And now this..? Is COVID Airborne?
This pandemic is still gripping the USA and the world. After all these months, we can all agree that the information keeps changing and evolving. As medical professionals keep learning more and more about this strain of coronavirus, the closer we are to understanding how to keep ourselves safe as well as be able to start “living a normal life” again.
As a part of the PUR2o team, I ghost write blogs that are both a mix of factual and opinion knowledge, that reflects the overall views and missions of the company, but today I will get a bit more personal with you, and be a bit less of a ‘ghost’. Two new pieces of new information have come to light in the last week that inspired this blog, and I thought that if I share some of my story, and also discuss this ever changing pandemic, maybe together we can feel better prepared to protect ourselves.
At the beginning of this pandemic it struck me that certain comparisons could be made between COVID-19 and other diseases. COVID-19 is part of a family of called zoonotic diseases that also includes conditions such as Bird Flu, Anthrax, Ebola, Influenza A, Lyme disease, Tuberculosis, West Nile and Zika just to name a few. Close to COVID-19 and commonly referred to in the current news cycles are the MERS coronavirus, and SARS coronavirus. Almost all of the diseases listed have a direct link to increased neurological and auto immune cases. We already know in the last few months there are links between Coronavirus and an increase in conditions such as stroke, brain swellings, multi-system inflammatory syndrome, and Guillain Barre Syndrome.
I read an article recently about COVID and the brain. The article is super interesting, detailing the observations of a Neuroscience Professor at UC San Diego and coronavirus. It hits very close to home because I know first hand how a sudden illness can cripple a person with long term health effects, that linger long after the original cause. Of course there is a chance of mortality with coronavirus, but the underlying conditions it causes and leaves behind is what makes me most nervous to catch it.
In the spring of 2016 I had two simple life events that would have otherwise gone unnoticed. One of them was getting a Flu Shot, and the second was taking a camping trip and getting bitten by some annoying mosquitos. Doctors are unsure which of the two caused me to get terribly sick, but a few weeks later I went into hospital with confusing symptoms, facial paralysis, numbness and muscle twitching and weakness. Two days later, I could no longer walk, could no longer hold anything in my hands, and eventually I was diagnosed with Guillain Barre Syndrome. GBS is a neurological disorder where your immune system responds to an infection and ends up mistakenly attacking nerve cells, resulting in muscle weakness and eventually paralysis. GBS is most commonly caused by a flu shot, a gastrointestinal or respiratory infection or a virus. I was in a wheel chair for 9 months before I started taking my first steps. 18 months later I attempted a 5k walk, with leg braces, a walking stick, and I proudly finished… albeit last place and extremely out of breath! 4 years later, I feel that have made a fair recovery. I can walk again and am mostly independent. In the last 6 months I have been able to gain strength enough to go without my foot braces most of the time, but I still suffer breathlessness, nerve pain, neuropathy, pins and needles, muscle twitching and fatigue in my hands and my feet. When I am extremely tired or stressed, I feel relapses in my recovery and I go backwards for a few days, in strength and abilities. I struggle with pride in asking friends or family members for help during those moments. I am not sure what my future will be, but after 4 years of struggles, I believe I may have these reminders for life. In the GBS community we use a turtle to symbol our condition, to us GBS stands not for our condition, but for "Getting Better Slowly”. No kidding… 4 years out and I am still not quite the person that I was before.
So why today do I decide to “un-ghost” myself a little bit and share this with you? Because it pains me to hear of anyone go through anything and struggle with chronic illness. Because it is too common for us to refer to someone as “recovered” when actually they have lingering underlying conditions that don’t go away. I can walk again, for example, but if I walk too far, or push too hard, my right leg starts to shake uncontrollably, intense muscle spasms make it go to jelly, and it becomes hard to walk and stand. It is quite comical to those around me, my kids giggle, “mummy look at your leg!”, but it is a moment’s reminder that there is “recovered” and “recovered”. I fear that after COVID-19, there are going to be too many people who understand exactly what that statement means. We are still months and years away from the studies coming out showing the long term health effects that COVID has caused, directly or indirectly.
I don’t know about you but I personally feel that washing hands, wearing a mask and social distancing from others is important, but they seem so minute and simple, and I can’t help but wonder if I can do more? I want to protect myself, but also my children and my family, and I feel obligated to research and ensure I do everything to make sure they are protected. When this started, doctors were saying ‘don’t wear a mask’. Then they changed their minds. Now we are all being mandated to wear masks. Then they said this virus isn’t airborne. Then they said 3ft apart, then 6ft apart. Now new scientific research shows that they may have also been wrong on that too.
A recent NYT article discussing the findings of a team of virologists and aerosol scientists. The article states that “A research team at the University of Florida succeeded in isolating live virus from aerosols collected at a distance of seven to 16 feet from patients hospitalized with Covid-19 — farther than the six feet recommended in social distancing guidelines.”
Maybe this explains how family members in a house, even though they are fully isolated, are still infecting each other? Or how people at indoor gatherings are infecting others across the other side of the room? Now doctors and the CDC are also uncertain if the virus can spread through air conditioning through a home or building.
Frustrated? Yes me too. My husband always teases me that I “overthink” everything. But during this pandemic he keeps eating his words, and pointing out how I predicted one thing or another prior to it happening. So now here I am overthinking again.
I started working with PUR2o because I was a customer first, I installed an Alkaline Plus drinking system in my home (which CHANGED MY LIFE… by the way!). So at the beginning of this pandemic in March I bought an Air Filter for my home, offered through PUR2o, just to be safe. The thought train is that if someone in my house got sick I could wheel it into their room and filter the virus out of the air. Well, I can gloat again to my husband, because these new studies that have come out show that I may have made a smart decision back in March, while being my over cautious self.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the HealthWay Family of Brands has conducted a series of tests to show the efficacy of DFS technology on the capture and permanent removal of airborne viruses and bacteria. With the news cycles reporting of possible airborne COVID transmission, it is a relief to have something we can turn to for comfort.
Two tests were done to indicate virus removal from the air. The DFS technology was proven to remove from the air, a virus which is smaller than SARS-CoV-2 at .03 micron in size (COVID-19 is approximately 0.1micron in size). The results of this data show 99.987% elimination in 10 minutes, 100% elimination in 45 minutes and again 100% at 24 hours indicating no reintroduction of the virus to the air. A second test was done with Bacteriophage Phi6 which is often used to represent large, enveloped human pathogenic viruses such as coronaviruses and influenza viruses and is most similar in size and composition to SARS-CoV-2. Independent testing indicated a 99.99% reduction in 10 minutes.
We have published HealthWay’s full report on our website for you to read, but please note that this technology is NOT the same as a HEPA filter, which is not proven to filter small enough molecules to eliminate these types of viruses.
After this recent report, and more information on the airborne potential for COVID-19 being released as well, I plan to upgrade my system and install one of the full house systems with each of my two AC units in my house, and move the unit I have to my husbands work place, to offer him extra protection at work. To me it’s an extra layer of cautiousness, and something I feel that I can control. The thought of more chronic, long term illness in my house is just too much to bear, so I do what I can for my family. Lets face it, social distancing for a few weeks is possible, but social distancing for months, not going back to school? This for sure can cause depression and mental illness, even my kids are ‘climbing the walls’. So all I can try to do is add little protective layers around my family, for us to be able to socialize a bit, but still feel we are doing our best to stay safe.
I think that is one of the reasons why I filtered my drinking water to begin with years ago. Every day a new scientific group conducts a study that questions the safety of contaminants in water, links the chemicals we drink to certain cancers, and changes the recommended limits of water contaminants up and down. I didn’t want to wait for a study to confirm they were bad for me and my loved ones before I just got rid of them in the first place. I eat healthy and exercise to try to help my body so that I may live a longer, better life. I want to drink clean water, breathe clean air, and hopefully add a few extra years to that long life I plan to live!
Right now we are in fight or flight mode because of this pandemic, so usually I swear by investing in water filtration. But today I’d encourage you to filter your air. It’s a more immediate and desperate need. It’s always better to be safe, than sorry.