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CORONAVIRUS: IS OUR DRINKING WATER SAFE?

Today we are faced with an enemy unrivaled since the 1918 virus referred to as the Spanish Flu. 

The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, the deadliest in history, infected an estimated 500 million people worldwide—about one-third of the planet’s population—and killed an estimated 20 million to 50 million victims, including some 675,000 Americans. The 1918 flu was first observed in Europe, the United States and parts of Asia before swiftly spreading around the world. At the time, there were no effective drugs or vaccines to treat this killer flu strain. Citizens were ordered to wear masks, schools, theaters and businesses were shuttered and bodies piled up in makeshift morgues before the virus ended its deadly global march.

By the summer of 1919, the flu pandemic came to an end, as those that were infected either died or developed an immunity. The flu took a heavy human toll, wiping out entire families and leaving countless widows and orphans in its wake. Funeral parlors were overwhelmed, and bodies piled up. Many people had to dig graves for their own family members. The flu was also detrimental to the economy.

In the United States, businesses were forced to shut down because so many employees were sick. Basic services such as mail delivery and garbage collection were hindered due to flu-stricken workers. In some places, there weren’t enough farm workers to harvest crops. Even state and local health departments closed for business, hampering efforts to chronicle the spread of the 1918 flu and provide the public with answers about it.

Fast forward nearly 100 years: we are facing nearly the same type of enemy but with one major difference- YEARS OF EXPERIENCE AND KNOWLEDGE to draw from, we just have to listen to the experts!

WHAT IS COVID-19?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO):

COVID-19 is a disease caused by the virus 2019-nCoV, more commonly known as Novel Coronavirus. Novel Coronavirus is known as one among a large family of coronaviruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). 

COVID-19 has affected hundreds of thousands of people across the globe and has been described as a new strain of coronavirus that was discovered in 2019 and has not been previously identified in humans. Common signs of COVID-19 infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties. People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small respiratory droplets, which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, WHO recommends regular handwashing; covering your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing; not touching your eyes, nose, or mouth; thoroughly cooking meat and eggs; and avoiding close contact with anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19.

HAS COVID-19 BEEN FOUND IN OUR DRINKING WATER?

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the virus has not been detected in our drinking water currently. Conventional water treatment methods that use filtration, disinfection and ultraviolet light such as those in most municipal drinking water systems, should remove or inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19.

Helpful Hint: Ultraviolet lighting has been used in home water purification for many years and is easily installed in your whole house water system.

CAN COVID-19 BE TRANSMITTED VIA BOTTLED WATER?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the CDC have stated there is no evidence to suggest that the COVID-19 virus is transmitted by food or food packaging, which would include bottled water, HOWEVER, we are to remember that BEFORE handling plastic bottles (or any hard surface) we must remember to wash ALL hard surfaces and hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds!

Helpful Hint: Pure drinking water systems are easily installed under your kitchen sink. They can provide up to 75 gallons of 99.5% pure alkaline mineral water daily! 

CAN THE COVID-19 VIRUS SPREAD THROUGH THE SEWAGE SYSTEM?

The CDC is reviewing all data on COVID-19 transmission as information becomes available. At this time, the risk of transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 through sewerage systems is thought to be low. Although transmission of COVID-19 through sewage may be possible, there is no evidence to date that this has occurred. This guidance will be updated as necessary as new evidence is assessed. The virus that causes COVID-19 has been detected in the feces of some patients diagnosed with COVID-19. The amount of virus released from the body (shed) in stool, how long the virus is shed, and whether the virus in the stool is infectious are not known. SARS, a similar coronavirus, has been detected in untreated sewage for up to 2 to 14 days. 

Helpful Hint: Make sure your home’s drain system is clean and running freely. DO NOT flush baby wipes (even if they say “flushable”) down the toilet as they do not break down and cause major issues with the main sewer drain which could cause a backup and contaminate your home!

WHAT CAN I BELIEVE TO BE TRUTH?

We hear a lot of information on the internet, when dealing with possible life and death situations the phrase “I saw it on the internet so it must be true” could be a deadly belief. When it comes to our health we MUST RELY ON THE EXPERTS! That being said I have put together some common myths floating around and answers from the experts lime the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

COVID-19 MYTHS: FACT or FICTION?

Myth #1 – If you can hold your breath for 10 seconds without coughing you don’t have Coronavirus

coronavirus myth

There’s a post that’s been floating around the internet that states that if you can hold your breath for 10 seconds — without feeling like you need to gasp for air or a tightness in your chest — then you don’t have pulmonary fibrosis and you’re likely not infected with the coronavirus.

By the time someone is having trouble breathing, 50% of their lungs will have pulmonary fibrosis — a lung disease that causes irreversible scarring and hardening of the lung tissue.

THE TRUTH: While it’s possible for the coronavirus to cause fibrosis, holding your breath is not a suitable at-home “test” to determine if you have lung damage. To get a proper diagnosis, you’d need a variety of tests performed by your doctor. And, if you’re having difficulty breathing, from coronavirus or anything else, you should call your healthcare provider.

Myth #2 – Drinking lots of water will flush the virus from your mouth into your stomach where it is killed.

coronavirus myth

The myth states: Before the coronavirus reaches the lungs, it stays in the throat for days. By drinking large amounts of water it will wash the virus into your stomach where the acids will kill it. It also stated that gargling with warm salt water and vinegar will also kill the virus. 

THE TRUTH- While I do agree we should be drinking about 8 glasses of water per day for health benefits, but according to the World Health Organization “there is no evidence that drinking water can protect you from getting the coronavirus. Neither will gargling with salt water or vinegar. And in the same vein flushing your nose with saline spray won’t protect you either.

Myth #3 – Garlic or herbs will cure or protect you from the coronavirus

Garlic is said to boost your immune system and because of that, there have been rumors circulating online that it could also prevent a coronavirus infection. One post states that garlic is particularly helpful if you boil and drink the water that’s left over.

Some posts also claim that brewing tea from herbs (some suggest using sea moss) can protect kids from getting the coronavirus.

Truth: While garlic is good for your immune system, it can’t protect you from being infected with the coronavirus, according to the World Health Organization. The same goes for DIY herbal tea.

Myth #4 – Warm weather will kill the virus

Coronavirus fact

At a rally on March 9, US President Trump told his supporters that the coronavirus will go away in April as the weather in the US gets warmer.

Last month, he was also quoted saying that the virus would be gone by April and that “the heat generally speaking kills this kind of virus,” referring to the idea that warmer weather will kill the virus and thus help minimize its spread.

Truth: According to the WHO, the coronavirus can be transmitted in all areas of the globe, including hot climates. It won’t just go away in the Northern Hemisphere as the weather gets warmer in spring and summer, experts say. We do not yet know if COVID-19 is a seasonal virus like influenza is, meaning it loses the ability to infect cells as the temperature rises.

Myth #5 – Using a face mask will protect you from getting the coronavirus

n95 masks
Getty Images

This is one that gets argued all the time. In the beginning, people began buying up surgical face masks thinking this will prevent the virus from getting into your airways.

Truth: Surgical masks CANNOT BLOCK AIRBORNE VIRUSES. They are designed specifically to prevent fluids from someone else’s cough or sneeze getting into your mouth and nose or prevent fluid from your coughs and sneezes from getting into someone else’s airways.

The N95 RESPIRATOR MASK can block airborne viruses from getting into your mouth or trap viruses from your body to prevent them from spreading into the air — but you shouldn’t use one unless you think you’ve been infected by or are showing symptoms of the coronavirus and want to protect others from getting infected. Because they are pretty much non-existent, we should save them for the people who really need them like our doctors, nurses, police and first responders. Remember without these people being healthy we ALL suffer! 

Myth #6 – Spraying alcohol or bleach on your body will protect you

As stores started to run out of hand sanitizer, people looked for other ways to protect themselves, including by spraying disinfectants on their bodies or clothes.

Truth: The WHO says that not only can spraying bleach or rubbing alcohol on your body harm your mucous membranes, it won’t protect you from getting the coronavirus. And you definitely shouldn’t drink rubbing alcohol or bleach to protect yourself — doing either can cause serious health problems and even death.

Because this virus is so new and things cannot be explained as quickly as we are used to, I think the best advice to follow is:

  1. Stay apart from everyone as much as possible by staying home and only going out when absolutely necessary.
  2. Purchase only what you need so stores have time to restock and everyone can have some. 
  3. Wash your hands completely for 20 seconds with soap. We should be doing this all the time anyway.
  4. Don’t hoard water and other essentials. If you don’t like tap water install a purified drinking water system in your home, you will have unlimited clean pure drinking water for pennies a day plus you will be saving the planet from another killer PLASTIC WATER BOTTLES.
  5. Remember our elderly. Most need help in these times.

By working together we will get through this as soon as possible. We are here to help in any Plumbing, Indoor Air Quality or Water Filtration needs. 

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