Understanding Viruses

COVID-19 and Coronaviruses: Questions and Answers ...

I saw most of this on Facebook. It’s attributed to Johns Hopkins Hospital, but it wasn’t linked to it, so I don’t know. I’m posting it here with a few extras I’ve seen here and there for whatever it’s worth to help you make good decisions and stay healthy. FYI, I’ve heard that a loss of taste and/or smell is a symptom for some people. It’s not on the graphic, which I did not make.

A virus is not a living organism, but a protein molecule (DNA) covered by a protective layer of lipid (fat), which, when absorbed by the cells of the mucosa of the eyes, nose, and/or mouth enters the cells and changes their genetic code, converting them into aggressor and multiplier cells.

Since the virus is not a living organism, it cannot killed with anti-bacterial agents. However, viruses do decay on their own. The amount of time required depends on the temperature, humidity and type of material where it lies. In ideal conditions, it can survive for 3 hours on fabric and other porous materials, 4 hours on copper and wood, 24 hours on cardboard, 42 hours on metal, and 72 hours plastic.

The amount of time to disintegrate a virus can be accelerated. One way is to damage its protective layer of fat. Anything that is 65% or more alcohol destroys the fat layer, causing the protein to disintegrate. Ditto the foam from soap or detergent. That’s why you need to rub for 20 seconds or more to make a lot of foam. Vinegar is NOT useful because it does not break down the protective layer of fat.

In addition to washing your hands before and after touching mucosa (eyes, nose, mouth), preparing food, using the bathroom, and/or touching surfaces like knobs and switches where the virus may be lurking, keep your nails short, so the virus can’t hide on them.

Heat also melts fat, so temperatures above 77° F are best for washing hands, clothes and everything else. In addition, hot water makes more foam and that makes it even more useful.

Another way to disintegrate a virus is to damage the protein with chlorine bleach or hydrogen peroxide. A bleach mixture can be diluted as far as 1 part chlorine bleach and 5 parts water and still be effective. I’m not sure about H2O2. The stuff we buy in the brown bottles is generally a 3% dilution. It kills bacteria, fungi, and yeast, but I found conflicting information on the internet about how effective it is on viruses. UV light also breaks down the virus protein.

Viruses can linger in the air for up to 3 hours. When someone coughs or sneezes, the larger droplets of moisture fall to the ground, but virus-laden micro droplets hang in the air for up to 3 hours. This is why it is so important to wear a mask if you’re sick or, minus a mask, you cough/sneeze into your shoulder or elbow, not your hand like we were all taught was polite. We all need to make and teach a new habit! Viruses easily transfer from your hand to any surface, like a doorknob, where it will survive for up to 72 hours AND from which others can easily become infected.

For the same reason, don’t shake infected clothing, sheets, feather dusters, etc., because doing so causes the virus molecules to launch into the air where you can easily breathe them in.

Virus molecules like cold, moisture, and darkness, but dislike warmth, dryness, and/or bright environments. Also, the more confined a space is, the higher the concentration of virus there can be. Therefore, the more open or naturally ventilated a space is, the lower the viral load will be. During the 1918 flu pandemic, they found that getting patients outside in the sun (UV light) and open air every day helped them immensely.

The virus cannot go through healthy skin. If you have any cuts or hangnails or your over-washed skin is dry enough to have tiny cracks, wear gloves when you go out. You can make a pair of gloves last by leaving them on your hands to wash them. Suds them up good, rinse, then hang to dry. And moisturize those dry hands; the thicker the moisturizer, the better. My personal preference is Neutrogena Unscented Hand Cream.

2 Comments

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2 responses to “Understanding Viruses

  1. Thank you – I shared

    Didn’t know about using warm water to wash is best… always was told cold is fine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • chrissythehyphenated

      It really helped me to learn what a virus really is … protein hiding inside a thin coating of fat. It explains a lot, like why heat degrades it, but cold does not. Also why porous materials degrade it faster than rigid. I just have to think, “How does olive oil behave in this situation?”

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