are of getting the infection. This is why physical distancing is so important.

How the virus may get into your body

Fortunately, the virus cannot enter your body through the skin. Its most common route of entry into the body is through the eyes, the nose and the mouth. That is why it is important to wear your mask. Your mask protects your nose and mouth, preventing the virus from entering your body. Nose swabs and throat swabs often yield more positive results from the nose than the throat, suggesting that the nose may be a more important entry point for the virus compared to the mouth. Therefore, make sure you wear your mask properly and cover both the nose and the mouth. For added protection, especially for HCW (healthcare workers) who are frequently in contact with patients, a face shield is recommended to protect the eyes as well.

So, whether you get infected or not depends on how well you protect yourself. Wearing a mask greatly reduces the risk. If the infected person also wears a mask, the risk even even smaller.

What happens when the virus gets into the body

Once the virus gets into your body, it incubates for about 5 days, multiplying in your body and increasing the viral load.

Symptoms typically appear about day 5 of the infection. Symptoms are fever, body ache, cough, and general feeling of unwell (often indistinguishable from other viral infections like flu and dengue). In severe cases, there is difficulty in breathing.

You are infectious about 1 – 2 days BEFORE your first symptom appears, so you may not know it and may spread it to others unintentionally. The infectious period may last 10 days, i.e. day 3 to day 13. This is the rationale for the 14 day quarantine.

However, we must also bear in mind that some Covid-19 infections may present atypically, meaning they differ from the above typical infection. Some may actually last longer, and become more severe, even deadly.

How to protect yourself from infection

Very important – follow the SOP strictly. Do not be negligent. Do not take this lightly, yet at the same time there is no need to panic. Be rationale in your approach.

  1. Wear your face mask properly

2. Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly, especially before you touch your face or after you have touched your mask. Always regard your mask as though it is contaminated with the virus. In this way, you will be more careful when you handle your mask. Also, dispose your mask properly and safely.

3. Practice physical distancing. The further you are, the less likely for you to be infected. The minimum recommendation is 6 feet apart.

4. Regard everyone as a potential spreader. Therefore, limit your contact with others. Avoid unnecessary contact. Where contact is unavoidable, make it as brief as possible.

How do I know if I have Covid-19 infection?

How do I know if I have Covid-19 infection?

With the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, it is understandable if you are concern and wonder if you have the infection and not know about it, since some people may be asymptomatic. On the other hand, your healthcare facilities can easily get overwhelmed with unnecessary screening and testings.

So, what should you do if you are not sure whether you may have the Covid-19 infection or not? Well, here is a simple and quick method to assess your risk by yourself. It is not foolproof but it can be used as a first step to assessing your own risk of getting the infection.

Are you at risk of having the Covid-19 infection?

If, after doing the self assessment above, you think you may have the Covid-19 infection, here is what you need to do next.