Corona Virus and infections by aerosols

29.06.2020
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Corona Virus and infections by aerosols

The COVID-19 virus pandemic was caused by the coronavirus strain and has changed our everyday behavior tremendously in the past few months. Thought to originate from animals and mutated so to become infectious to human beings (eg. Zoonotic).

People are getting infected by aerosols introduction (microscopic water droplets containing the virus) into their upper respiratory tract either through the mouth or nose which could be spread by cough or sneezing to a distance of up to a meter, that’s why social distancing is so important to decrease the chance of infection.

Coronavirus is very resistant and could stay on various surfaces such as plastic, cloth, wood, and steal even up to four days. A recently published research from Singapore found active viral ingredients on facial protective masks even a week after beginning the study, concluding that facial protective masks should not be worn more than once. The coronavirus is sensitive to hand soap and 70% alcohol solutions which are best being used before taking off our face masks.

Viral concentration, at least in the first few days from infection, is found at the highest percentage in the oral cavity and nose of the patients, which causes spreading to become very simple and contagious. Patients suffering from chronic nose inflammation, such as allergic rhinitis, frequently use local steroids sprays for symptomatic relief which doesn't show an increased risk of infection, though systematic steroid regiment is discouraged for nose and sinus diseases if an alternative treatment could be used because of the chance to decrease immunity, which could increase the probability for infection.

Recent articles have shown that in addition to the frequent known symptoms such as dry cough, difficult breathing, and fever, decreased sense of smell is also being considered one of the first symptoms to appear in the early stage of the disease though the prognostication of this sign is yet to be defined.

In conclusion a few practical tips:

  • 1. Wash your hands with water and soap or use alcohol solutions after touching any public objects or before taking off your mask
  • 2. Social distancing is crucial for decreasing the chance of being infected by viral aerosols
  • 3. Try to change face masks as frequent as possible, especially after they become moist 
  • 4. Local steroid treatments are considered safe for the chronic or acute nose and sinus diseases  

Reference: stability of SARS-CoV-2 in different environmental conditions; Alex W.H Chin et ali.

Dr. Ofer Gluck graduated from the Semmelweiss Faculty of Medicine in Budapest, Hungary, and he is specialized in ENT medicine, head & neck surgery in the Soroka Hospital in Beer Sheva. After the completion of his specialization, he started a fellowship in nasal and sinus surgery and facial plastic operations at the Royal Hospital of Manchester, England, under the guidance of the leading and renowned authorities in this field of medicine, Prof. Tim Woolford and Dr. Raj Bahala.
Upon his return to Israel, he worked for 5 years as a senior surgeon at the Edith Wolfson Medical Center. Currently, being a co-founder and vice-chairman of the ENT Department at the Assuta Ashdod University Medical Center, he was appointed as head of the nasal and sinus surgery service.
He believes that the patient should be approached as a holistic entity, focusing not only on the particular problem for which he presented, but all aspects, including emotional and physiological, next to physiological and physical, must be considered at planning the treatment.


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