Learn the latest on COVID-19

Learn the latest on COVID-19

Design: Lorena Lopez/University of Miami
By Life@TheU

Design: Lorena Lopez/University of Miami

Learn the latest on COVID-19

By Life@TheU
Learn from University of Miami Health System experts who can help support your health and well-being.

With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to wreak havoc on global communities, health care experts at the University of Miami Health System move forward with research to develop improved testing technology and a potential vaccine. Accurate medical tests have become critical to identifying and tracking the spread of new coronavirus cases. 

There are multiple types of tests available with different methods of collecting, which vary in accuracy, according to Dr. Merce Jorda, chair of pathology and laboratory medicine at the University of Miami Health System. Testing is essential to containing the virus because it can help public health officials identify and contact trace infected individuals, including those who are asymptomatic. Among the tests available are diagnostic tests, which detect an active coronavirus infection, and a serology test, which shows a past infection. 

While an inexpensive, fast, simple, and accurate test is still in development, Dr. Jorda noted that a molecular real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test, which detects the virus’ genetic material is considered the gold standard. Also available are antigen tests, which detect specific proteins on the surface of the virus, and antibody (or serology) tests, which detect antibodies to SARS-CoV-2—the virus that causes COVID-19—in a blood sample. Find out more about the process of testing for coronavirus.

Arm yourself against seasonal illnesses like the flu.

As we enter flu season, it’s more important than ever to learn about, understand, and schedule your flu shot. Flu vaccines, which contain dead viruses or proteins from the virus, do not give you the flu. They will not make you more susceptible to illness or put you at greater risk of complications related to a COVID-19 infection, according to Dr. Bhavarth Shukla, medical director of infection control at the University of Miami Health System. Learn more about the flu shot and why you should get it especially this year.

Remain vigilant, make good choices.

Over time, health care experts continue learning about COVID-19, including the possibility of reinfection. Dr. Jose Castro, an infectious disease expert at the University of Miami Health System, warns that, with a new virus or disease like this one, the short- and long-term consequences are still unknown. But, the approach to protecting yourself, your family, and your community should continue the same—remain vigilant and follow proper precautions, even if you have been infected before. Learn more about protecting yourself against infection and reinfection.

Care for your mental and physical health.

As we navigate the changing environment, we’re all learning and digesting the information and public health guidelines. Whether at work, school, or home, these areas overlap and it can be challenging to keep it together, making it that much more critical to protect our mental and physical health, according to Dr. Vanessa L. Padilla, a psychiatrist with the University of Miami Health System. Everyone reacts differently, and it’s important to understand the possible reasons behind others’ reactions to help us be more empathetic. Determine how to advocate for yourself during a pandemic.

Self-care—which some confuse with the term self-improvement—is an essential part of the daily precautions, including wearing face masks and using hand sanitizer. Dr. Padilla explains how self-care is a sensation of well-being and requires emotional and physical awareness, particularly when the world feels out of control. Discover different ways to care for yourself, including your mental and physical health.

When it comes to mental health, we’ve made progress as a society over the last 40 years. However, there are still some misconceptions and negative attitudes, according to Dr. Radu Saveanu, professor of psychiatry at the University of Miami Health System. Based on the Morbidity and Weekly report published online by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one study suggests focusing on prevention and intervention. The study adds that, as the pandemic evolves, it is critical to address health disparities and develop support systems to mitigate mental health consequences. Learn more about how to cope in a crisis.

Combat the effects on our skin and hearing.

The term “maskne” describes acne breakouts caused by wearing a mask. Masks can harbor bacteria, dirt, oil, and dead skin cells, leading to breakouts on the chin and nose. While they are necessary to protect yourself and others from spreading COVID-19, learn ways to prevent breakouts and irritation on your face caused by wearing a mask, when and how to moisturize, and how to find the right mask.

Health concerns around hearing loss have developed as we shift our daily lives to utilize more technology, particularly at home where laptops, smartphones, and tablets abound. More often we plug headphones or earbuds into our ears—sometimes for several hours at a time—throughout the day. Used improperly, these devices can pose a risk of hearing loss and tinnitus, according to Dr. Tricia Scaglione, director of the tinnitus program at the University of Miami Health System. Learn how to protect yourself from long-term damage and hearing loss.

 

Access the medical care you need at a UHealth facility or via telehealth by scheduling an appointment. Find additional information about scheduling or call 305-243-4000.

Live Well with UHealth is a series that highlights curated content from articles previously published on UMiami Health News, a site that shares health tips and insights into research discoveries that change lives, brought to you by the experts at the University of Miami Health System. This story highlights the following articles.