In this blog post, we will share some general tips and suggestions on how to protect yourself from COVID-19 and other airborne viruses. Even outside the ongoing pandemic, taking care of your health and defending yourself against diseases will always be important. We will discuss how to practice physical distancing and good hygiene, how to make your immune system stronger, the pros and cons of different face masks, and share some tips on how to improve your mental well-being.
Tip 1: Practice Physical Distancing
Although it can be difficult, the best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 and other airborne viruses is to practise physical distancing. Try to avoid close contact with people and if possible, stay at home. If you do have to interact with people face-to-face, keep a distance of 2 metres and ventilate the room frequently. In the case of an infected person, ventilating the room well decreases the concentration of viruses in the air!
Often it is possible to meet people outside instead. While reducing the risk of transmission, breathing in the fresh air also has the benefit of strengthening your immune system and improving your mental well-being! Avoid unnecessary trips to shops and in grocery stores try to buy more at once so you don’t have to go as frequently.
Tip 2: Wear a Face Mask (or something better!)
Whenever you are in a public place where you encounter other people, wear a face covering. The two most common options are either cloth or medical face masks. With medical masks, make sure to throw them away after 2-4 hours of wear. With cloth masks, wash and sanitise them every day after wearing them. Cloth masks are not as efficient, as they mainly filter out water aerosols that contain the viruses, but they are reusable. Medical face masks on the other hand produce lots of litter. In 2020, it is estimated that around 1.5 billion face masks ended up in the oceans!
As an alternative, we offer a non-medical grade wearable UV air purifier* that is worn on its user’s shoulders. It works by using germicidal UV-C light to inactivate bacteria and create a clean air zone around the wearer’s face. The Respiray air purifier is effective against viruses and bacteria, completely reusable, and as it doesn’t cover your face, it lets you breathe and smile freely again!
There are many studies that show how coronavirus acts similar to other viruses and bacteria that UV-C light successfully inactivates. A large amount of research has shown that UV-C is extremely effective since it inactivates pathogens in different ways. For example, for all known coronavirus, it has been shown that UV-C breaks the RNA chains rendering the virus unable to reproduce. It also disintegrates the membrane of the coronavirus virion and on top of it all breaks the structure of the famous spike proteins of the coronavirus. UV-C LED manufacturer Crystal IS, whose LEDs our device uses, presents research that demonstrates the effectiveness of germicidal UVC LEDs against SARS-CoV-2.
Another UV-C LED manufacturer has run tests comparing necessary light intensities to inactivate 99.9% pathogens and found that a similar UV-C light dose was needed to inactivate both E. Coli bacteria and SARS-CoV-2 at 265 nm. Our patent-pending UV-C disinfection model was independently tested for S. aureus and E. coli bacteria, resulting in around 2.5 and 2.6 log reduction respectively (99.68% and 99.89%) at 30 l/min throughputs. Our device has two of these disinfection modules built-in. Further tests have also shown that UV-C light is effective at inactivating SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19).
The Respiray wearable air purifier has also passed successful tests with alphavirus, which is a similar single-stranded RNA-genome virus to SARS-CoV-2 and both viruses are comparable in size: approximately 70-100 nanometers. Thus it is another way you can protect yourself from COVID-19. Read more about Respiray’s independent test results here.
Tip 3: Practice Good Hygiene
Good hygiene has always been and continues to be important. You should clean your hands often and thoroughly, either with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitiser. Clean your hands after being in public places and touching door handles, shopping carts, etc. Make sure to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds! Viruses usually enter the infected person’s body through their nose, mouth, or eyes, so avoid touching your face, especially with unwashed hands to protect yourself from COVID-19 and other viruses. When you feel like you need to sneeze or cough, do it into your elbow or a disposable tissue.
Tip 4: Strengthen Your Immune System
One of the best defences against disease is a strong immune system. Eat a varied diet of mainly fresh fruit and vegetables and avoid eating processed foods. Avoid consuming excess amounts of sugar, especially from sugary drinks and drink plenty of water. Plenty of good quality sleep is very important for the immune system and your overall well-being. Try to get around 8 hours of sleep every night. To improve the quality of your sleep, reduce your caffeine and alcohol intake, take away all technology from the bedroom and cool down your bedroom. For more tips on healthy sleep, visit the National Institutes of Health webpage.
Being active is important for your immune system as well. Try to be active for at least 30 minutes every day and exercise a few times a week. Go for a walk outside every day! It gives you the benefit of getting more sunlight AND more fresh air. Discuss taking food supplements with your health care professional. During winters with less sunlight, supplementing with vitamin D might be especially useful.
Tip 5: Take Care of Yourself & the People Around You
Staying home for longer periods of time and spending less or no face-to-face time with the people closest to you can be difficult for everybody. That’s why it is important to take care of yourself and check up on the people around you. Lower stress levels can also lead to a stronger immune system and help protect you from COVID-19! The following tips can be very helpful but for more support, please do not be afraid to talk to a mental health specialist.
One great way to reduce anxiety from viruses is to simply reduce the amount of information you consume. Using social media for news about the pandemic often creates needless and too much worry and that doesn’t lead to anything good, so it’s better to just not do it! It can also help to keep yourself busy. Now is the perfect time to pick up the hobby you’ve been thinking about for years – playing board games with your family, trying to cook your favourite meals, or finally learning to paint!
Stay safe and healthy!
*Please note: Respiray’s air purifier is not a medical-grade Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and in circumstances where medical-grade Personal Protective Equipment is recommended, you should consult a health care professional. Please remember that the use of our wearable air purifier does not replace the recommended measures to stop the spread of COVID-19. Follow the latest guidelines and rules of your local authorities and health care professionals.