"My Voice"

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Order a paperback or Kindle Edition or e-book of "The Laryngectomee Guide," the 170 page practical guide for laryngectomees.

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To obtain suggestions for laryngectomees how to cope with COVID-19 pandemic click the Laryngectomee Newsletter link.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Laryngectomees’ challenges coping with COVID – 19 Pandemic as vaccines are available.

Laryngectomees are more susceptible to some respiratory infections because the air they inhale is not filtered by passing through their nose. Consequently, they are at an increased risk of inhaling respiratory pathogens (viruses, bacteria, and fungi) directly into their lungs.

Laryngectomees are also at high risk for poor outcomes when contracting COVID-19 because of their propensity to suffer from collapse of the lower lobs of their lungs (atelectasis). This is due to loss of upper airway resistance and impaired mucociliary functions, and mucosal irritation from cold, or dry inspired air. Further comorbidities such as advanced age, chronic disease (pulmonary, peripheral vascular, cardiac, cerebrovascular), diabetes, and past smoking, increase this risk.

Therefore, laryngectomees have to be vigilant and protect themselves from becoming infected with COVID-19. This can be done by wearing eat and mosuture exchanger (HME) with greater filtering properties ( i.e., Provox Micron TM); using 2 surgical masks (preferably N95), one over the stoma and the other over the mouth and nose; staying at least 6 feet away from others; washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; and not touching their stoma, HME, eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Laryngectomees can protect themselves by receiving vaccination against COVID-19. All COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States have been shown to be highly effective at preventing COVID-19. Based on clinical trials, experts believe that getting a COVID-19 vaccine may also help keep one from getting seriously ill even when one get infected with COVID-19. Becoming vaccinated may also protect people around the vaccinated person, particularly those at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. This also contributes to the curbing of the national and world pandemic.

Among the benefits of being vaccinated is the emotional relief of gaining protection from the virus, and the ability of feel safer in face to face social interactions and when seeking medical and dental care.

Clinical trials demonstrated that the known and potential benefits of these vaccine outweigh the their side effects, and the known and potential harms of becoming infected with COVID-19. The Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) has reported that severe allergic reactions to COVID-19 vaccines are very rare and happened at a rate of 11.1 cases per million vaccinations. 

Vaccination is not expected to relax the CDC recommendations for continued use of masks and social distancing. This is because vaccines are not 100% effective, their protective effect is not maximized for at least six weeks, and vaccines may keep a person from getting sick but not from transmitting the virus. Masks and HMEs reduce the spread of any mutated strain of the coronavirus, while vaccines may not be as effective in preventing the transmission of newer, more contagious strains.

It is advisable to contact one’s physicians for guidance about vaccination or if one gets ill with the Corona virus. There are currently treatments available that can be administered early in the course of the infection to mitigate the illness and prevent complications. It would be prudent to following the guidance and instruction issued by the CDC and the local government health authorities.

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