According to the recent studies, Covid-19 can be easily transmitted, and a person can get infected anywhere. Even so, apparently there are some contexts people are more exposed to the virus.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic occurred, the health experts have been warning the citizens about the preventive measures, such as handwashing, coughing into arm or sleeve, and disinfect the surfaces and rooms they are spending time in. However, this virus is so dangerous due to the fact that it can be transmitted very easily. Thus, it is hard to avoid numerous ways in which it can be spread.
Many people have to leave the house at some point – to go to the grocery store or pharmacy. The question is can you get infected while doing this?
The New England Journal of Medicine published a research which indicates that aerosolized particles may spread the Coronavirus.
Lately, two terms (respiratory droplet and aerosolized particle) are very present in the media. What does each of them mean and how their difference affects the transmission of the virus?
The difference between particles and droplets
According to S. Wesley Long, medical director of diagnostic microbiology at Houston Methodist Hospital, particles are microscopic and therefore, much smaller than droplets. To illustrate with an example, fog would be an instance of the aerosolized particle. As opposed to the particles, droplets are about 20 times bigger.
Even though there is low risk to get infected via aerosolized particles, as the study shows, there are some cases in which it can happen. Because they can stay suspended in the air for several hours, they represent a high risk for medical workers, according to Jennifer Hanrahan, an associate professor of medicine and chief of infectious diseases at the University of Toledo.
Kirsten Hokeness, a professor at Bryant University says that oxygen therapy, CPR, or scoping procedures can produce aerosols.
Even though aerosolized particles can be one of the ways to get infected, it is not the most common one. Respiratory droplets seem to have much bigger influence on the transmission.
As Long says they are formed when someone “either coughs into the hands or onto a high-touch surface”. So they can be transferred by “the hand to the nose or mouth”.
How to protect yourself?
Given the fact that this virus can be spread so easily and that you can get in contact with it anywhere, it is crucial to remember that you must stay at home in order to lower the chances of getting infected. Another important thing is, of course, the disinfection and handwashing for at least 20 seconds.