Social Distancing Day 6

Today has been pretty quiet. Mostly just working from home. Went to bed late last night, and woke up at a reasonable time, so I was a little exhausted by late afternoon. I made the most of my work-from-home situation by taking a long nap. It was wonderful, but hopefully won’t interfere with going to bed early tonight.

Like many of you, I have been keeping an eye on scientific news and results surrounding the Coronavirus. So what follows are some things I’ve learned recently and might be of interest to you. Please note that for all of these, I am not a doctor, and this does not constitute medical advice. I have linked references wherever I could.

You’ve probably heard the advice to wash your hands for 20 seconds, with soap and hot water. According to the CDC, the temperature of the water does not matter as much as does using soap. The soap dissolves the virus’ lipid bilayer, causing it to fall apart. Soaps with “anti-bacterial” ingredients do not seem to add any benefit.

Something you may not have heard is that one of the commonalities among young people with COVID-19 who need to enter the hospital is that they were taking NSAIDs (like Advil, Motrin, Aleve and Aspirin). It seems like they might actually make it easier for the virus to enter your cells, and also does a number on your kidneys.

In addition to current research, I’ve also been looking at some articles that talk about the 1918 Spanish Flu, and other viral infections. For starters, there’s an article on the relationship between sleep and susceptibility to the common cold. From the response to Spanish Flu (in Boston in particular) we learn that open air and sunlight seems to have a significant positive effect on patient mortality. This is likely related to vitamin D, which our bodies produce with sunlight exposure.

The plural of anecdote is not data, but when I moved to Boston, I got mildly sick almost every other week my first winter. My nutritionist encouraged me to take regular vitamin D supplements, and I’ve barely been sick since then. Alas, sunlight is not always easy to come by in this part of the world.

In line with all of that, I made sure to open my windows, and spend a couple hours sitting in the sun today. I’m very grateful to have large windows with a view in my bedroom, and a balcony that gets a lot of sun in the afternoon.

Some breaking research out of Iceland seems to reinforce what we’ve learned: most people are asymptomatic, or have mild symptoms, but that those without symptoms are certainly spreading it. That means that it’s not sufficient to stay home until you get sick. Unless you live in a country with sufficient testing capacity, you need to stay home right now. And while you’re doing that, please try to stay safe, stay sane and take care of each other.

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