BioQuakes

AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

Author: monoseanaride

Santa isn’t bringing coal this year, he’s bringing Covid!! How to stay safe this winter.

Some feel that the Christmas spirit isn’t floating in the air this holiday season, but rather fear of the corona virus, and how it will be handled this winter. With temperatures dropping as fast as these store prices on sale, many worry how will the U.S stop cases from spiking as much as it did earlier this year? Don’t miss out on your favorite blogger Monoseanarides’ holiday special.

Spread (Overview)-

SARS-CoV-2 is a highly contagious strain of the coronavirus that spreads in multiple different ways. The virus can be spread through small particles or respiratory droplets (ex. aerosols created by the cough, sneeze, speech, and breaths of a Covid-infected patient). Once these particles are in the air, they are inhaled through the mouth or nose and enter the lungs and airways which is believed to be the most common form of infection. Droplet particles that have landed on surfaces can cause the virus to spread by touch. Once someone has touched an infected surface the disease can spread to them by touching their mouth, nose, or eyes. Spread by touch is not a primary way of transmission. When spending time with someone who has not been tested you should not be within 6 feet or 2 arms lengths of the person. Something to look out for during this pandemic is Community Spread. This is a term coined for an area where multiple people are infected with the virus and not everyone knows where the virus was contracted from. To inquire on whether or not there is a local community spread near you contact your local health department’s website. There are still a lot of questions regarding the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus including whether or not warm weather slows down the spread of the virus, and cold weather periods are where the virus spreads most like the flu virus? There is still a lot of research to be done on the virus and there is no permanent answer, but it is safe to assume that cases will start to spike again during the winter because that is when sicknesses like the flu spread best. Another question frequently asked is whether or not the virus can be spread through mosquitos and ticks like other illnesses such as the Zika virus or Lyme Disease. As of now there has been no evidence proving that the SARS-CoV-2 virus can be spread from person to person through the bite of a mosquito or a tick.

Spread (A closer look)

For all my crazy biology fans like me no need to worry I’m going to explain to you guys how the SARS-CoV-2 virus infects healthy cells. When a SARS-Cov-2 virus enters your body it latches onto one of your healthy cells’ receptors using its spiked protein surface, it usually latches to a healthy cell in the lungs. The viral proteins latch through the ACE2 receptors. The virus then travels down your respiratory tract to your lower airway where the most ACE2 receptors are present. This can cause your lungs to swell, which can make it harder to breathe. These complications can often lead to pneumonia. Once pneumonia is formed patients go into ARDS, however this only occurs in severe cases.

How the body responds-

Normally when a virus enters the body the automatic response mechanism used is innate immunity. Innate immunity is a defense activated immediately after infection. Innate Immunity is the first and second lines of defense because it is a rapid response. After the innate immunity is activated the adaptive immunity is activated. This response is slower because its job is to fight off any extra infected cells and memorize the virus so that the body is prepared for another infection. It has been seen with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (usually in older people) that cytokine storms occur when parts of the immune system overwork or works harder than other parts of the immune system.

Allergic to Water? Insight into Aquagenic Urticaria the allergy to water.

Your favorite Biology blogger, Monoseanaride, is here to educate biology lovers all across the globe on Aquagenic Urticaria, also known as, the allergy to water. This is a special that you do not want to miss out on.

 Background-

Aquagenic Urticaria (AU) is an extremely rare disease that causes an allergic reaction when coming into contact with water. This allergic reaction includes urticaria forming on the area where the water came into contact with the skin. This disease is mostly found in women, and the symptoms usually begin at the onset of puberty.

 

 

History-

Aquagenic Urticaria (AU) was first discovered by Shelley and Ramsey back in 1964 when they reported three cases. One case was a 19-year-old boy who had reported multiple episodes of urticaria. The second case was a four-year-old boy who suffered from the same symptoms as the 19-year-old man. Both patients suffered from pinhead-sized wheals around their bodies. Neither patient had any reaction from ingesting water, after multiple experiments, it was concluded that this reaction was caused by the water touching the surface of the skin. There was no case report on the third initial case discovered. Since these initial findings, fewer than 100 cases have been reported since.

Symptoms and Treatment-

The symptoms of AU include an itchy and painful rash after coming into contact with water. The rash is most commonly found on the neck, arms, and chest. The rash can form within minutes of coming into contact with water. Symptoms begin to fade after drying off in 30-60 minutes. In extreme cases symptoms can ensue on the digestion of water, these symptoms could include: wheezing, difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, and a rash around the mouth. There is no official cure for AU. In the original diagnosis of AU doses of Fexofenadine were prescribed to help alleviate symptoms. Now antihistamines are given to help reverse the allergy-induced effects of AU.

Cause- 

This reaction is caused by the release of a chemical called histamine the chemical responsible for fighting off the symptoms of an allergic reaction. There is no evidence as to where this disease originated, but there are two theories. Some scientists believe that a substance dissolved in water enters the skin and causes the hives. This theory the scientists believe that it is an allergen in the water, rather than water itself causing the hives. The second theory posits that interaction between water and a substance found in, or on our skin creates a toxic material, which leads to the hives. It is unsure whether or not the disease can be inherited. In most cases AU is appeared sporadically, although there have been familial cases discovered, such as this one family who was passed through three generations.

Why Water is necessary for human life-

The human body is made up of about 60%, the brain and heart are made up of about 73% water, the lungs are made up of about 83% water, the skins and muscles are made of 64% water, and the bones are made up of about 31% water. Water is essential for animals and plants for reasons more than to quench thirst, or to shower, but rather because it is known as the universal solvent. Water is notorious for its capabilities to dissolve many different molecules. That’s not all though, water is used for many things such as aiding cell transport, cellular structure, and even is part of multiple chemical reactions such as photosynthesis in plants, and dehydration synthesis, a chemical reaction that helps connect monomers to make polymers, in animals. Water helps the folding of amino acids inside the cell. Water is also seen going through the cell membrane in a process called Osmosis, a process that spreads water to areas of high concentration and obtains equilibrium. 

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