Expert Pitch

Staying healthy mentally and physically while protesting during a pandemic

Keck Medicine of USC

As people take to the streets in protest during the COVID-19 pandemic, Keck Medicine of USC experts share advice on how the public can protect both their mental well-being and physical health during this time.

The importance of acknowledging the trauma many Americans experience

“During this time when the American public is already mentally stretched thin due to the stresses of COVID-19, the expression of national outrage is a normal and understandable response.  During turmoil, as always, it is key that we acknowledge and address all forms of trauma, including the psychological trauma caused by racism. The recent events leading up to protests nationwide have made the call for mental health support all the more urgent across all communities.”

Steven Siegel, MD, PhD, is a psychiatrist with Keck Medicine of USC and chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. He recently launched the Care for the Caregiver program, which offers mental health support for Keck Medicine health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Safety tips for protesting in a pandemic

“Protests, which often put people in close contact with others for extended periods of time, pose the risk of increasing transmission of COVID-19 if physical distancing and hand hygiene are forgone. While being outside may dilute the virus, especially if the wind is blowing, it’s still important to take basic precautions to reduce the risk of COVID-19:

  • Avoid close contact whenever possible and maintain a distance of at least six feet between you and others.
  • Sanitize your hands, either with soap and water or hand sanitizer, regularly and immediately after touching someone or something, or coughing or sneezing. Carry hand sanitizer with you at all times.
  • Wear a mask or face covering while outside and around people at all times.
  • Minimize bringing unnecessary items with you, as you will have less items to disinfect later.
  • Wash all clothes and items you wore or brought immediately after returning home.

“After attending a protest, it is also important to closely monitor your health. Keep a close eye out for symptoms such as a cough, fever or chills, shortness of breath, muscle aches, headaches, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. Call your doctor if these symptoms develop. If you’re sick or have serious preexisting medical conditions, consider alternative ways to support protestors.”

Neha Nanda, MD, is the medical director of infection prevention and antimicrobial stewardship for Keck Medicine of USC.

 

How tear gas affects the respiratory system and eyes

“Tear gas causes excessive irritation to the eyes, nose, mouth and upper respiratory system, causing choking, gasping and respiratory secretions. The effects generally last a few minutes, and most will quickly recover. However, for those with underlying lung conditions, the particles can affect the lower airways in the lung and cause bronchospasm and even respiratory failure. This group should seek medical help at a hospital if exposed.  

“Coughing is a normal reaction to tear gas, which clears out the lungs, but people should make sure they separate from others when coughing or around those coughing to avoid the spread of COVID-19.”

Richard J. Castriotta, MD, is a pulmonary critical care physician with Keck Medicine of USC. He is an internationally recognized leader in pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine as a clinician, teacher and researcher.

 

“Tear gas burns the front of the eyes (the cornea), which is the window that allows us to see.  If the cornea is burned and scarred, it can lead to blindness. The best thing to do if tear gassed is to flush the eye with water for at least 30 minutes.  It’s important to make sure the eye is open when doing so, and that water is getting into the eye, as well as under the eyelid.  People should flush the eye immediately and without delay on-site using bottled water, if at all possible.”

Kimberly Gokoffski, MD, PhD, is an ophthalmologist with the USC Roski Eye Institute, Keck Medicine of USC.  She has a clinical specialty in neuro-ophthalmology.

 

Come prepared and seek medical help if needed

“Those who peacefully protest should bring a first-aid kit that contains the basics like band-aids and antibiotic ointment, as well as drink plenty of water to guard against dehydration.

“If anyone becomes injured and needs immediate medical help, visit your local emergency department. Emergency departments are open and safe for all urgent and emergency needs. Hospitals are putting numerous safety practices in place to ensure patients are safeguarded from the possible spread of the coronavirus, so people should feel comfortable going there if needed.”

Armand Dorian, MD, MMM, is the chief medical officer of USC Verdugo Hills Hospital, overseeing all medical operations at the hospital, including the hospital’s Emergency Department. 

   ###

About Keck Medicine of USC

Keck Medicine of USC is one of only two university-based medical systems in the Los Angeles area. Its internationally renowned physicians and scientists provide world-class patient care at Keck Hospital of USC, USC Norris Cancer Hospital, USC Verdugo Hills Hospital and more than 80 outpatient clinics in Los Angeles, Orange, Kern, Tulare and Ventura counties.

Keck Medical Center was ranked No. 16 on U.S. News & World Report’s 2019-20 Best Hospital Honor Roll and among the top 3 hospitals in Los Angeles and top 5 in California. The hospital also ranked in the top 4 in urology (tie); top 10 in geriatrics; top 15 in ophthalmology, cardiology & heart surgery, gastroenterology & GI surgery and nephrology; top 20 in neurology & neurosurgery; top 25 in cancer; and top 35 in pulmonology & lung surgery.

For more information, visit KeckMedicine.org.

 




Filters close

Showing results

110 of 5636
Released: 13-May-2021 7:05 PM EDT
FLCCC Statement on the Irregular Actions of Public Health Agencies & the Disinformation Campaign Against Ivermectin
Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC Alliance)

FLCCC Alliance calls for whistleblower to step forward from within WHO, the FDA, the NIH, Merck, or Unitaid to counter this misrepresentation

Newswise: shutterstock_1724336896.jpg
Released: 13-May-2021 12:55 PM EDT
Kreuter receives $1.9 million in grants to increase vaccinations in St. Louis
Washington University in St. Louis

Matthew Kreuter, the Kahn Family Professor of Public Health at the Brown School, has received $1.9 million in grants to help increase COVID-19 vaccinations among Blacks in St. Louis City and County.

Released: 13-May-2021 11:35 AM EDT
COVID-19 mRNA Vaccines are Immunogenic in Pregnant and Lactating Women, Including Against Viral Variants
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

In a new study from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center researchers evaluated the immunogenicity of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines in pregnant and lactating women who received either the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. They found that both vaccines triggered immune responses in pregnant and lactating women.

Released: 13-May-2021 10:30 AM EDT
Pandemic stigma: Foreigners, doctors wrongly targeted for COVID-19 spread in India
Monash University

The Indian public blamed foreigners, minority groups and doctors for the rapid spread of COVID-19 across the country during the first wave, due to misinformation, rumour and long-held discriminatory beliefs, according to an international study led by Monash University.

Released: 13-May-2021 9:00 AM EDT
28 Community Programs Receive Grants Through Penn Medicine CAREs Program
Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Penn Medicine CAREs awarded grants to 28 projects, many of which aim to fill vast needs in the community created by the COVID-19 pandemic, while others seek to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Released: 13-May-2021 9:00 AM EDT
How to Win Over Vaccine Skeptics: Live Expert Panel for May 20, 3pm ET
Newswise

How to Win Over Vaccine Skeptics: Live Expert Panel for May 20, 3pm ET

Released: 13-May-2021 8:00 AM EDT
Dental procedures during pandemic are no riskier than a drink of water
Ohio State University

A new study’s findings dispel the misconception that patients and providers are at high risk of catching COVID-19 at the dentist’s office.

Newswise:Video Embedded lung-damage-not-the-culprit-for-post-covid-exercise-limitations
VIDEO
Released: 13-May-2021 7:00 AM EDT
Lung Damage Not the Culprit for Post-COVID Exercise Limitations
American Physiological Society (APS)

A new study suggests the lungs may not be the main factor that reduce exercise ability in people recovering from severe COVID-19. Anemia and muscle dysfunction also play a role. The study is published ahead of print in the Journal of Applied Physiology. It was chosen as an APSselect article for May.


Showing results

110 of 5636

close
2.93249