The 2019/2020 outbreak and global spread of the 'Coronavirus' brought an unprecedented amount of media attention to the Coronavirus strain. The situation brought a fear of not only contracting the virus but also passing it on to others who may be more vulnerable. We hope that by publishing some of the facts, we can help to educate people and elevate some potentially unnecessary concerns; for, "We often fear what we do not truly understand".
We will also seek to suggest ways in which we can all protect ourselves and prevent the spread of this and other viruses, now and into the future...
The formally recognised terminology for the 2019/2020 virus, as defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO), is 'SARS Coronavirus 2' (SARS-CoV-2 for short). SARS stands for 'Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome' which can result in a potentially life-threatening form of pneumonia - swelling (or inflammation) of the tissue in the lungs. Whilst pneumonia is usually caused by a bacterial infection, SARS has been attributed to the SARS Coronavirus (CoV), which is a virus.
Whilst the 2019/2020 outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 has been detected in and spread to many areas of our planet (also referred to as a global pandemic), potentially threatening the lives of people who are more vulnerable to pneumonia, respiratory diseases or suffer from a reduced immune system, the statistics do not suggest that more deaths have been caused by the pandemic than would normally be attributed in the global mortality rate naturally occurring each year. However, as with all viral and bacterial infections, the spread can be managed and contained through simple actions.
SARS-CoV-2 is a self-assembled nanoparticle, held together with strings of fatty (lipid) bilayers. These lipids are the virus's weakest link and when the links are broken, the virus becomes inactive. Hand soaps are arguable more effective at breaking down SARS-CoV-2 than hand sanitisers, as they break down lipids. If using a hand sanitiser, it must contain 70-75% proof of alcohol to be effective on viruses, however, this will also strip the skin of essential oils and moisture, which can lead to persistent and recurring skin conditions, such as eczema.
Professor Knutt Wittkowski, head of Biostatistics, Epidemiology & Research at Rockefeller University, states that viruses such as influenza (common flu) are less prevalent in springtime and tend to die off, as they do not survive well in warmer outdoors environments. However, most people travel, work, shop and relax in closed inside environments It is not therefore always practical to spend time outdoors, increasing the risk and rate of viral contagion.
So, how can we make our indoor environments safer and prevent the rate at which bacteria and viruses spread?
Face masks can be effective in preventing bacteria and viruses from spreading from person to person as they reduce the range of air space through which the person carrying the bacteria or virus can infect and hence limit the transmission to others. Face masks have been widely used in areas of Asia for many years, such as China, by people carrying viral infections, in order to reduce exposure and the chance of spreading it from themselves to other people. Whilst it makes good sense to use a 3-ply paper face mask, masks which contain active filters and fit snugly around the mouth and nose are more effective in preventing contraction of airborne bacteria and viruses.
Air purifiers can be an effective way of killing airborne bacteria and viruses. Air purifiers work by sending out negatively charged ions (airborne particles with a negative electrostatic charge) which attach themselves to any airborne particle, including bacteria and viruses, electrostatically attracting the particles to surfaces and removing them from the air. Furthermore, certain air purifiers using negatively charged ion production have also been proven to kill bacteria and viruses residing on surfaces.
In 2003 the British National Health Service (NHS) conducted an epidemiological study at St James's hospital in Leeds into the effectiveness of negative air ionisers. The team was astonished to discover that by negatively charging air particles in a closed environment the rate of airborne infections fell to zero.
Using effective negative air ionisers in indoor environments, such as offices, public buildings and transport systems can eradicate the presence of bacteria and viruses, including tuberculosis (TB), SARS, MERS, influenza (common flu) and more, from the air. Whilst some viruses and bacteria may remain active on surfaces and therefore can still be transmitted, good hygiene routines such as washing hands well in warm, soapy water can prevent further transmission and reduce the possibility of infection.
Viral infections such as SARS-CoV-2 do not pose a life-threatening condition to people with stronger immune systems and who are in good health. Our best advice in combatting infection and staying safe is to eat healthily (avoiding foods which make your blood acidic), exercise regularly and avoid contact with people who may be vulnerable or more seriously affected by an infection.
Breathe healthy. Stay safe!