YOUR AIR CONDITIONER MAY BE SPREADING COVID-19
Scientists are realizing more ways that coronavirus is being spread. It isn’t just through close contact as many have first proclaimed. The virus can float through the air and be inhaled by someone, even if they’re diligently practicing social distancing.
During these summer months, as more people head back to work, and doing more group activities, the airborne virus is a concern for many. So scientists have turned their attention to air conditioning.
Why air conditioning, you may ask?
According to infectious disease expert, Ed Nardell at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, indoor AC units can spread the virus. The units create air currents that can blow the virus around a room. He said that problem was clear in the case of one restaurant in Wuhan, China, where researchers studied why so many people eating there became sick.
“Where apparently someone infected not only people at their own table, but at the next table and the table after that, which happened to be that in the direction of the airflow from a wall unit air conditioner,” he said.
What do we know for sure?
Cases of COVID-19 have risen fast “in some of the hottest and stickiest parts of the country,” according to USA Today.
Engineers and ventilation experts told USA Today this might because residents avoid the heat by heading indoors, which leads them to areas with air conditioning and ventilation systems.
Those systems might spread COVID-19 farther than fresh air.
If you think of bars and restaurants, yes, people are being socially distanced and wearing masks. But the air can filter through the room and infect those sitting inside.
“Airborne transmission of the virus can occur in health care settings where specific medical procedures, called aerosol generating procedures, generate very small droplets called aerosols. Some outbreak reports related to indoor crowded spaces have suggested the possibility of aerosol transmission, combined with droplet transmission, for example, during choir practice, in restaurants or in fitness classes,” according to the World Health Organization.
“Ventilation is the key control point for an airborne virus. Based on multiple studies done by the authors, we believe that optimized ventilation is the way to move forward, removing the virus from the air before people inhale it. We think that’s one of the main ways it’s transmitted,” Dr. Julian Tang, an author of a paper on COVID-19 spread, told USA Today.
Since not everyone has the option to stay outside, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers is figuring out ways to make indoor spaces safer.
The key is to lower the concentration of possibly infected particles in the air, the Society stated.
HOW COVID-19 CAN AFFECT YOUR MENSTRUAL PERIOD
With complete suppression of the HPA axis, a woman may experience amenorrhea, the absence of periods. But don’t freak out yet with thinking you may be pregnant. With partial suppression, a woman could have spotty periods or periods of bleeding every few weeks. “There isn’t one clear pattern we can expect — women respond differently to suppression of the HPA axis,” Shirazian says.
“I think it’s a combination of stress and the upheaval of everyone’s normal routines. People are suddenly taking their pills at different times because they not on a regular schedule anymore. People are also changing their eating and activity habits. All of those things are at play and can affect your hormones,” says Dr. Beth Schwartz, a gynecologist at Jefferson.
What about Period Products?
“A stress-induced period is certainly possible if you have an IUD. When you have an IUD, your ovaries are not being controlled in the way that the pill or shot controls and suppresses ovarian activity. It makes even more sense in that scenario that there could be fluctuations in hormones or ovarian function,” Dr. Schwartz continues.
While you are practicing social distancing and being vigilant about handwashing and sanitizing around the house (along with everything else) due to COVID-19, we should practice the same type of hygiene care with your period products. Boil anything made of
silicon after use. Wash reusable pads and underwear with soap in hot water. Wash your hands vigorously for at least 20 seconds before and after you change your blood collection product.
When using disposable period products like pads or tampons, wrap the used product in the wrapper of the new product so that any menstrual blood is not exposed.
If you’re experiencing irregular bleeding on the pill, you should stop bleeding on day one or two after your placebo pill week. If bleeding doesn’t stop, then let your doctor know. The same goes for if you’re experiencing really heavy bleeding for more than one to two days—like soaking through a super pad or tampon in less than an hour. Feeling lightheaded or dizzy, chest pain, feeling like your heart is beating very quickly, or getting out of breath much easier than normal could be signs of anemia. These are all things you need to tell your doctor right away so they can rule out anything more serious or dangerous.