Health Life

COVID-19 ‘super spreaders’ quickly fill room with virus, but masks help

(HealthDay)—Face masks can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 among folks trapped in a room with an infected “super spreader,” a new Swiss study claims.

Most infected people with a typical COVID viral load don’t flood the air with -infected respiratory droplets, and the risk of catching the from them tends to be low, estimates show.

But a severely infected person who’s coughing frequently can fill a poorly ventilated room with as many as 7.4 million copies of the coronavirus for every cubic meter of air, according to researchers Michael Riediker and Dai-Hua Tsai, from the Swiss Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health in Winterthur.

“The implications of these findings for and the workplace are that individuals may be at risk of infection if they spend more than a few minutes in a small room with a person who is infected with COVID-19 and has a high viral load,” Riediker and Tsai concluded.

The study also “highlights the importance of wearing a mask,” said Dr. Aaron Glatt, chair of medicine and chief of infectious diseases at Mount Sinai South Nassau. “Wearing a mask clearly helps, and it will diminish the capacity of these super spreaders to spread as much.”

For this study, the Swiss researchers gathered data from a handful of prior studies that tracked how much coronavirus the average infected person will emit by breathing normally, as well as the virus released by a very who’s coughing frequently.

The team then used a to estimate how much virus either a low- or high-emitting patient is likely to release into the air of a closed room.

A COVID-19 patient with a high viral load could be expected to release a large amount of virus into the air, especially when they are coughing,

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5 common questions about dry mouth

Dry mouth is a common symptom of Sjögren’s syndrome, as well as other diseases like diabetes and HIV/AIDS. Without enough saliva, or spit, it can be difficult to break down food, swallow, and take care of your teeth.

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research answers five common questions about dry mouth and Sjögren’s syndrome to help you navigate this tricky condition.

Is dry mouth a normal part of aging?

No, dry mouth is not part of the aging process itself. However, as people age, many may develop conditions that affect making saliva and they may take medications that can dry out the mouth.

What can cause dry mouth?

  • Medications. Dry mouth is a side effect of many types of medications, including those for depression, allergies and colds, and high blood pressure.
  • Dehydration. Dehydration happens when you lose more fluids than you take in. People of all ages can become dehydrated, but older adults are especially prone to it.  
  • Radiation therapy. Salivary glands can be damaged if they are exposed to radiation during cancer treatment.
  • Chemotherapy. Drugs used to treat cancer can make saliva thicker, causing the mouth to feel dry.
  • Injury to the head or neck. A head or neck injury can damage the nerves that tell salivary glands to make saliva.

What can I do about dry mouth?

Visit your dentist or doctor, who will try to determine the cause and may:

  • Suggest changing, or adjusting the dosage of, a medication. But do not make any changes to your medications before talking with your dentist or doctor.
  • Prescribe medications to increase saliva.
  • Recommend using artificial saliva.

Does dry mouth put me at risk for tooth decay?

Yes. Because saliva protects against tooth decay, having less saliva can put you at risk. Keep your teeth healthy by:

  • Brushing