Effect of COVID-19 on Otolaryngology

The 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID‐19) is a highly contagious zoonosis produced by SARS‐CoV‐2 that is spread human‐to‐human by respiratory secretions. It was declared by the WHO as a public health emergency. The most susceptible populations, needing mechanical ventilation, are the elderly and people with associated comorbidities. There is an important risk of contagion for anesthetists, dentists, head and neck surgeons, maxillofacial surgeons, ophthalmologists and otolaryngologists. Health workers represent between 4.8% to 30% of the infected population; some 15% will develop severe complaints and among them, many will lose their lives. A large number of patients do not have overt signs and symptoms (fever/respiratory), yet pose a real risk to surgeons (who should know this fact and must therefore apply respiratory protective strategies for all patients they encounter). All interventions that have the potential to aerosolize aero digestive secretions should be avoided or used only when mandatory.

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