Here are things you need to know and do in times of disease outbreaks
Trying times such as the spread of the COVID-19 has instilled some kind of Panic in all of us. Countries all over the world, irrespective of economy and location are all raiding grocery stores for sanitation equipment and products. Items such as rubbing alcohol and (much to the surprise of health professionals) toilet paper are all being bought at ridiculous quantities. This, as well as the media fueled hype over the virus has caused several opportunistic people to actually resell their grocery haul at a 300% mark-up. It seems ridiculous to even think about it, but many of us actually fall for these overpriced commodities because everyone else is doing it. This is called the ‘Herd Mentality’.
Herd Mentality is hardwired into the human brain; we do things because everyone else is doing it. We don’t do it just because it’s right, we don’t even do it because it makes sense, we do it because the person next to us is doing it. That does not necessarily make us good neighbors, just good followers. So, instead of taking advantage of the situation, why not treat our problems with humanity.
1. Overpurchasing is bad in the long run
We saw a viral Facebook post of a guy buying 136,000 (approx. $2,720) pesos worth of rubbing alcohol from a famous grocery store. One of the most logical reasons for this hoarding is so the said person can re-sell said items at a profit (or then again we could be wrong!).
This is inherently incorrect primarily because it is illegal; the government sanctions people or entities that bloat prices during market freezes. Profits made from the sale of such controlled commodities may not be able to pay the fines imposed upon this delinquency.
Apart from taking away other people’s access to something in demand (and forcing them to buy this from you at higher costs), over purchasing done in response to hysteria can lead to rapid devaluation of your items. Put simply, once the panic subsides, very few will want to purchase your overvalued goods and would rather buy from your source. In such a case, the most reasonable plan of action is to lower your selling point, but even then, you are operating at a loss because there is little to no growth in your investment.
Another course that this could likely take is the lowering of costs of your product in the market to combat inflation or the perils of overproduction. At which case, even if you sell at breakeven, your item is still overpriced.
Buying for the purpose of swindling is never a good idea.
2. Water cleans.
As a disinfectant loving generation, we have grown to underestimate the power of pure water. It may surprise you that ‘just water’ is literally one of the most effective cleaning substances on the planet.
Most of the rubbing alcohol we buy consist of 70 to 90% ethanol or isopropanol, the remaining 10 to 40% of the solution is actually water! 100% ethanol is not necessarily effective in killing off germs, that small portion of water is actually very important in catalyzing the effect that destroys or denatures the cell membrane of the germs. The water also slows down the evaporation rate of the rubbing alcohol which, therefore increases the exposure of your surface to the antiseptic.
There are many, many ways to use water to clean without employing antimicrobial properties. Your normal soap and water can go a very long way. Never think twice about tap water’s capacity to clean, there is no need to disinfect every surface with rubbing alcohol.
3. Avoid Antibiotic resistance
Antibacterial resistance is one of the painful evils of progress. When we developed the capacity to cure and resist pathogens we also gave bacteria and viruses to super mutate.
When we use the wrong drugs and antibacterials for the wrong things, the wrong reasons and at the wrong time, we are basically giving these organisms full access to our cures. At this point, what does not kill them, definitely makes them stronger. And that stronger, better organism? Well, they multiply and spread further.
Are we equipped to get rid of them? No. Because these organisms mutated too rapidly for us to know how to treat them; we would need to develop specialized medicine just to get rid of them. This is a heavy cross that everyone in our planet has to bear.
Avoid antibiotic resistance by not self-medicating and not taking medications that are not prescribed to you. There are also known links between topical antiseptics and enhanced tolerance of bacteria towards them. We are not suggesting sparring use of disinfectants but, we are definitely suggesting responsible use.
4. Oligodynamic effect
The oligodynamic effect is a long studied concept that states that metals have a biocidal (can kill pathogens) effect that could occur even in low concentrations. The most studied heavy metals that have this character are Silver, Copper and Brass, in fact, they are already in use as a disinfectant for non-spore-forming bacteria and viruses. Some studies suggest that the metal ions denature the protein of the target cells by binding to the reactive groups resulting in their precipitation and inactivation.
This just means that some metals sterilize themselves after an x-amount of time which makes them more ideal storage surfaces than plastics and other materials. They are also less chemically processed, therefore, there is less exposure to harmful materials such as BPAs. A study by Loh et.al states that stainless steel also has the capability to inhibit growth of S. Aureus.
So between plastic items and metal, you have more antiseptic activity in your metal ware. You want to get rid of bacteria? Start with your material.
Check MD Gruppe’s all metal products here.
5. There are other ways to clean, not just with antibacterials
We say this to veer away from the over purchasing of rubbing alcohol. While we greatly understand the effectiveness of commercial rubbing compounds, we shall have you know that there are other ways to kill off pathogens and viruses through the following:
Steam and high heat: hot temperatures take bacteria and viruses away from their ambient environments.This change in temperature destroys the proteins on the surface of the bacteria or viruses. In fact, this is how your fresh milk is made potable; this is how scientists clean their glasswares and lab equipment: by subjecting them to high heat.
Hydrogen Peroxides, Acids, Iodine, Bleaches- these known disinfecting chemicals destroy bacterial and viral membranes at the chemical level. They are already being used widely in the medical field. You can dilute them (with extreme caution! Make sure to research!) and use them at your home too.
Capsicum, Herbal and Essential Oils- you will be amazed at what nature can offer you! Some naturally occuring herbs and plants have inherent antimicrobial and antiviral properties, these are actually abundant and very easy to access. Seek these out.
6. Don’t skip the exercise
NCOV has reported higher infection and death rates for patients who have pre-existing conditions such as Diabetes Mellitus, Cardiovascular Disorders, COPDs and such. Apart from keeping a sanitary environment, make sure to keep yourself healthy too.
There is no use in incessant cleaning if your own body can’t even function well. Exercise, eat well and stay healthy; lead yourself away from the risk factors.
7. Don’t buy into the mass hysteria
In the age of hyper information, one must always remain vigilant over wrong and misleading data. Read thoroughly and read from the right sources; there is nothing more severe than the sickness of gullibility infecting a nation.
Media outlets, although doing a thankless job in purveying important news to everyone, also make their headlines as catchy as possible. Some of these are phrased to cause panic even if they shouldn’t just to have a ‘viral’ factor (touche). Read the news thoroughly and make sure you are reacting to the correct information.
Remain calm and gather details before you go all out and panic. Again, don’t fall for the herd mentality.
Copin, et al. 2019, Sequential evolution of virulence and resistance during clonal spread of community acquired methicillin resistant S. aureus. PNAS 116, 1745-1754. Doi 10.1073/pnas.1814265116
Cieplik, et al, 2019, Resistance Toward Chlorhexidine in Oral Bacteria- Is there cause for concern? Front Microbiol,
Kampf, G, 2018. Biocidal agents used for disinfection can enhance antibiotic resistance in gram-negative species. Antibiotics 7:110 doi 10.3390/antibiotics7040110
Shahi R. et.al, 1996, Oligodynamic action of traditional Nepalese water pots against E. coli (ATCC 259322). Paper presented at the 2nd international seminar on water and environment.
Shrestha, R et.al, 2009, 1989-193; Oligodynamic Action of Silver, Copper and Brass on enteric Bacteria Isolated from water of Kathmandu Valley, Nepal journal of Science and Technology
Loh, S et.al. Bactericidal Effectivities of Zinc, Copper, Silver and Stainless Steel on S. Aureus. Saddleback College
Arkell, E; 2015, Why you Should (and shouldn’t) put hydrogen Peroxide on Cuts.
Lin, HT et. al; Mar 2014, Antiviral Natural Products and Herbal Medicines, J Tradit Complementary Medicine, 4(1): 24-35. Doi: 10.4103/2225-4110.124335
Koffi-Nevry, R. (2010) Antibacterial Activity of Two Bell Pepper Extracts: Capsicuum Anuum L and Capsicum Frutescens, Pagges 961-971, International Journal of Food Properties