You can relax a bit when it comes to handling packages and mail, now that the CDC has determined that COVID-19 spreads more commonly through the air than it does through contact with contaminated surfaces. What a relief! More good news: Guarding against airborne invaders is easier than you might expect.
Rinse with saline.
Flushing the sinuses with salt water may oust inhaled viruses, say experts at Oregon Health and Sciences University. That’s because saline solutions enhance a natural cleansing process in nasal tissues. How-to: Mix 3 tsp. of kosher salt with 1 tsp. of baking soda. Add 1 tsp. of the mixture to a cup of warm, distilled water. Pour the solution into your cupped palm, then inhale it through one nostril while holding the other closed. Switch nostrils. Repeat 1-to-2 times daily.
Keeping humidity levels at 40 percent to 60 percent prevents COVID from hanging in the air longer than it does in dry conditions, notes Stephanie Taylor, M.D., an infection control specialist for Harvard Medical School. Plus, moist air helps lungs clear out viruses more efficiently. No humidifier? Simmer an uncovered slow cooker full of water.
Buzz while breathing.
Nose breathing sends nitric oxide, an antiviral gas made in the sinuses, into the lungs. For a boost, internal medicine specialist Ron Sinha, M.D., advises five minutes of ″bee breathing″ daily: Inhale through the nose, then exhale through the nose while humming. ″Vibrations activate its production,″ he says. Research reveals humming ups nitric oxide levels by 1,500 percent.
Sit here in the same row.
On public transport or in a doctor’s office? British scientists say sitting in the same row as someone curbs COVID risk by 57 percent compared to sitting across from them. That’s because you’re less likely to inhale their respiratory droplets.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.