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Oct 8, 2021
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Virus and Human: How to Create a Barrier

Is it possible to shorten the treatment time for a cold?

If you already have a cold, then – do not get treated – the sick leave time will take about a week. The fact is that there is no specific cure for acute respiratory diseases. Of the 200 microbes that can cause symptoms of acute respiratory viral infections (ARVI), medicine knows an approach only to the influenza virus, and then with reservations.

How to help the immune system?

The easiest way to help the immune system is to create a barrier between the infection and the body. The dose-dependent effect works for most viruses: in order to get sick, you need to get a certain amount of viruses. On the one hand, this means that the likelihood of getting infected from an accidentally sneezed bystander is lower than if someone from the family got sick. On the other hand, the number of such “pass-through” contacts can reach a critical mass and – meet a cold.

The spread of viral particles. Source: goonerua / freepik.com / Adapted: MedPortal

Anti-virus barrier without mask

Medicines with a barrier function are recommended by the Ministry of Health as one of the ways to prevent COVID-19. These drugs act locally – on the skin and mucous membranes – and prevent microbes from entering the human body. Such a barrier, for example, is created by nasal drops based on octenidine dihydrochloride, hydroxyethyl cellulose and dexpanthenol. They are released under the trade name MestaMidin-nose.

In 2021, Russian scientists investigated the properties of this drug. They tested the resistance of influenza A and B viruses, adenovirus, OS34 coronavirus, parainfluenza and respiratory syncytial virus to the combination of active substances in MestaMidin-nasal drops. It turned out that the composition of these nasal drops completely suppresses the activity of influenza B viruses, parainfluenza, OS34 coronavirus and respiratory syncytial virus in 60 minutes and significantly reduces the concentration of adenovirus and influenza A viruses.

The manufacturers themselves write that MestaMidin-nose drops not only have antiseptic properties, but also moisturize the nasal mucosa. Normally, a person secretes about a liter of nasal mucus every day. Mucus retains particles of bacteria and viruses and, due to the movements of ciliated microcells of the epithelium, these pathogens are removed from the body.

There is a theory (1, 2) that when the air becomes drier and colder – in autumn and winter – the epithelium of the nose and nasal mucus cool down and reduce their protective properties. Probably, if the physiological microclimate of the upper respiratory tract is maintained, then the local immunity will become stronger.

In addition to drugs that act on mucous membranes, skin antiseptics are used to fight viruses and bacteria. Such products can be in the form of a gel or a spray. If these same substances are used to treat non-living surfaces, such as phones or doorknobs, they are called disinfectants. Since the emergence of the new coronavirus, the scientific community has begun to closely study how effective antiseptics and disinfectants are in the fight against COVID-19. Despite the fact that an unambiguous opinion has not yet been formed (1, 2), the use of local antiseptics is rather encouraged.

Is it possible to protect yourself from contact with microbes. Source: MedPortal

Masks are also needed

The mask mode today is hardly criticized by doctors and the scientific community. The necessity and effectiveness of masks for the prevention of infection are unanimously supported by Russian experts, as well as their American and British colleagues.

Here are a few rules for wearing masks, which will be useful to remind.

  1. Masks are recommended for everyone, even people with asthma and COPD, as well as children over the age of five.

  2. Masks interfere with the spread of the virus to asymptomatic virus carriers.

  3. For everyday life outside a medical facility, cloth or simple surgical masks are suitable.

  4. The mask should not be touched with your hands and should be changed every two to three hours or as it gets wet.

  5. Those vaccinated against COVID-19 do not need to rush to give up masks: this way there is less risk of spreading the virus and more likely to protect themselves from the delta strain. (12).

Social distance

British scientists, using the example of the spread of the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, found that the risk of catching an infection on the street is extremely small. However, the situation changes if the same “social distance” is violated. Too close or prolonged contact is considered unsafe. The risk increases if people around you actively move and talk.

Distant Coronavirus. Source: freepik.com Adapted: MedPortal
  • Face-to-face dialogue or skin contact.

  • Stay close at a distance of up to a meter for 1 minute.

  • Stay close at a distance of up to two meters for 15 minutes.

The American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that a distance of about 1 meter 80 cm is considered safe for communication. This distance is approximately equal to two outstretched arms.

If such a distance can still be difficult to maintain on the street, at home this task seems impossible. Nevertheless, optimistic Americans insist on the same distance between the sick person and his family.

When optimism runs counter to reality, you should at least remember about hand hygiene and barrier methods of protecting against viruses. The same masks and Midin-Nose Places will help reduce viral load on healthy family members.

Healthy lifestyle: we strengthen from the inside

Whatever precautions we take, immunity plays a major role in the fight against colds, flu and the “corona”. The rule is simple: to be healthy, you have to live healthy. Moreover, the principles of healthy lifestyle for adults are known and simple.

We can give with infographics, not text

  • Five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. One serving is a small fruit, a handful of berries, or a couple of tablespoons of stewed vegetables.

  • Sufficient drinking regime: 1.5-2.5 liters in the absence of contraindications.

  • Physical activity for at least 150 minutes a week: aerobic and strength exercises, or at least walking and active housework.

  • Sleep 7-8 hours regardless of age.

  • Timely vaccination against influenza and COVID-19.


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