Your Guide to Staying Safe from Airborne Coronavirus

Updated on July 26th, 2020
airborne covid-19

Coronavirus pandemic continues its lethal march across the globe, causing irreversible loss to human lives and destroying economies. Though experts continue to understand the virus better, they are concerned about new findings.

After scientists recently concluded that coronavirus might be airborne, contrary to the WHO’s earlier observation that it spreads from the surface or through touch, doubts have risen to what people can do to shield themselves from the virus that may be traveling in the air.

Experts say people entering pubs, crowded indoor places, worship places, religious congregations, movie theatres, and are most prone to getting infected. It has been found that aerosols or droplets are spread when people sing or talk.

What does the report say?

In the latest report published in a media portal, more than 200 scientists from 32 nations have written a letter to the WHO (World Health Organization), claiming that there is increasing evidence to consider that the virus may float in the air in the form of smaller droplets.

It is essential to note that the WHO has maintained that the novel coronavirus spreads primarily from people to people through direct contact with the large droplets expelled from the infected person’s nose or mouth. It can also transmit through indirect contact with the droplets of an infected person, including surface contamination.

The health agency has stressed that airborne transmission of the virus is possible only during medical procedures that generate aerosols, which are droplets smaller than 5 microns.

It should be observed that according to a study published in The NEJM (New England Journal of Medicine), these aerosols can float in the air for about half an hour before settling down on surfaces.

When is COVID most infectious

The scientists noted that COVID-19(1) seems to be the most infectious in indoor settings, without proper ventilation, which is enough proof for aerosol contamination. They also noted that the general idea of airborne transmission from droplets floating in the air for prolonged periods capable of infecting people is dated.

[Also Read: Can you get the coronavirus twice?]

Are droplets or aerosols different?

Scientists say droplets and aerosols differ in sizes only — droplets are heavy, but aerosols can float in the air as they are light. Droplets fall quickly on the surface due to their heaviness. Still, aerosols are released even when infected or infected asymptomatic people breathe, though their potency may not be equal to droplets.

When does the virus become airborne?

A virus becomes airborne if it’s transmitted through the air. Though scientists say coronavirus can’t travel long distances, it can inevitably impact those inside a closed structure for up to 180 minutes. People should stay away from entering crowded indoor places as much as possible.

Additional arrangements have to be made for those running businesses or nursing homes or schools to ensure proper ventilation by installing active air filters. The use of UV (ultraviolet) lights can also help minimize the risk of virus contamination.

Here’s how to shield yourself from the airborne Covid-19?

Airborne diseases are infections that can be spread through people with specific infections sneeze, cough, or talk—spewing throat or nasal secretions into the atmosphere. Some bacteria or viruses land on other people or stay in the air, and when they inhale that air infections happen. 

The most troublesome thing in such diseases is that the virus can float in the air for prolonged periods. You will have to bear with the fact that you need to wear a mask for at least six months. And not just any mask, but a surgical triple-layer mask or N95 mask. It would be best if you covered your mouth and nose adequately.

Things you need to be extra cautious when it comes to covid-19 prevention:

1. Wearing a mask

You have been using masks for months now, but you need to make peace by wearing our masks. You should wear them whenever you head out so that you won’t inhale the virus. This is the most crucial thing that you can do to prevent any airborne disease.

[Also Read: Best Types of Covid-19 Face Masks]

2. Social distancing is still crucial

An extensive package of measures is needed to be able to prevent transmission. This includes not just physical distancing; it includes wearing masks where appropriate in specific settings, particularly where you can’t follow physical distancing and especially for healthcare warriors.

Airborne viruses are less than 5 microns. Even if anyone infected is breathing next to you and you inhale the same air, you can get infected with the virus.

[Also Read: Social Distancing Vs Physical Distancing]

3. No air conditioning

Avoid visiting places that have no ventilation and have to air-condition and are publicly accessible. So forget about going to your favorite restaurant or going to the mall anytime soon.

4. Stay in a well-ventilated room

Staying in a well-ventilated room is mandatory so that fresh air can circulate in the room. 

5. Face shields are a good option

Especially if you are in a business or public dealing job, you should wear a face shield to keep your hands off your face and is an effective way to stay away from airborne contamination.

While hand hygiene is a precautionary measure for droplet infections, we need to add it to our list because airborne diseases spread like wildfire.

Bottom Line

Maintain physical distancing; it’s essential to maintain at least 6-feet distance, as per the government guidelines. Clean your hands frequently and ensure there is proper ventilation if you work or live in such a place.

Try to minimize your engagement in closed structures like restaurants or pubs and go outdoors. If you can’t avoid going indoors, keep doors and windows of a room open as much as possible.

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