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"Warm Weather Will Slow the Virus" and Other Bad Advice

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SafetyNurse1968 has 20 years experience as a ADN, BSN, MSN, PhD and specializes in Oncology, Home Health, Patient Safety.

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Can Vitamin Lower Your Risk of COVID-19?

There's a lot of bad information out there. This article discusses some of the top false claims being spread on the internet. As nurses, it is crucial that we have the most accurate, up-to-date information for our patients, family and friends. They trust us to know what’s going on.

"Warm Weather Will Slow the Virus" and Other Bad Advice
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Will Warm Weather Slow the Virus?

Look at a world map of where the coronavirus has spread (World Map: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) ) and the answer seems obvious though these cases may be travel related and not linked to seasonality. The World Health Organization states that from the evidence so far, COVID-19 can be transmitted in all areas, including those with hot and humid climates.

Though the flu peaks in February along with RSV and the common cold, experts don’t know if the coronavirus will behave in the same way. The most recent article on this topic that I could find is from the New York Times, published on March 22, 2020. Experts state in this article that “Wherever the temperatures were colder, the number of the cases started increasing quickly,” In the US southern states like AZ, FL and TX are seeing slower growth of the outbreak. This is supported by two other studies (one from Spain and Finland, the other from China). The virus thrives in dry conditions between 28.3 and 49 degrees F. HOWEVER (and this is a big however for scientists like myself – none of these studies has been peer reviewed.) Even if warm temperatures make the virus less effective, it will still be transmitted. It might be tougher for the virus to survive in the air or on surfaces for long periods, but it will still be contagious for hours. It’s going to be 4-6 weeks before we have a clear picture of this situation. SO much is unknown, and even if the virus slows during warmer months it could return with ferocity in the fall.

This article is featured in the Spring 2020 issue of our allnurses Magazine...

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Other Misconceptions About What Will Help Prevent Infection:

Gargling with warm water

No evidence, though it may provide comfort

Drinking hot water frequently to flush the virus into the stomach

No evidence: infections often begin after we’ve been exposed to thousands or millions of viral particles, so sweeping a few down the oesophagus is unlikely to have much of an impact.

Blasting hot air

No evidence – you might kill a few, but there are millions. A steaming bowl of hot soup will provide comfort and may kill a few more, but aiming a hair dryer at your face isn’t going to help.

Ingesting colloidal silver

No evidence

Getting some sun

No evidence

Taking your vitamins (garlic, pepper, elderberry, mint, vitamin C)

No evidence. This one will get me the most kickback, I know it, but I stand by it. My statement: If you take supplements you’ll get better in 7 days, if you don’t, it will take a week.

Help with understanding

You can help people understand that though one person may have personal experience with one of these tactics working for them, that is called “anecdotal” evidence and does not apply to the general population as a whole. Scientific evidence is based upon large data sets, not just one person’s experience. Remind folks that once the virus is in your blood stream, or in your respiratory system, these strategies will not work. There’s a video telling folks to raise the temperature of their nostrils to 130 degrees. That sounds great, except, how can you raise the temperature of your blood to 130 degrees? Boiling your blood will most certainly kill you much more quickly than coronavirus.

What we know

Quote

“Sound preparation base on scientific evidence is what is needed at this time.” - UNICEF

Coronavirus is also known as COVID-19. It is a virus which is a collection of proteins and lipids, so antibiotics won’t help treat it. There is no known cure. It passes person to person by physical contact and it can live on hard surfaces and in the cough of a sick person’s respiratory droplets. Anyone can get it and carry it, but people over 65 are more likely to die from it, as are folks in high risk categories. New studies suggest that though it is mainly transmitted as respiratory droplets, it can go airborne depending on heat and humidity, which means if someone carrying the virus sneezes in the Walmart, you might breathe in those particles up to two hours later. It has a long latency period (it may incubate for up to 14 days), so you might spread it to lots of people before you even know you have it. We don’t have enough resources to deal with everyone getting sick at the same time, so we have to slow the spread of the virus (shoot, I can’t even find a thermometer). 

  1. Wash your hands often
  2. Stay home
  3. Avoid touching your face
  4. Stay home
  5. Practice social distancing
  6. Stay home
  7. Cover your mouth when you cough
  8. Stay home
  9. Disinfect surfaces
  10. Did I mention you should stay home?

There is a spark of hope. Outbreaks in China and South Korea appear to be stabilizing, but that seems to be due to intervention by the authorities (lockdowns, travel restrictions), and not due to anything related to the virus itself.

THANK YOU

Finally – thank you to all the folks who cannot stay home. Those of you who go in to work every day to fight the good fight – I want you to know, I’m not buying or using gloves or masks because I am fully aware of how they work (and don’t work…those folks at the grocery store make me cry…) and if you know how I can send you some or donate to help get you what you need, post the link and I’ll do it.

Nurses on the frontlines, you are my heroes. Thank you.

References

Will warmer weather help fight the coronavirus? https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/12/asia/coronavirus-flu-weather-temperature-intl-hnk/index.html

Warmer Weather May Slow, but Not Halt, Coronavirus
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/22/health/warm-weather-coronavirus.html

That ‘Miracle Cure’ You Saw on Facebook? It Won’t Stop the Coronavirus
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/18/health/coronavirus-cure-gargle-water.html

Dr. Kristi Miller, aka Safety Nurse is an Assistant Professor of nursing at USC-Upstate and a Certified Professional in Patient Safety. She is also a mother of four who loves to write so much that she would probably starve if her phone didn’t remind her to take a break. Her work experiences as a hospital nurse make it easy to skip using the bathroom to get in just a few more minutes on the computer. She is obsessed with patient safety. Please read her blog, Safety Rules! on allnurses.com. She is doing research into the relationship between participation in Root Cause Analysis and patient safety attitudes (contact her if you are interested). In the guise of Safety Nurse, she is sending a young Haitian woman to nursing school and you can learn more about that adventure: https://www.gofundme.com/rose-goes-to-nursing-school

12 Followers; 59 Articles; 20,010 Profile Views; 373 Posts

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Hoosier_RN has 20 years experience as a MSN and specializes in LTC, home health, hospice, ICU, ER, dialysis.

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I don't think that the warm weather is going to kill it off either. It may do like the flu and go hide for a while, but it will wake up again.

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Kittypower123 has 6 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Hospice.

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Part of the slow rise in cases in Texas is lack of tests. Serious testing is just getting started. As for the decrease with the change in the weather, my initial thought was "Maybe. Hopefully. But since this is a new virus, we won't know until it gets warmer."

Also:

4 hours ago, SafetyNurse1968 said:

If you take supplements you’ll get better in 7 days, if you don’t, it will take a week.

Absolutely love this! Can I steal it?

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SafetyNurse1968 has 20 years experience as a ADN, BSN, MSN, PhD and specializes in Oncology, Home Health, Patient Safety.

12 Followers; 59 Articles; 373 Posts; 20,010 Profile Views

9 hours ago, Kittypower123 said:

Part of the slow rise in cases in Texas is lack of tests. Serious testing is just getting started. As for the decrease with the change in the weather, my initial thought was "Maybe. Hopefully. But since this is a new virus, we won't know until it gets warmer."

Also:

Absolutely love this! Can I steal it?

Of course! I’m pretty sure it’s not original, it sounds like something Mark Twain would’ve said though doesn’t it?

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MedicRU has 28 years experience as a RN and specializes in Trauma ICU/PCU.

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Here's one for you:

A 5% white vinegar diluted 1:1 is capable of killing viruses/bacteria due to its being an acetic acid that penetrates the membrane of pathogens and prompting the release of protons thereby killing the virus.

Conclusion: Vinegar can be used to desinfect surfaces, however what's unclear is a required dwell time proportional to dilution.

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SafetyNurse1968 has 20 years experience as a ADN, BSN, MSN, PhD and specializes in Oncology, Home Health, Patient Safety.

12 Followers; 59 Articles; 373 Posts; 20,010 Profile Views

17 minutes ago, MedicRU said:

Here's one for you:

A 5% white vinegar diluted 1:1 is capable of killing viruses/bacteria due to its being an acetic acid that penetrates the membrane of pathogens and prompting the release of protons thereby killing the virus.

Conclusion: Vinegar can be used to desinfect surfaces, however what's unclear is a required dwell time proportional to dilution.

And viruses don’t have membranes! Good one.

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MunoRN has 10 years experience as a RN and specializes in Critical Care.

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1 hour ago, SafetyNurse1968 said:

And viruses don’t have membranes! Good one.

Are you saying it's a myth that viruses don't have membranes or that they do?

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SafetyNurse1968 has 20 years experience as a ADN, BSN, MSN, PhD and specializes in Oncology, Home Health, Patient Safety.

12 Followers; 59 Articles; 373 Posts; 20,010 Profile Views

7 minutes ago, MunoRN said:

Are you saying it's a myth that viruses don't have membranes or that they do?

Viruses don’t have membranes- they are just collections of either DNA or RNA and some lipids and proteins- no phospholipid billayer. I used to be a molecular biologist.

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MunoRN has 10 years experience as a RN and specializes in Critical Care.

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39 minutes ago, SafetyNurse1968 said:

Viruses don’t have membranes- they are just collections of either DNA or RNA and some lipids and proteins- no phospholipid billayer. I used to be a molecular biologist.

It's not common to all viruses, but enveloped viruses have a membrane, granted it's stolen from their host cell, but it's still a lipid bilayer membrane, Covid-19 is an enveloped virus. I assume you're disagreeing with this based on some sort of semantics argument?

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16361349

https://virologyj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12985-019-1182-0

Edited by MunoRN

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SafetyNurse1968 has 20 years experience as a ADN, BSN, MSN, PhD and specializes in Oncology, Home Health, Patient Safety.

12 Followers; 59 Articles; 373 Posts; 20,010 Profile Views

56 minutes ago, MunoRN said:

It's not common to all viruses, but enveloped viruses have a membrane, granted it's stolen from their host cell, but it's still a lipid bilayer membrane, Covid-19 is an enveloped virus. I assume you're disagreeing with this based on some sort of semantics argument?

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16361349

https://virologyj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12985-019-1182-0

So sorry - you are correct - I was thinking of a traditional lipid bilayer. Thank you for pointing out my error. Wasn't trying to argue semantics. I was just ignorant. I appreciate you staying with me and getting me the facts.

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MunoRN has 10 years experience as a RN and specializes in Critical Care.

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29 minutes ago, SafetyNurse1968 said:

So sorry - you are correct - I was thinking of a traditional lipid bilayer. Thank you for pointing out my error. Wasn't trying to argue semantics. I was just ignorant. I appreciate you staying with me and getting me the facts.

I get it, it's not particularly true on it's face that viruses have membranes since viruses can't actually make their own membranes, they steal it from a living cell.

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3 Followers; 4,768 Posts; 36,641 Profile Views

I am into evidence as much as the next guy but for now I say evidence, schmevidence.

Use the gloves, wear the masks, use the vinegar, the silver, vitamins, sunlight, soup, salt water gargle. Do what you think might help. Use what you have on hand. Probably beats doing and using nothing.

When we don't know a whole lot about this virus, perhaps much of the battle is mental.

OK, flame away, all you scientists.

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