Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, interest in viral transmission and protection is at an all-time high.
Much like other viruses, the COVID-19 virus is transmitted through droplets in the air, making the best way to protect yourself from the virus is by minimizing your exposure to these droplets.
The viral load of exposure which increases the risk of contraction can be caused by exposure to symptomatic people for a specific amount of time, especially in an indoor non-UV Hepa filtered environment. Since the UV light of natural sunlight kills all microorganisms, including viruses, the safest place to be while in public is outside.
How are germs spread?
It takes more than just being around an infected person to get sick. Exposure to microorganisms such as virus and bacteria particles has to be a certain amount for a duration of time in a non-UV light and Hepa-filtered indoor space to increase the risk of disease.
The most compromised scenario is being in an enclosed, unfiltered, recirculated air room without UV-light or Hepa air filters while within close proximity to a symptomatic person. It’s not enough to be stuck in a room with them, though. The virus particles should be inhaled for more than 45 minutes in order for them to be transferred to you.
The nasal lining, where air (and viruses) pass, is an essential part of the immune system as well. It is actually our body’s first line of defense when it comes to airborne particles. The nasal lining consists of superficial mucus membranes over an aqueous base which traps any particles and diverts them to the gastrointestinal systems where they can be destroyed.
How can I protect myself?
Even if virus particles have been inhaled they can be trapped in the sinus and throat mucus membranes, you can still protect yourself. One can practice a nasal wash and throat gargle immediately after being exposed to symptomatic people for prevention. This is a more effective prevention method than mask-wearing since surgical and KN95 masks that only can block 80 micron-sized particles do not prevent inhalation of 1 micron-sized virus particle.
A nasal wash or throat gargle rinses away any particles that have been lodged in the nasal lining, removing the mucus as well as the intruder. Nasal washes or throat gargles also increase the hydration of the aqueous layer, reducing inflammation in these areas.
What do I need for a nasal wash or throat gargle?
Betadine over-the-counter diluted nasal sprays and throat gargles are available online and in pharmacies.
Diluted 3% food-grade hydrogen peroxide can also be used for prevention as a nasal wash and throat gargle post-exposure to any possibly symptomatic people in an indoor public setting.
Make sure to do your nasal wash in front of a sink as Betadine can stain and hydrogen peroxide is known to have a bleaching effect. You can even put on a bib or drape a towel over your chest to make things easier.
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