VIRUSES CAN BE DANGEROUS BUT ARE ALSO FRAGILEOpen tab
Viruses are microscopic infectious agents that need a host (usually a cell) to replicate. Once it has managed to enter the target cell, it incorporates its DNA into the cell nucleus in order to modify its function and produce other viral particles. Once this cycle is set up repeatedly, the viral load will increase exponentially, which will affect the body's functioning and cause symptoms.
Most scientists agree that viruses have been present on earth since the origin of life. Whatever primordial soup gave birth to cellular life, they think it probably generated viruses at the same time. Being of numerous natures and having very variable degree of danger for the human being, it is not conceivable to get rid of them but rather to understand who they are in order to better counter them.
An in-depth study of the modes of transmission and the contexts that are conducive to the spread of viruses has enabled scientists to identify vulnerabilities, particularly when exposed to the outside world.
ENVIRONMENT AND PROTECTIONOpen tab
The ideal environment is the host for viruses. The host provides the conditions it needs to stay active. This means a certain temperature, a particular pH and the absence of outside air. Without the right conditions, the virus gradually loses its ability to infect others and often does not survive for long.
However, some viruses are capable of surviving and remaining active for several days in an outdoor environment (depending on factors such as temperature or humidity). Their number should not be underestimated. Every day we are in contact with several billion viral particles, the vast majority being fortunately not dangerous for humans. They are part of our life even if it is necessary to protect ourselves from some of them.
There are two ways to consider protection against a virus intrusion. Either it is necessary to put a physical barrier against it (e.g. a protective mask) or to destroy it chemically before it can enter your body. We know that viruses are usually composed of a nucleic sequence (DNA or RNA) that is surrounded by a capsule of proteins. It is now widely recognized that the use of water with soap to wash your hands for 20 seconds or a 70% alcohol solution are effective methods of getting rid of viruses. These two solutions cause the virus capsule to burst, making them totally inoperative.
3 SOLUTIONS FOR EFFECTIVE PROTECTION...COMING SOON!
1. WEAR A PROTECTIVE MASKOpen tab
Apart from protecting others, wearing a mask protects you from aerial contamination by a pathogen. To move, pathogens (viruses and bacteria) use carriers that consist of small particles (e.g. micro-droplets) suspended in the air. Of variable sizes (0.01-100 micrometers), they allow the survival and movement of them in space, especially when it is fenced.
Viruses and bacteria are often much smaller than the mesh size of a standard face mask. It is a fact that they use larger carriers (micro-particles and micro-droplets) to move through the air that allows the mask to provide effective protection. The mask also provides a barrier against gestures such as the (potentially contaminated) hand being brought to the mouth or nose which reduces contact.
A protective mask should be worn in the event of an epidemic or pandemic and perhaps even outside this type of period, in places where you are potentially in contact with other people. Places such as train stations and airports are particularly sensitive; others may also be sensitive depending on the health emergency measures in place (restaurants, bars, public transport, shops, petrol stations or sports clubs).
In order to maintain its effectiveness, a multiple-use mask should be washed regularly. With a conventional detergent, it is recommended that cycles of a minimum of 30 minutes be carried out at a temperature of 60°C. A reusable fabric mask should be washed after 4 hours of use.
2. WASH YOUR HANDSOpen tab
Hands are one of the most common ways of transmitting an infection from one person to another. Viruses and bacteria are spread when mucus or droplets containing them enter your body through your eyes, nose or throat. It is therefore very important to follow strict hand hygiene to protect yourself from contamination.
Washing hands with soap and water is one of the most economical and easy ways to prevent the spread of a virus or bacterial infection. To reduce the risk of contamination drastically, hands must be washed very frequently. A recent study by British researchers showed that washing hands 6 to 10 times a day reduced the risk by almost 40%.
To do this effectively, soak your hands with running water and apply enough soap to completely cover them. Then rub the entire surface of your hands, including the backs of your hands, the spaces between your fingers and under your nails, for at least 20 seconds.
Finally, rinse your hands thoroughly under running water and dry them with a clean cloth. Be careful, the fact that your hands are very dry is an important element. Your hands must not be used as a support for new contamination.
If you use a hydro-alcoholic solution, make sure it contains at least 70% alcohol.
3. WASH SURFACESOpen tab
Surfaces that require frequent cleaning are those we touch often. Surfaces that are potentially in contact with many people are the most dangerous. Transit areas (train station, airport), transportation (airplane, bus, cab), restaurants, toilets or common areas such as conference rooms or waiting rooms are more sensitive than others.
Try to identify surfaces where you might lay your hands so that you can clean them before touching them. Surfaces such as chair armrests, tables, bar counters, door handles, toilet bowls or window sills (e.g. on trains or airplanes) do not make an exhaustive list, but just be aware of what you are doing to identify the surfaces to be disinfected. Also disinfect objects that you use regularly such as the car steering wheel, keys sets, cell phones, tablets, keyboard, mouse and computer screen.
To do this effectively, it is often best to use a disinfectant wipe, many are available on the market. Simply check the product specifications before use. It must be guaranteed to eliminate more than 99% of bacteria and viruses.
Finally, your apartment or house must be cleaned regularly and effectively to limit the risk of contamination. Bleach is probably the best disinfectant to kill germs and bacteria, but use it with care, especially if someone is sick in the house. You can also use 70% alcohol, with open windows, to disinfect smooth surfaces in the bathroom or kitchen. Some articles found on the Internet recommend the use of white vinegar to disinfect surfaces. However, scientific studies show quite unanimously that it is not effective in denaturing all viruses effectively, it should therefore be avoided.
Even if it is sometimes difficult to think of everything, the goal is to benefit from a healthy environment that is as free of contamination as possible.