Nasal Health and #COVID_19
I'm sure you've heard the guidelines about staying safe during the COVID pandemic. The most important things you can do to stop the spread of coronavirus and stay safe are:
DO THE FIVE
Help stop coronavirus
HANDS - Wash them often
ELBOW - Cough into it
FACE - Don't touch it
SPACE - Keep safe distance
HOME - Stay if you can
Keep your hands clean, avoid spreading germs that you may unknowingly harbor, don't touch your face, keep a safe distance (6ft, or about 2m) from other people, and try to keep trips out of the home as brief as possible.
Beyond these guidelines, little is known about how to combat COVID_19. Until more research is complete, we will have to work with what we know about the virus and the human body's defenses.
I shared this video on social media recently because Dr. Skarada (Modern Nose Clinic, Salem OR) raises an interesting conjecture about the role of the nasal airway in fighting viruses.
In the video, Dr. Skarada explains that one function of the Nasal Airway is to filter and warm air before it goes to your lungs. The surfaces in the nose and sinuses are coated in cilia and mucous which helps to capture dust & other particulates as well as microbes and viruses before they get to the lungs. This is important because the lungs are more fragile and than the nose or sinuses when facing a novel viral infection. We have no therapeutics for COVID_19 yet, so the lungs are especially vulnerable during this outbreak.
Skarada's conjecture is that breathing through the nose might help filter the virus, limiting it to the sinuses or reducing lung exposure compared with mouth breathing. While there is not research about this, he suggests that we ask those close to people most severely affected by COVID to learn about their breathing habits, especially in sleep.
Can nose breathing help keep you safe? Maybe. We simply don't know for sure, and won't for a while. But if anyone needs another reason to keep your nasal airway clear, here's one for thought.
Nobody wants to be a mouth-breather during a pandemic.
Stay safe, everybody!
We will continue seeing patients as long as we can do so safely within the guidelines of Governor Inslee.