WHO has announced their new school of thought that suggests COVID-19 may be “airborne”. That means the virus is a droplet nuclei (aerosol) and remains infectious when suspended in air over long distances and time.
In effect, an infection can occur any time even when the carrier is long gone; in a park, walking anywhere, visiting anywhere including in hospitals and especially at large gatherings. This can also be indoors where the ventilation is poor and the air does not have a chance to refresh. That’s why the common cold, influenza and even mumps and chickenpox is so easy to catch even when you don’t recall being near ill people.
It’s impossible to always be in a pathogen-free zone but you can be mindful and take the following common-sense steps to reduce your chances of becoming ill.
- Avoid large gatherings of people as airborne diseases can spread easily.
- Wear a face mask or failing that any sort of barrier to cover mouth and nose. This decreases the risk of both releasing microbes into the atmosphere and contracting those present in the atmosphere.
- Practice social distancing.
- Wash your hands as often as possible for at least 20 seconds. Ordinary soap is effective
- Avoid close contact with those who are sick or have active symptoms of the disease
Not so obvious but common-sense:
- Ventilate rooms to help clear the air quickly.
- Cough/sneeze into a handkerchief or into the elbow to reduce airborne transmission.
- Avoid touching the face, nose and eyes.
- Germs and viruses love to lurk on items you touch every day.
Maintain a robust immune system
One of the best defences against illness is by far a robust immune system.
- You can boost yours by getting enough sleep, eating well, drinking lots of water – it’s amazing how little we drink – exercise or at least stay active.
Stress is one of the biggest culprits of a weak immune system. During these strange times, many are living in fear and stress. This is what happens to your body:
- Your hypothalamus, a tiny region at your brain’s base, goes on high alert which sets off nerve and hormonal signals to your adrenal glands, located atop your kidneys. A concoction of state altering hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, are released into your body.
- Your heart rate is increased, blood pressure creeps up and cortisol levels are high. You are now in fight or flight mode. This is useful if the perceived risk is short-lived (say a wild dog barks at you) but dangerous when prolonged in times such as now.
It’s exhausting and dangerous because resources that keep the immune system healthy goes into keeping you in this alert state and more susceptible to illness.
Find a way to relax, read, stay away from the news and if so inclined meditate.