E. Personal Protective Measures.
1. Temperature Detection. In Wuhan, China, 98.6% of the people who tested positive for the virus had a fever. [Wang et. al. (2020) Clinical Characteristics of 138 Hospitalized Patients With 2019 Novel Coronavirus–Infected Pneumonia in Wuhan, China. JAMA.;323(11):1061–1069; doi:10.1001/jama.2020.1585]
This is the number one protection for anyone entering your home. It would also be easy to check restaurant workers. Infrared temperature sensors are commercially available from many sources.
Quorvita has a recommendation to Cell Phone Companies. Incorporate a temperature sensor into the cell phone. This way a homeowner can simply ask friends, relatives, and strangers to show their telephone scan displaying their temperature. Since fever is the number one protection against contagion, it seems like a good fit. This would make a great competition between various makers to market the best internal temperature detector. Ocular thermography is a potential method to measure internal body temperature. [Jen-Hong Tan et al. (2009) Infrared thermography on ocular surface temperature: A review, Infrared Physics & Technology, 52 (4), 97-108; Johnson Shylo et al (2011) Thermographic Eye Temperature as an Index to Body Temperature in Ponies, Journal of Equine Veterinary Science, 31(2) 63-66.]
Being able to identify a person with a fever could lead to precautionary measures: having that person wear a mask, perhaps gloves, or even having an ultraviolet light wand passed over him/her in order to kill the viruses on the outside of clothing. It could also mean postponing the meeting or visit.
2. Hand Shaking, Hand Washing & Alcohol Wipes. There have been many laboratory tests showing that hand washing and alcohol disinfectants kill viruses. There are also several human epidemiology studies. [Kampf & Kramer, (2004) Epidemiologic Background of Hand Hygiene and Evaluation of the Most Important Agents for Scrubs and Rubs, Clin Microbiol Rev. 17(4): 863–893.
In the early 19th century hand washing reduced maternity mortality. One clinic was run in a conventional way had a mortality rate of 10%. Another clinic run by midwives used hand washing and the mortality rate dropped to 2 percent.
Hand shaking provides a direct path for spreading viruses and bacteria. Swabs were used before and after hand-shaking to detect if bacteria could be transmitted. It showed significant transfer of 7 types of bacteria. [Gunda & Kariveda, (2018) Evaluation of bacteria transmissible through shake hand, International Journal of Biology Research 3:(1) pgs 103-108.] Direct kissing has been shown to spread HIV, Herpes Simplex, and other microbes.
3. Gloves. The use of latex gloves in a laboratory setting reduced the transmission of HIV virus. However, it was reported that many gloves had a high number of small holes and imperfections. The double dipped rubber latex glove was better than the single dipped gloves.
Latex gloves have been shown effective in a hospital setting. [Postlewaite (1988) The effectiveness of rubber latex gloves as a barrier to human immunodeficiency virus, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health-NIOSH, pgs 1-52] during the Swine Flu outbreak, gloves significantly reduced the virus spread in a hospital setting.
However, it has been shown that people do not like wearing gloves and skip using them when possible. In England a study of 15 hospitals found that gloves were not used 60 percent of the time.
4. Copper Surfaces. It is well known that metallic copper has antimicrobial properties. This has been known by human civilizations back in the 5th and 6th millennia BC. [Grass et al (2010) Metallic Copper as an Antimicrobial Surface, Appl Environ Microbiol. 2011 Mar; 77(5): 1541–1547 ]. The CoVID-19 virus can live for days on plastic or metal surfaces but dies soon after contact with copper. Tests done on hospital bed rails made of plastic verses copper showed the microbial count went down from 3029 ACC/100 cm2 to less than 250 AAD/100cm2. The length of stay in the hospital was also reduced. Cell phone manufacturers should look into using copper skins to impart antiviral protection.
5. Masks. Viruses are very small ranging from the giants such as the measles virus at 0.22 microns to the small like the polio virus at 0.03 microns. The hospital grade respiration 9501 can filter out particles larger than 0.3 microns. This means that these respirators cannot filter out most individual viruses. However, airborne viruses are usually contained in droplets which are much larger than 0.3 microns. But this is a temporary measure since water droplets will evaporate in a relatively short time period. When the water droplets evaporate the virus can freely pass through the respirator and into the lungs. This is a reason why health care workers should replace their respirators whenever they leave a room containing a known contagious virus.
In a study done to determine the effectiveness in a non-hospital setting, 286 adults had been exposed to a child with a respiratory illness. They found that when masks were used, there was a reduction in the infections. However less than 50 percent of the participants wore the mask.[MacIntyre et al (2009) Face Mask Use and Control of Respiratory Virus Transmission in Housholds, Emerg Infect Dis. 2009 Feb; 15(2): 233–241. ]
In a non-hospital study in Hong Kong using surgical masks, the cold virus was detected 3 out of 10 times without masks and 0 out of 11 times with the mask. With the influenza virus it was 6 out of 23 times without a mask and 1 out of 27 times with a mask. [Leung et al (2020) Respiratory virus shedding in exhaled breath and efficacy of face masks, Nat Med (2020) ]. This is proof that medical masks are effective.
Uncontrolled at- home studies are to be viewed with caution. As an illustration, College students were paid $50 to participate in a study on whether a nasal drug could reduce the length of the common cold. Dramatic results came in from the participants showing that the cold duration was reduced from 7 days to 3 days. Unfortunately, 82% of the college participants tested negative for the cold virus, i.e. they didn’t have a cold in the first place.
It is unknown whether non-medical masks provides protection against getting the virus. A recent blog suggests that non-medical masks have not been shown to provide any benefits against contagious diseases. The blog cites published studies to support their position.
A mask or scarf may provide benefits when used by those infected to trap the virus from spreading to others. There are several caveats. One is that the mask should be replaced before the water in the droplets are allowed to evaporate. Another is that wearing a mask by an infected person may be detrimental to the infected person by increasing the virus concentration circulating in their lungs. This is consistent with the “Open Air Treatment” found effective during the Spanish Flu epidemic.
Masks used outside the hospital setting are valuable to the health of the user to filter out large particles that do not evaporate, such as smoke.
6. Deep Breathing Exercises. Dr. Jonathan Bayuk, an Immunologist, has recommended deep breathing exercises to strengthen the lungs against COVID19. The exact procedure is shown in a Youtube™ video. In a nutshell it includes taking deep breaths, holding them a few seconds, and then releasing them with a cough. It strongly recommends against sleeping exclusively on your back, but to rotate from side to side and onto your stomach. The stomach position may not be appropriate for GERDS and those suffering from acid reflux problems.