Chiropractor takes a stand on mask wearing

When you hear the word aerosol you are most likely to think of a spray can such as Lysol, Right Guard deodorant or Rust-Oleum paint. Rightly so, because the word aerosol is defined as a suspension of fine solid particles or liquid droplets in air or another gas. Exactly what the aforementioned sprays do.  Aerosols can be man made like the ones listed or all-natural.  All-natural aerosols would be fog, mist or dust.  Other aerosols, such as the man made anthropogenic kind would be environmental toxins and pollutants.  The type of aerosol we are currently the most concerned about are the viral airborne particles that transmit illnesses like the coronavirus. 

 

How do we spread aerosols from our mouth?  The obvious ways to spread aerosols includes coughing and sneezing.  That is why we are taught to cover our mouths when doing so, to prevent the spread of aerosols. But what about regular talking?  When we talk or sing the flow of air breaks up strands of mucous in your throat and mouth and sends droplets into the air.  The large droplets fall quickly.  The smaller, lighter droplets linger in the air.  And if you are infected with a virus like the flu or the coronavirus, the droplets in the air can last from minutes to hours.  The immune system is designed to protect your body from germs that cause viruses, but for people whose immune systems that might not be working at 100%, this is how disease spreads.

 

When I write about a sub-par functioning immune system, I’m not specifically talking about co-morbidities like asthma, heart disease, cancer and diabetes.  While those diseases obviously have a negative affect on the immune system, the more common causes of an immune system not working at its full capability are daily stress and anxiety, poor nutrition, lack of exercise, inadequate sleep, dehydration, neural impulse disruption and inflammation.  As you can guess by this list of common immune system stressors, the majority of our population more than likely has a sub-par functioning immune system, which makes them just as susceptible of catching viruses as people with co-morbidities.

 

Some people have very strong immune systems.  They exercise regularly, eat whole foods, take vitamin supplements, get plenty of rest, drink 8-10 glasses of water a day, have their spine checked for neural impulse disruption and perform stress reduction techniques like deep breathing and meditation. Those people are the people who most likely can get exposed to the flu or coronavirus and not have an issue. Others of us may be able to check off most of those good habit boxes, but may have issues with a few others.  Maybe you are a horrible sleeper.  Or you do not drink water.  Exercise might not be your thing.  Or how about you just have a lot of stress in your life?  Having a few of those things in your life, is what can lower your immune competence from 100% to 90% or 80% or 70%.  The ten to thirty percent gap in immune system function is what makes you more susceptible to catching a virus. A 10-to 30% deficiency is much better than 50-60% deficiency, but susceptibility is still susceptibility.  Maybe the poor sleeper gets a mild case of the flu or covid-19 and maybe the person who can’t sleep through the night, and has stress contracts a moderate case of the virus.  You can bet your last dollar that the person who does not utilize any of the healthy immune system habits will be the person who gets the more serious case of flu or coronavirus.

 

The importance of maintaining your immune system function is paramount to being healthy and preventing a hostile take-over from viral germs and bacteria.  That being said, let’s turn the topic back to aerosol spread and the topic of facemasks.  Facemasks are not 100% effective.  Also, the type of facemask you wear dictates the effectiveness as well.  For instance, bandanas and ski facial coverings are basically useless and do very little to protect yourself and others.  The only thing they do is allow you to get into a store without an argument.  As I mentioned, facemasks are not 100% effective. There is wiggle room on the tops and the bottoms and the sides for aerosol escape.  That being said, wearing facemasks is critical for decreasing airborne exposure risk. Science has repeatedly shown that facemasks do block a percentage of aerosol that comes from your mouth and nose.  The mask also blocks a percentage of aerosol from entering your respiratory system.  The debate here is not whether the masks are 90%, 75% or even 50% effective.  The fact is that the mask will block a percentage of viral spread and protect you from a percentage of viral spread. So, hypothetically, if the mask is only 50% effective, wearing the mask will block 50% of the spread of the virus.  And the bottom line is that is exactly what we need to do.  Slow the spread of the virus so that we are not effecting people who have various stages of immune system malfunction, which is more than likely, you too.

 

Another good way to decrease airborne exposure risk is to reduce the time you spend in poorly ventilated, crowded indoor spaces.  Ventilation is key.  Remember back before indoor smoking was banned?  If you were in a poorly ventilated room and one person lit up a cigarette, the smoke would eventually make its way to you.  It is the same with being indoors during viral season.  The viral aerosol will make its way to you inside a poorly ventilated and crowded room.  The six foot safety rule does not apply in a poorly ventilated room as droplets can easily spread further than 12 feet.

 

As we enter the winter and indoor season during the covid-19 pandemic, it is time to dot the I’s and cross the t’s as far as your health protection goes.  Please pay attention to your immune system health and the correct control practices specific to preventing viral spread.  Handwashing, mask wearing and social distancing will slow the spread of the flu and coronavirus and bring an end to the pandemic. Supporting your immune system with proper nutrition, exercise, stress reduction, hydration, sleeping more and improving neural impulse flow with spinal check-ups will offer you vital protection that you need for good health.

 

Pregnancy News:  Once pregnancy ends with the birth of your baby, the very first thing that happens is feeding the newborn. Research after research shows that breast feeding offers numerous health benefits to the newly born child that translates to healthier children and healthier grown adults.  That being said, a new study found that breast fed children after pregnancy had less visits to the pediatrician than bottle fed babies.  More good news as far as feeding is concerned, some babies have difficulties latching and breast feeding, chiropractic research shows that these children have very slight misalignments in their neck from the birth process that is hindering proper feeding.  The chiropractor is trained in gentle soft tissue pressure adjustments that relax the neck muscles and realign the spine, allowing the infant to feed properly.

Author
Dr J. Zimmerman, Chiropractor Dr. Zimmerman is a practicing chiropractor from Galloway, NJ with 30 years of chiropractic practice.

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