Wear Masks: Reduce Viral Load

12.03.20 07:22 PM By Jon

Protecting yourself from viral attachment: reducing the load also reduces symptoms. 

"Viral load" is the measure of how many viruses are in and on a given bodily tissue.  The "infectious dose" is the minimum required to create an infection, which could be as few as 10-100 viral particles, if it's like many other viruses.  Sometimes, when it comes to initial exposure to viral contaminants, we use the terms interchangeably. 

A whisp of viral-contaminated air from one infected person who is shedding virus carries a lower viral load (provides a small infectious dose) than a big cough in your face from the same person.  It stands to reason. 

Before the SARS outbreak (a similar virus to nCoV), Hong Kong nurses might have worn protective equipment or not before they realized that what they were treating was contagious and deadly.  One study found that amongthe nurses that wore the most protection(and washed the most) had more asymptomatic cases and fewer severe symptomsin general.  In other words, they got the infection, but it was less severe. 

You might be getting mixed messages about the efficacy of masks.  No, they don't completely protect you from infection, but they significantly reduce it, and they reduce the amount that's going around.  Let's not throw the baby out with the bath water here.  Masks made sense to people a century ago, they make sense now.  I can't find any evidence that masks increase transmission of the virus.  Perhaps I'm not looking far enough, but there is ample evidence that masks do reduce the distance that a cough will travel, and they keep your dirty paws from touching your mouth and nose.  Without a mask, and without being self-aware, a typical person will touch their face 20 times an hour.

You have to do it often, and you have to scrub, but it's worth the effort.  A 2-year study demonstrated that washing 5 times per day reduced infection rates by 45%. 


These steps include:

  • Work from home when you’re sick.  Don't be a hero!
  • Wash your hands , rubbing every inch of them up to the wrists, for a good 20-30 seconds at least
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.  Wear a mask.  Stand 15 feet away.  Crack a window. 
  • Don't touch your face with dirty hands!  The virus commonly infects us through the eyes, nose, and mouth, ick. 
  • Clean and disinfect objects you frequently use.  You can use anything that'll destroy the virus: ozone, peroxide, rubbing alcohol, UV light, soap and scrubbing, heat.  It's likely that less than a hundred virus particles could be infectious, and coronavirus will remain infectious on many smooth surfaces for days.  The good news is that simple cleaning agent and water is enough to remove them. 
  • Use tissues when you cough or sneeze, and make sure to throw it away immediately.  Always have one ready.  "Catch your coughs and sneezes," or better yet wear a mask.

The amount of virus that impact our ACE2-presenting cells that line parts of our upper and lower airways, our heart, our colon, kidneys, brain, and reproductive system, can have an impact on the severity of your symptoms. 

We can do things to destroy these viruses before they make it into the cells and start dividing.  We can also deny them entry into the cell.
  • We can sterilize surfaces and the air we breathe.  For example, Hong Kong is using a 0.015% hydrogen peroxide aerosol that they claim kills all viruses in their city buses within 10 minutes.  There are many ways to de-nature the viral material before it gets to us.  Having an air-purifier, and opening the windows to fresh air are effective ways to lower the amount of virus that's floating around. 
  • Open the curtains and let the sunlight in.  UV light destroys many viruses, including Cov. 
  • We can also do things to our own airways to make them inhospitable.  It sounds overly simple, but even a saline rinse, done frequently, will lower the viral load. 
  • Preparations with Zinc have been clinically proven to work to reduce the load.  Claims are that colloidal silver works.  (I don't doubt it.)
  • We can introduce to our systems internally, and topically to our mouth, nose, throat, lungs via nebulizers, gargles, swish-and-swallow, sprays, drinks.
  • "There are many roads to Rome," as my friend and herbalist Ron Buffone would say.

Until your cells are producing the antibodies to nCoV, every time new virus emerges from an infected cell and lands near your ACE2-presenting cells, they're vulnerable to viral entry.  Furthermore, every additional exposure to viral particles from other sources will contribute to your viral load. 

Continue to regularly rinse your sinuses and mouth/throat, and lungs.  Use a nebulizer or spray mist.  Use it frequently.  More frequent is better than more at once when it comes to sterilizing our moths and nose and lungs.  Use safe substances that benefit your tissues while destroying the virus.  For example herbal and zinc sprays, essential oils, steam inhalations, colloidal silver (god forbid I write these words, hehe), diluted hydrogen pereoxide.


Japanese experiments show how respiratory droplets spread.

Below is a video that'll show you why you should have a window cracked, and would want to cover your face when in social situations.  (ie wear a mask)

The Hong Kong Nurses during the 2004 SARS Epidemic that used protective equipment were less symptomatic.   Wearing a mask lowered the severity of their illnesses. 

Their results: "We conducted a study among healthcare workers (HCWs) exposed to patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) before infection control measures were instituted. Of all exposed HCWs, 7.5% had asymptomatic SARS-positive cases. Asymptomatic SARS was associated with lower SARS antibody titers and higher use of masks when compared to pneumonic SARS."

Wearing any kind of mask is more helpful than none. 

I know that this might not be in concordance with CDC guidance, and so ultimately when you disregard them, you'll be doing it after your own informed decision.  Please, read past this blog if you need to.  I don't believe that folks in the Far East are wearing masks because of superstitious or religious belief; they are wearing masks because its been proven again and again to reduce spread of contagion.  Around the world people have used variants, and I personally would not think twice to adding some essential oils to my cloth mask, although doing such a thing might also not be in accordance with CDC guidelines as of the present. 

The message you should get bottom line is this: wearing a mask does not eliminate your risk of getting an infection by some other route besides your nose and mouth, nor does it perfectly filter the air that's reaching your mouth and nose.  But it does do a pretty good job of it, and I'll argue that pretty good is better than none at all. 

SmartFilters.com blogged about a study that was done on various methods, including a kitchen towel. 

There's more eye candy on their site if you're interested. 

The findings of the study was that a homemade mask should be a "last resort" but "better than nothing" at all.  Duh. 

Coronavirus is about 1 micron in size (100nm).  This is about the same size as Influenza, which is 0.8-1.2 microns (80-120nm).   An effective filter should be able to trap particles that small. 

According to SmartFilters, who read the whole study, (I didn't)   "The homemade cotton masks captured 71% of 0.65-1.1 micron particles, compared with 86% for the surgical mask. Although the surgical masks captured 15% more particles, the cotton masks did surprisingly well. The researchers concluded that homemade masks would be better than nothing"

In the words of a redditor:

"Based on size alone, small amounts of virus could in theory fit through gaps in the microfibre, at differing rates for different masks (N95, N100 etc)... But:

Virus often comes in an envelope of other liquid, "sneeze" etc, which bumps up droplet size to a level which is almost entirely blocked.

At even smaller sizes (<0.1 micrometer), other factors such as electrostatic charge on the fibres actually produce a counterintuitive increase in successful filtration.

In summary common masks don't provide an impenetrable wall but likely help reduce risk in certain environments."

As I outlined above, the less your viral load, the better.  Take every measure that's reasonable and practical to reduce that load for yourself and others around you that you're going to be depending on. 

Low-mask-wearing countries experiencing the worst outbreaks

Look around you, at the rest of the world, and watch what they're doing: the countries that wear the most masks experience the slowest and least deadly spread. 

Even a Cotton T-Shirt is better than nothing.

This is PUBLISHED RESEARCH, and finds that a homemade bandanna wrapped around the face will catch a third of what a surgical mask can catch, but is better than nothing.  "Both masks significantly reduced the number of microorganisms expelled by volunteers, although the surgical mask was 3 times more effective in blocking transmission than the homemade mask."

Get Sleep! It restores your immune system.

If you aren't getting good sleep, now's the time to try and fix that.  Make a point of going to bed early.  It's better to go to bed early and wake up early than stay up late and be groggy later. 

I'm looking for the link to the study, but a week or so ago I read one on sleep and coronavirus.  It found that after missing sleep for 3 hours on just one night made people three-times more likely to contract the virus, and suffered three-times-worse symptoms the next day.

I'd just be repeating what Doctor Sleep says, and so I'll just send you right over to his site.  He will suggest blue-blocking glasses.  It's good advice, and they work, but the only caveat to his approach is that I prefer to recommend melanin glasses.  They're also amber, but the pigment is made from real melanin.  Melanin lenses improve melatonin production by restricting UV and blue light, allowing the pineal gland to operate in "night time mode."  

Cover your Coughs

Wash Your Hands, and practice the routine!

Get every nook and cranny of each hand, take your time. 

West Point's Advice on Masks:

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