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BEWARE: THE CORONAVIRUS
What you need to know about the Coronavirus The new COVID-19 coronavirus is spreading rapidly around the world. Spain is now one of the countries most affected by this disease. Today, on the 12th of March 2020, there are about 3000 infected. Whereas on the 11th of March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) has officially declared that the coronavirus outbreak is a pandemic. This pathogen can cause severe bilateral pneumonia, and while flu saturates emergency departments, coronavirus saturates ICUs where patients require intubation to breathe. The general population does not have natural immunity against this virus, as is the case with the flu, because we have never had contact with it before. The coronavirus is extremely contagious. This is why we find ourselves in the state of maximum alarm. Too many people suffer from this disease at the same time, and, as a consequence, the hospitals are saturated with patients. If strict precautions are not followed, we might soon end up in a situation where there is not enough medical staff nor means in the hospitals to attend all the patients. For example, the North of Italy has now been put under quarantine precisely to stop the spread of the disease as the hospitals are full. What are the preventive measures that the WHO recommends? 1. Wash your hands as frequently as possible (either with soap or with alcohol). 2. Social distancing. The coronavirus is deemed to spread via droplets that come out from our mouths and noses when we sneeze, cough, or TALK. Therefore, it is a good idea to maintain your distance from everyone, to wear glasses if posible, or even a surgical mask if you are in contact with someone who might be infected. 3. Do not touch your nose, your mouth, nor rub your eyes. Although it is very difficult to achieve as the experience shows. 4. When you sneeze or cough, cover your mouth with your bent elbow or a tissue. 5. And finally, if you do not feel well, seek medical attention. Try to wear a surgical mask if possible to protect others around you. The 4 guiding symptoms: 1) Fever over 38°C 2) Sore throat 3) Dry cough 4) Difficulty breathing In this case, your plan of actions should be: Stay at home, cover your face with a surgical mask. Call +34 900 300 555 (for the Valencian Community), and you will be asked to answer some questions about your state. According to the test score, you might be asked to do the virus detection test. In case it yields a positive result, you will be told what to do next (which can vary from home confinement to hospital admission). Clínica La Siesta, in turn, also recommends to leave your house as little as possible in order to avoid spreading the disease. This might be a good time to finish all of your pending home tasks that you might have been postponing, to read some books, to learn a language, or to binge watch a TV series / films.
MEDICINES THAT MIGHT AFFECT YOUR DRIVING
Traffic Department warns the drivers about the side effects of certain medicines It is known that almost all medicines have side effects. They might be something minor like a mild headache or even not affect you at all. However, when it comes to driving, one should be extremely careful. According to the Spanish Traffic Department, 5% of all the road accidents are due to the use of medication. Therefore, it puts your life and health (and that of others) in danger. It also states that 25% of all the medicines authorised by the Spanish Agency for Medication and Healthcare Products (AEMPS) can affect your driving by producing drowsiness or by slowing down your reflexes. If there is a risk of side effects that might affect your driving, you will find a special sign on your medication box. It is a warning red triangle with a black car on a white background inside. The danger of driving when taking certain medications increases even more as most drivers are not aware of the effects these drugs have on their driving abilities. Hence, the fundamental role that both the doctor and the pharmacist have is in informing the patient about what he is going to take. According to recent studies, receiving information about the effects of a given medication on driving reduces the annual accident rate by 45% for every 1,000 patients. In case of self-medication, this effect of prevention is, unfortunately, lost. False Positive Not only can these drugs put you and others in danger, they can also yield a false-positive result during a drug control test carried out by the police (Guardia Civil de Tráfico). The consequence of that is a fine of 1000€. Which would be quite unfair considering you did not know that your medication can alter your test results. Moreover, if you refuse to carry out the drug test, you might be subject to imprisonment. Prevention is better than cure, so always double-check with your doctor when you get the prescription. Non-Prescription Drugs You should also watch out for the medicines you can get without a prescription. They can have the same adverse effects and equally score positive during a drug control test. Don’t forget either that they can interfere with other medication you are already taking and provoke an unexpected reaction in your body. To always be on the safe side, you should consult your GP before starting any treatment. The side effects that a drug can have are also subject to the quantities your doctor prescribes. Alcohol If alcohol is added to the equation, everything gets more complicated. Not only does it have dangerous effects on one’s body per se, if alcohol consumption is also combined with taking one’s medications, the effects might be completely unexpected. Its metabolism involves two enzymes, alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and aldehyde dehydrogenase. If a certain drug inhibits this process, unusual effects may occur in response to only a small intake of alcohol.
POST-BREXIT DRIVING IN SPAIN
POST-BREXIT DRIVING IN SPAIN On the 31st of January 2020, Britain has officially left the EU. Luckily, the two parties were able to reach an agreement which now allows the British citizens to exchange their driving licences to Spanish ones until the 31st of December 2020. It is only starting the 1st of January of the next year that the transition period would come to an end. From then on, the general regulations, applicable to the third countries (non-EU), would apply to the British citizens as well. This includes that: a) It would no longer be possible to exchange British driving licences to the Spanish ones b) Citizens with British driving permits would be able to drive in Spain for the first 6 months from entry OR from the date of obtaining their Spanish residence According to the official British government website gov.uk, “visitors with a non-UK driving licence are able to drive in the UK; you do not need an international driving permit (IDP)”. However, it might be subject to changes as the transition period progresses and the negotiations continue. If you intend to reside in Spain for more than 6 months a year, it would be wise to exchange your driving licence to a Spanish one this year, that is, during the transition period. Otherwise, you would be required to obtain a Spanish driving licence from scratch. This means attending the lessons, passing theory test in Spanish and a practical driving exam with a Spanish examiner. In order to exchange your driving licence, you need to meet some requirements. For instance, you need to make an appointment at Traffic Department and fill out this form. You also need to pass a psychometric test. And, in addition, you would need to bring along all the required documentation to process your application: a) your ID (either passport or ID card or your residence card) b) your driving licence c) the proof of fee payment (Tasa 2.3) d) your recent photo of 32×26 mm