Edit March 27, 2020: Here’s a great rebuttal to the voice message going around. The author was born with a genetic defect to her immune system, had to go through chemotherapy during a bone marrow transplant, and if you know anything about chemo, it is immunosuppressive - taking away the ability of your immune cells to recognize pathogens when they enter your body. Have a read here. Washing your hands, staying home, sanitizing surfaces, and maintaining social distancing are still key. Again, I am a front line worker as a veterinarian. My mother is a nurse. My scrubs immediately go into the laundry, and I shower when I get home from work, not just for COVID-19 protection, but to protect my pet and family from whatever bacteria and viruses are on me when I’m working in close contact with pets and people. But like she says “you do you”.
This post is loosely transcribed from a voice message posted by a nurse, through her colleague from Doctor Negrin University Hospital (source unknown at this point). The numbered items are almost directly transcribed, however, I added a few tidbits here and there. Read below!
The Chinese now understand, based on autopsy reports, how the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) affects patients. This virus causes thick mucous that solidifies and obstructs (blocks) the airways and lungs. In order to apply medicine to the site of affected tissue (lungs), you have to open and unblock the airways and this takes a number of days.
10 Tips from this message to protect yourself include:
1) Drink lots of hot liquids
Coffee, soups, teas, and water warm are suggested. Sip warm water every 20 minutes, as this washes the virus from your throat into your stomach where it will be neutralized by stomach acid.
2) Gargle with an antiseptic in warm water
Vinegar, salt, or lemon are antiseptic options. Do this daily.
3) The virus attaches itself to hair and clothing
Any detergent or soap will kill the virus. Therefore, have a shower when you enter off the street. Avoid sitting down in these street clothes, go straight to the bath or shower. If you cannot wash your clothes daily, then hang them in direct sunlight as this will also neutralize the virus.
4) Wash metallic surfaces carefully
In the home, these may include doorknobs, facets, etc. The virus can be viable for up to 9 days on these surfaces. While out of your home, watch that you are being careful when touching handrails, doorknobs, stainless steel tables, grocery checkout areas, etc. Within your home, keep surfaces clean, and wipe them down regularly. Enveloped viruses, such as the flu (influenza) and coronavirus, are easily neutralized with soaps, alcohol (70%), or bleach detergents. Contact time is important. Depending on the product you are using, the contact time (time the product needs to sit on the virus to neutralize it) ranges from 30 seconds to 10 minutes. If you wipe away the cleaner too soon (same with the soap being rinsed off your hands too soon - see item 6), then you have not neutralized the virus. For spray products, leave it on without wiping it.
5) Don’t Smoke
Or toke… or vape… I added those, even if it is self-explanatory.
6) Wash your hands every 20 minutes, for 20 seconds, in a sudsy soap
Check out my colleague’s post (she works in the swine industry – the epitome of biosecurity in Canada).
7) Eat fruits and vegetables
Increase both your vitamin C and zinc intake.
8) Animals do not spread the virus to people
The virus is person-to-person transmission. But if it is on surfaces and hair, then I cannot fully understand this one. While I do not believe that animals get ill from COVID-19, if the virus can sit on your hair, what about the hair of your dog or cat? What if your dog sniffs an affected person at the park, and then has it in the naso- or oropharynx and licks or sneezes on you? What if…
9) Try to avoid getting the common flu (influenza)
This will weaken your immune system.
10) Try to avoid eating and drinking cold things
If you do start to feel a sore throat, ensure you are taking the above precautions. The virus remains in your throat for 3 to 4 days prior to moving on to the lungs.