Viral Load vs. Viral Dose

Viral load exposure versus viral dose exposure – frequent small amounts versus one large exposure – determines how ill you become from exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It has been repeatedly been shown that this will affect the severity of your illness and outcome. Makes perfect sense when you know that the body can start to develop an immune response (mount a defense) if it is exposed in frequent small amounts of a foreign substance (in this case virus) as opposed to receiving a large dose all at once. Time to mount a response can be critical. 

Simply put a large exposure to SARS-CoV-2 is more likely to trigger severe COVID-19 and poor outcomes.

An illustration in humans is the cruise ship that left Argentina in March. All passengers wore masks almost all who were positive by end of the cruise were asymptomatic. True evidence that universal masking may result in a higher proportion of asymptomatic COVID-19 cases. 

Prospective studies in humans can’t ethically be undergone, but multiple animal studies support this very principle.

Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, Monica Gandhi, MD, and George Rutherford, MD, of the University of California in San Francisco, postulate that ‘masking’ may act as a “variolation,” exposing individuals to a smaller amount of viral particles and producing an immune response. Further, they write “the initial dose of virus that a patient takes in, is one likely determinant of ultimate illness severity.”

Is the size of the viral load found in a person that determines the outcome?  A South Korea-based study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that viral load was no different in asymptomatic patients versus those with symptoms. Our bodies are so very complicated, one simple explanation/process does not apply to all of us. 

It must be how you got to that load slowly or all at once. I believe viral load makes a difference, no matter the bottom line –

Wear a Mask!

Caffeine Is A Drug

Caffeine has its benefits!  A caffeine research overview shows us that the ‘drug’ boosts alertness and wakefulness, increases fat breakdown (lipolysis), and may lower the risk of Parkinson’s disease, among many other benefits. But like anything even water excess consumption  can  be a bad thing. The reality is caffeine is everywhere not just in a ‘cuppa’. Caffeine is in Teas, pills, power drinks even with CBD (touted to give a focused burst energy).

‘Caffeine Use Disorder’ is actually a recognized mental disorder!  Your doctor can find it listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5)  2013 update to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a diagnostic tool published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).’* I must share that there is a  Journal Of Caffeine Research that has been around for over 40 years. 

Point of this blog is to share how the diagnosis of this condition is made. Presence of at least 3 of the listed findings within a 12 months period. They are:

1. a strong desire for, an inability to cut down on caffeine consumption

2. continued use despite knowledge caffeine has adverse effect on your body. For me it brings on atrial fibrillation an abnormal heart rhythm that can can cause stroke. 

3. presence of withdrawal symptoms when stop use. These include: headache, fatigue or drowsiness, dysphoria, trouble concentrating, and even flu-like symptoms.

4. dependence like with any substance, more is needed with time. You will develop physiological and behavioral tolerance. The body get used to it so caffeine no longer keeps you awake, nor causes diuresis (urinates allot) and the blood pressure doesn’t increase from consumption. Isn’t the body amazing – it adjusts.

5. failure to meet commitments – work, school at home. 

6. continued use despite evidence of caffeine abuse causing interpersonal problems include arguments with a spouse about the consequences of caffeine consumption, resulting medical problems, or cost.

Our society freely accepts open use of this drug – Starbucks on every corner is the best example. It is a legal drug.  You may not know but it has many medical uses, examples include it’s use, IV to delay a baby’s delivery also to wean premature infants off ventilators.

About Wearing A Mask

DO NOT TOUCH MASK -SIDE GAPPING

I want you to know no matter what your community or government says it would be very smart to wear a mask. Communities that don’t mandate mask use, have a higher incidence of spread. By now you’re smart enough to know that masks make a difference.

Protect yourself while protecting others – that is what wearing a mask is all about!

Many of us have several cloth masks hopefully you have a three-layer cloth mask or one with 2 laters plus a changeable filter. How to wear and clean properly is critical otherwise why wear? Remember:

  • Be sure there is a seal on the sides and nose. If it clouds your glasses it is not making a seal. Be sure it is snug sealing the sides on your face and nose.

  • Be sure the mask is clean, and that by washing and drying the fit does not change. I place my mask in a UV-C lightbox then wash it in hot water and air dry.

  • Be careful not to touch your nose when wearing and taking off the mask.

  • Before and after use – wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds.  All recent research points to the fact that it is through the nose that the virus comes in and quickly does the most damage.

Follow these guidelines:

  • replace the mask should become damp, and keep it in a secure place so you can wash it with hot water,

  • as you remove your mask always do so from behind to avoid spreading germs,

  • if it’s a single-use mask throw it in the trash that has a li.

 I know I’ve been touting wearing masks, but you should know there are certain situations where mask should not be used:

  •  a child under two,

  •  a person who has trouble breathing,

  •  or a person who cannot put the mask on or take it off by themselves.

We Need Lots Protein

No matter age lifestyle or activity, protein is critical to our health. I believe protein is the most important of the three macronutrients (fats, carbohydrates)that the body requires  to function properly.  We must have it in our diet as our bodies do not make all proteins required.  Vitamins are nutrients also needed but not made in our bodies. 

Proteins are large molecules made up of amino acids – 9 of which are body cannot manufacture. They are lysine, histidine, threonine, methionine, valine, isoleucine, leucine, phenylalanine, and tryptophan.When you hear high protein diet you think meat, eggs and diary, but plant based protein sources are superb and include beans, nuts, soy, peas lentils and more. Excellent studies have shown those using plant based protein do live longer!  You can now find meatless meats, meatless fish etc are plant based and rather tasty, even national fast food chains offer  Impossible Burgers’ or “Beyond Meat’ options. A plant based chicken meal is being tasted national chains presently.

So how much do you need?  Yes age dictates we need more since it is not all absorbed as our gut ages. The Institute of Medicine’s recommended daily allowance (RDA) of protein is 0.8 g for every kg of body weight, regardless of age.Please always regard the RDA as a minimum, not the ideal intake amount.

If you are a healthy 65 or older increase to 1.0-1.2 mg/kg. of protein daily.

Interesting to note that seniors on high protein diet lost more weight than those on any other diets.This study has not been disproved despite being 20 years old.

Athletic types to increase muscle mass should have minimum intake of 1.2-1.7mg/kg of protein daily. The suggestion by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) is that it be met by diet not supplements.

Remember whole foods are always better than supplements that are of isolated nutrients as it is the balance of the ingredient within a food that enriches the value of the nutrient you are attempting to increase in your diet.

Worried About Lurking Virus?

Remember a virus needs to survive till it can get into a living being and replicate. Consider what to date is known about  possible lurking virus in our surroundings.Data can show for example in wood as late as 5 days some protein from virus can be measured, however a viable virus lasts much less, it must come off totally intact to infect a human.This blog address the duration for a ‘viable’ virus on surfaces. Much is common sense for instance NEVER shake used or unused clothing, sheets or clothing. The virus becomes ‘glued’ on a porous surface, it is very inert and disintegrates in 3 hours and also on fabric, it takes 4 hours on wood, because it removes all moisture and does not let it detach and so it disintegrates. Virus does not survive cooper as it is antiseptic! On cardboard it hangs in for 24 hours, 42 hours on metal and 72 hours on plastic surfaces. But if you shake it or use a duster, the virus molecules float in the air for up to 3 hours and can settle in your nose, eyes or mouth – you will not sense it.

Viral molecules remain very stable in external or artificial cold like air conditioners in homes and cars. They also need moisture to remain stable and especially darkness. Therefore, dehumidified, dry, warm and bright environments will degrade it more quickly.

* UV LIGHT especially UV-C breaks the virus protein – inactivates. 

Let’s Make Handsanitizer

CDC states hand washing for at least 20 seconds is best, when you can’t wash use of hand sanitizer of at least 60% alcohol. I feel 70%-90% from reading literature does the job. Rub your hands together until they feel dry (this should take around 20 seconds).

Tired of trying to find hand sanitizer at the store? Know you got this, the recipe is simple. Keep empty bottle from previous brand and get down to creating.

You need: (to make 1 cup of hand sanitizer)

 

3/4 cup of 90% or higher Isopropyl or ethanol alcohol (Everclear or vodka will also do the job.

1/3 cup aloe vera gel

2-10 drops of essential oil (optional-maybe red thyme, cinnamon leaf, clove leaf, or tee tree, which has been shown to have anti-viral& bacterial properties)

 

Go for it: get small mixing bowl, mix all ingredients until combined, then simply use a funnel to prior into that empty bottle you saved

 

AND don’t forget to wear a mask!

Computer Vision Syndrome

Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) can affect anyone who spends three or more hours a day in front of computer monitors, and the population at risk is potentially huge with onset of the pandemic, so so many are working from home. Very little today can be done without the aid of a computer, hence we sit or better stand in front of a display that can do damage to our vision if certain considerations are not taken into account. Many of our actions/habits have an unconscious effect that harms our eyes.

Worldwide, up to 70 million workers are at risk for computer vision syndrome,(US 30 million)  and those numbers are only likely to grow. Today I want to focus on the potentially adverse effect computer use can have on our eyes, forget carpal tunnel, neck, and other unintended bodily harms.

The most common computer-related complaint involves the eyes, which can develop a blurred or double vision as well as burning, itching, dryness, and redness, all of which can interfere with work performance. Please read carefully below what has been learned regarding CVS:

  • electronic characters, which are made up of pixels, have blurred edges, making it more difficult for eyes to maintain focus.
  • to give the eyes a comfortable focusing distance, the screen should be about 20 to 26 inches away from the face. The closer the eyes are to the monitor, the harder they have to work to accommodate it. With time you will not be able to focus at a distance and will require ‘prism’ lens not to see double.
  • the University of Pennsylvania’s ophthalmology department advises that the center of the monitor should be about four to eight inches lower than the eyes to minimize dryness and itching by lessening the exposed surface of the eyes because they are not opened wide. This distance also allows the neck to remain in a more relaxed position.
  • overly bright overhead light and streaming daylight force the eyes to strain to see what is on the screen. A bright monitor also causes your pupils to constrict, giving the eyes a greater range of focus.
  • wearing glare-reducing or tinted lenses can help to minimize glare (blue light filters)<-I do this with an orange lens glasses or could check device or glare reduction.
  • Ophthalmologists suggest adhering to the ’20-20-20′ rule: Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away <-I use an app for this to remind me

 

Doc suggests applying warm moist compresses to the eyes every morning and having humidifier on when working or ‘zooming’ on your device.

Sunglasses Are Healthy

Please assure me that you are smart enough to wear sunglasses outdoors? The skin around our eyes and eyelids is among the body’s most delicate and thinnest. Wrinkles are created by sun exposure among other causes. Harmful rays – Ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun can damage not only the skin, but also the cornea, lens, and other areas of the eyeball.Sunglasses do protect against vision damage/loss and cancer. Think cataracts, ultraviolet light can pass through the eye to the lens and cause cataracts, most common cause.Wear sunglasses, decreases your risk over your lifetime of cataract formation.

So if not for fashion, please for eye safety. They can both make you stylish and keep you safe. Do not skimp, it is a health investment, get ‘large’ covering as much as comfortably possible of your eyes.  Look for lots of eye coverage, a big lens with label coverage or protection against UVA and UVB rays.

This goes for children also. It is suggested that children as early as possible wear sunglasses. If they will keep them on that is the start age.

Be creative with children make it natural for them to use throughout their lives.

‘I Am Negative!’- Really?

So you got a NEGATIVE SARS CO-2 test result (being incorrectly called COVID-19 test). The presence of the virus is being determined in the PCR test. Recall COVID19 is the disease/illness with whatever of the many possible symptoms.

Okay, what exactly does a negative result mean? IT is not a get out of the house card. First, realize that the accuracy of the tests is still in question. Also how much virus replication is necessary for present-day tests to sense? The PCR is the most used test to assess the presence of this virus in your body. A Negative test does not mean you do not have a low level or even a high level of the virus. Individuals for example with type O blood type might not develop symptoms nor test positive but may actually be shedding the virus!  As you can imagine these are the unknowing folks that spread the infection, they feel ok and test negative hence home free?

A Chinese study, after vigorous tracking, shows approx. 44% of transmission is from presymptomatic folks. So common sense tells you if you wait for symptoms to quarentine\isolate, you most likely already ‘shared’ the virus. Think about how the common cold virus spreads.

If you were exposed Monday – your test is negative, day five (when symptoms commonly start your test has a 38% chance of being a ‘false’ negative. Do you get the idea? Please wear a mask distance this virus is not a hoax!