While masks can protect the mouth and nose against COVID-19 infection, they leave the eyes exposed, a doctor said on Sunday, urging people to frequently wash their hands and avoid rubbing their eyes.
The mucous membranes in the eyes could be an entry point for germs or the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, China Medical University Hsinchu Hospital ophthalmology division head Chen Ying-shan (陳瑩山) said.
Some Chinese infected with COVID-19 developed conjunctivitis, with tear and eye discharge samples testing positive for the virus, indicating that there is a risk of contracting the disease through the eyes, he said, citing a study by China’s Zhejiang University.
Photo: Jennifer Huang, Taipei Times
Mucous membranes in the eye are the only exposed mucous tissues in the human body and could allow the entry of pathogens if there is a tear, Chen said.
The number of children diagnosed with conjunctivitis at a Hsinchu County hospital has risen by up to 40 percent since schools opened late last month, he said.
The increase might be linked to disease transmission at schools or air pollution, Chen said, adding that most parents were not sure whether their child’s condition was caused by an allergic reaction or a bacterial infection.
Symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis in children typically include itching, which leads to frequent eye-rubbing, as well as swelling, redness and excessive discharge, he said.
Pathogens in the discharge could easily spread to the eyelashes and other areas of the face as well as glasses, Chen said.
Washing hands frequently is key to preventing transferring pathogens from the eyes to other surfaces, or vice versa, he said.
OVERHAUL NEEDED: The government should improve its agricultural processing capabilities and expand to new markets to limit its reliance on China, an expert said China’s ban on Taiwanese pineapples was “unsurprising,” and Taiwan should have years ago altered its produce export strategies and target customers, experts said. China on Friday abruptly suspended imports of pineapples from Taiwan, saying that it had on multiple occasions discovered “harmful biological entities” on the fruit. Calling it an “unfriendly” move, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said that 99.79 percent of the pineapples sent to China since last year have met China’s import standards. Chiao Chun (焦鈞), the author of Fruits and Politics — A Recollection of Cross-strait Agricultural Interaction Over the Past Decade (水果政治學：兩岸農業交流十年回顧與展望), said that China’s announcement is clearly targeting
The Council of Agriculture yesterday signed a Taiwan-Australia Agricultural Cooperation Implementation clause to open a new export market for the nation’s pineapple crop. The clause is an addition to existing cooperation measures, it said. China on Friday last week abruptly announced that it would suspend pineapple imports from Taiwan starting on Monday, on grounds that it had on multiple occasions discovered “harmful organisms” in shipments of the fruit. The public and private sectors have since joined hands to purchase the local fruit to help the nation’s pineapple farmers. Canberra has requested that all pineapples for export to Australia have their crown buds removed,
DECADES OF INFLUENCE: Over the past 20 years, China has made inroads with Aborigines, funding political campaigns and trips, a legislator said Lawmakers have called on the National Security Bureau to investigate claims of pervasive Chinese influence among Aboriginal communities. Legislators pointed to a surge in communist propaganda and Chinese-funded projects over the past few years, which they say are aimed at infiltrating and buying political influence among Aboriginal communities. “China has for decades carried out wide-ranging ‘united front’ tactics and propaganda campaigns targeting Aborigines,” said Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Ying (陳瑩), a member of the Puyuma community in Taitung County. “Now, they are influencing elections for local councilors and village chiefs, offering money for candidates to mount their campaigns, and to
DISSATISFACTION? If the referendums collect more than 700,000 signatures each, they would have gotten the most signatures in the shortest time, the party said The Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) two referendum petitions — one on banning the importation of pork with traces of ractopamine and the other on holding referendums on the same day as national elections — had as of Thursday gathered 691,398 and 674,497 signatures respectively, the party said yesterday. If the petitions collect more than 700,000 signatures apiece, they would have garnered the most signatures in the shortest time since the Referendum Act (公民投票法) was amended in 2017, party officials said. The KMT proposed the “anti-ractopamine pork” or “food safety” referendum just days after President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) announcement on Aug. 28 last