How is your Coronavirus year gone? Have you missed traveling? Interacting with real people? Shaking hands? Hugs? Kisses? Groups of friends? Customers? There are of course plenty of things not to miss. Rush hour traffic, long lines, full airplanes, Full parking lots, long waits for restaurants. Pardon the pun, but the world will breathe a lot easier when COVID-19 is truly a thing of the past. News of several vaccines that are over 90% effective gives us a reason to believe that by late next spring much of the world and our lives will go back to something approaching normal.
In the meantime, outbreaks are soaring across the country. Anyone who has studied the history of the Spanish Flu or other respiratory diseases knew we would face a sharp rise as we all moved indoors this fall. Over 90% of Coronavirus cases have been contracted indoors where the virus can linger in the air and on surfaces for long periods of time. Some of the rise is due to coronavirus fatigue and complacency. How many people do you see in the grocery stores with masks at half staff? Big news folks! Stop the presses! It has been revealed that the nose is actually connected to the respiratory system.
How about those who sit inside restaurants or coffee shops for long periods of time with no masks on as if they were Les Nessman from WKRP with his invisible wall? Just because they aren’t required to wear a mask thinking they are somehow immune from contracting the virus or spreading it. Still, some of the outbreak is due to the pandemic of stupidity and willful ignorance that wearing a mask or social distancing is somehow giving into fear or worse, making a political statement.
Fall has is only half over and cases of Coronavirus have tripled in the past month. With this kind of increase, what do you think the case outlook is likely to be in December or January when going outside means a lot more than a light jacket or when eating outdoors or enjoying a morning coffee on the patio becomes virtually impossible unless one is dressed as if joining the Roald Amundsen expedition?
There are a number of ways people can protect themselves, their loved ones, their coworkers, customers, and patients while this pandemic rages on. The simplest ways of course are to wear masks in public and wear them correctly, covering both the nose and mouth. The second is social distancing. Standing back a few more steps from people can help a lot in stopping the spread. Limiting the number of people in your practice or store at any given time is always a safer choice.
Then there is good ventilation. If spending time outdoors this summer helped mitigate the spread of the virus, then opening a window or two at home can help as well. On one of our recent podcasts, we learned from medical geographer and disease ecologist, Rachel Woodul, that heat registers under windows in older homes are a legacy from the Spanish Flu days when they too learned that fresh air helped keep the virus at bay. Today most buildings are pumping air from outside into buildings at record volumes to try and best mimic the dispersion of air that occurs outside and find a way to keep air from lingering inside.
There are other ways we can all help lessen our exposure to the coronavirus. We all know about washing hands and keeping surfaces clean. Optical shops around the world have being implementing a multitude of processes and procedures to clean and keep clean their stores, their exam rooms, and their inventory. Everything from bleach to UVC lights, handwashing frames to putting in air purifiers throughout the office and showroom. Some of these methods use extreme measures that deal a lethal blow to the virus but can also damage expensive inventory over time. Harsh chemicals are also no joy to breathe in or anything we wish to come in contact with our skin on a regular basis too.
A friend recently shared a white paper on Hypochlorous acid. Hypochlorous acid is the same substance white blood cells produce to fight infection. It is therefore natural and non-toxic to humans. It can be purchased premade and used to wipe down surfaces. Hypochlorous acid binds with the unsaturated lipid layer of many microorganisms, including SARS-CoV-2, and disrupts the cellular integrity of those organisms. Hypochlorous acid has been used as a cleaning agent for fruits and vegetables for years. Hypochlorous acid is an EPA approved disinfectant for use on COVID-19.
It has also been used in humidifiers since the days of the Spanish Flu in 1918. It is this aspect of helping combat COVID-19 we are sharing with you here. Running Hypochlorous acid through a humidifier is something every office or store can do that can help protect you and your patients and customers. All you need is a humidifier (or two or three), water, vinegar, and non-iodized or Kosher salt. Mix one liter/quart of water, with one teaspoon of vinegar, and a gram of Kosher salt. It’s that easy.
We have a humidifier running in the office night and day and another on each floor at home. Humidifiers can also be particularly effective for treating dryness of the skin, nose, throat, and lips. They can also ease some of the symptoms caused by the flu or common cold. While we still practice mask-wearing in public as well as social distancing, the added protection of knowing the air we are breathing indoors is that much safer from the coronavirus makes us all feel much safer.