Unfortunately, "less is better" is not a catchy marketing slogan.
- For his new book, "Clean: The New Science of Skin," physician James Hamblin didn't shower for five years.
- Soap is a relatively simple concoction; you're mostly paying for marketing and scent.
- While hygiene is important, especially during a pandemic, Hamblin argues that we're cleaning too much.
Doctor hasn’t showered for five years | Today Show Australia<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ec454624aa1aa3d85247410cc5f60f52"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/m1rAD62Wscg?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><h2>An obsession with soap might be creating allergies</h2><p>In the quest to protect our children against bacteria, we might inadvertently create lifelong allergies. An uptick in peanut allergies is indicative of this trend. Our skin is the first line of defense against disease, and it knows how to protect itself. In fact, the organisms and bacteria that live on our skin are doing important work; the more we wash them away, the more susceptible we become to foreign invaders. </p><p>Nut allergies might only be one consequence of overwashing. Allergic rhinitis, asthma, and eczema might in part be caused (or provoked) by too many antibacterial soaps (or soap in general). As Hamblin writes, "Soaps and astringents meant to make us drier and less oily also remove the sebum on which microbes feed." </p><h2>Your skin is crawling with mites</h2><p>Speaking of foreign invaders, skin science verifies an old Buddhist idea: there is no self. As Hamblin puts it, "Self and other is less of a dichotomy than a continuum." In fact, "you" are a collection of organisms and bacteria, including <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3884930/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Demodex</em></a>. A half-millimeter in length, these "demon arachnids" are colorless and boast four pairs of legs, which they use to burrow into the skin on our face. </p><p>Yes, all of our faces.</p><p>While these mites were originally discovered in 1841, it wasn't until 2014 that a group of researchers in North Carolina used DNA sequencing to understand their impact. Though you might recoil at the suggestion, it turns out that these critters potentially act as natural exfoliants. While housing too many of these mites results in skin disease, your face is their home. If not for them you might be even more susceptible to breakouts and infections. </p><h2>Think unchecked capitalism is bad? Thank soap. </h2><p>Soap is chemically simple. Combine fat and alkali to create surfactant molecules. The fat can be animal- or plant-based—three fatty acids and a glycerin molecule create a triglyceride. Combine this mix with potash or lye, apply heat and pressure, and wait for the fatty acids to rush away from the glycerin. Potassium or sodium binds to fatty acids. That's soap. </p><p>You actually pay for scent and packaging. In 1790, the first patent in history was approved for an ash processing method that produced soap. It wasn't an immediate hit; the balance was off. Too much lye resulted in a lot of burnt skin. A century passed before companies convinced Americans regular washing was necessary. Thanks to ingenious marketing—we still have radio-inspired "soap operas" today, though barely—soap became a must-have. A luxury became a common good. </p><p>As with everything capitalism, a little doesn't generate much revenue. Marketers convinced the public that <em>a lot</em> was needed. As Hamblin phrases it, "Capitalism sells nothing so effectively as status. And if a little bit was good, a lot would be better." Soap infected mainstream consciousness. Soon, we needed a lot of everything, all thanks to simple chemistry.</p>
A little baby is reaching out of a bath tub to get at a tablet of Pear's soap. The drawing is entitled 'He won't be happy till he gets it'! (1888)
Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images<h2>The skincare industry is almost entirely unregulated</h2><p>Hamblin tried another project for this book: he launched a skincare line. One day he went to Whole Foods and purchased raw ingredients: jojoba oil, collagen, shea butter, a few other things. After mixing them in his kitchen, he ordered glass jars and labels from Amazon. In total, he spent $150 (which included his company website) to launch <a href="http://www.brunsonsterling.com/" target="_blank">Brunson + Sterling</a>. He then posted two-ounce jars of Gentleman's Cream for $200 (on sale from $300!).</p><p>Hamblin didn't sell any jars, but that wasn't the point. At an expo, he noticed one-ounce jars of SkinCeuticals's C E Ferulic selling for $166, even though that topical acid is no more effective at improving health than eating an orange. Collagen is another hype machine. Drinking collagen does nothing for your skin as it's broken down by enzymes in your digestive tract. Even still, plenty of companies claim it gives you <a href="https://www.elle.com/uk/beauty/skin/a20764288/collagen-drinks-skincare/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">glowing skin</a> even though the charge is rubbish. </p><p>Even more incredibly, Hamblin didn't have to report any ingredients to the FDA. He also didn't need to note its effects or provide evidence of safety. He simply needed to apply for a business license. The FDA can't even make him (or anyone) recall products. The government's safety system relies on a code of honor—and there are plenty of businesses that are less than honorable. </p><p>Marketing and hype. Thanks, soap.</p><h2>Disinfectant decoy</h2><p>The ongoing joke about the happiness one derives from finding Clorox wipes in the supermarket will be with us for some time to come, as the CEO <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-clorox-wipes/clorox-wont-have-enough-disinfecting-wipes-until-2021-its-ceo-says-idUSKCN2501EU" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">announced</a> they won't have enough supply until 2021. That said, do we need to Clorox everything? Probably not, Hamblin suggests. In fact, for Clorox to work, you have to leave it on the surface for about 10 minutes. </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"The product isn't 'killing 99.9% of germs' in the way that anyone actually uses it—a quick wipe-down." </p><p>Hamblin suggests regularly wiping down your countertop with soap and water. Regularly killing germs isn't the healthiest practice. Similar to antibiotics, overuse makes cleaning products ineffective. Hamblin continues, "some chronic conditions seem to be fueled by the fact that so many of us are now not being exposed to <em>enough</em> to the world." </p><p>The takeaway: read beyond what's posted in bright shiny letters on the cover of cleaning products. And consider using them less than you might think you need. </p><h2>Animals smell. You're an animal.</h2><p>The soap advertisements that kicked off modern marketing relied on one concept: B.O. We think of body odor as a given, but that too is an invention. Our feet "smell" thanks to <em>Bacillus subtilis</em>. This bacteria has potent antifungal properties. Shoes weren't available for most of history, a period in which smelly feet bestowed a strong evolutionary trait. As Hamblin writes, we didn't evolve to <em>smell</em>, we evolved in harmony with protective microbes that we just happen to find unpleasant. </p><p>While a number of players in the wellness and skincare industries likely have good intentions, so much of what is sold is unnecessary, and even damaging. The marketing machine makes us feel "less than" in order to sell us products that complete us. As Hamblin concludes, evidence-based companies would take an opposite approach to skincare and hygiene: less is more. As that will never produce million-dollar companies, we continue to sacrifice health in the name of branding.</p><p> --</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Facebook</a>. His new book is</em> "<em><a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08KRVMP2M?pf_rd_r=MDJW43337675SZ0X00FH&pf_rd_p=edaba0ee-c2fe-4124-9f5d-b31d6b1bfbee" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy</a>."</em></p>
India finishes last of 60 countries in environment and sustainability, as ranked by the expats who work there.
- How 'green' is life in your work country?
- That's the question InterNations asked its network of expats.
- The United States ended 30th out of 60 countries.
Nordics on top<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDU2NjgyNy9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NTczNzkyOX0.VgfqyjAa9avw6gFOE0qlgSgKuBN7DJmzOc5lzFGLm8g/img.jpg?width=980" id="1f0dc" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="b27458cf472d26cf1f87cb91623a0621" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Evo Hiking Area, H\u00e4meenlinna, Finland." />
Evo Hiking Area in Hämeenlinna, Finland. Great nature, clean air, clean water? Check, check and check.
Credit: Kanta-Hämeen kuvapankki on Flickr/ Public Domain.<p><br><strong>1. Finland</strong></p><p>The Nordic country scores at or near the top in all categories surveyed, including the quality of the natural environment (say 96 percent of expats in Finland), water and sanitation (96 percent) and air (95 percent). <br></p><p><strong>2. Sweden</strong></p><p>Swedes lead the world in environmental awareness (84 percent versus just 48 percent globally). Perhaps not surprising, for the homeland of <a href="https://bigthink.com/politics-current-affairs/greta-effect" target="_blank">Greta Thunberg</a>. This is reflected by government policy. Sweden currently gets more than 50 percent of its power from renewable sources and wants to go 100% renewable before 2040. "I've been here for over 20 years and I clearly see the benefits of my taxes paid coming back to me and the rest of society," says one American expat.<br></p><p><strong>3. Norway</strong></p><p>"The beautiful nature, the clean air and tap water, and the focus on the environment," are what one Ukrainian expat enjoys most about Norway. With 76 percent of expats happy with the availability of green goods and services, Norway's 'weakest' category is still 13 percentage points above the global average. <br></p><p><strong>4. Austria</strong></p><p>The first non-Nordic in the global ranking, Austria places in the Top 10 for each category and comes in first for the availability of green goods and services (90 percent). <br></p><p><strong>5. Switzerland</strong></p><p>Swiss nature is the most appreciated in the world (98 percent versus 83 percent on average). Switzerland also gets stellar results for air and water quality and the availability of green energy and green goods and services. </p><p><strong>6. Denmark</strong></p><p>Danes are very much into green causes, as is their government, say 83 percent resp. 84 percent of expats. "Organic food is readily available, and they are good with recycling," observes a South African expat. And they love cycling: 9 out of 10 Danes own a bike.</p><p><strong>7. New Zealand</strong></p><p>85 percent of expats agree that the New Zealand government takes green issues seriously. In fact, New Zealand plans to use 90 percent electricity from renewables by 2025. The country also scores high on the quality of its natural environment and all other categories – albeit slightly less on the quality of its water and sanitation.</p><p><strong>8. Germany</strong></p><p>"I enjoy the rising awareness about environmental issues and the alternatives the government and society are developing," says one Colombian expat. Indeed, 80 percent of expats agree the German government is pro-environment (versus 55 percent globally). <br></p><p><strong>9. Canada</strong></p><p>The only North American destination in the Top 10, thanks especially to expat appreciation of Canada's natural environment (96 percent), but also the quality of its water and sanitation (90 percet) and the availability of green goods and services (80 percent). <br></p><p><strong>10. Luxembourg</strong></p><p>"Access to nature for hiking and bicycling" is a definite boon for one American expat. In fact, the country's natural environment, although ranking 13th out of 60, is its lowest-rated subcategory. Luxembourg does even better when it comes to green energy, waste management, and the quality of its air and water.</p>
Taiwan, most sustainable destination in Asia<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDU2Njg1Ni9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1NzkxMDAxNH0.Roy7h_Od1cmaqBmamk-DP4rKMpLjTM-qIajG96alZAg/img.jpg?width=980" id="00799" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="dab52370e1edb5da5ebb0f5631027b1c" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="\u200bEternal Spring Shrine in the Taroko Gorge, Hualien County, Taiwan." />
Eternal Spring Shrine in the Taroko Gorge, Hualien County. Outside of Taipei, Taiwan can be surprisingly green and beautiful.
Credit: Zairon, CC BY-SA 4.0<p><strong>11. Taiwan</strong></p><p>The highest-scoring expat destination in Asia, Taiwan boasts 92 percent approval of its waste management and recycling, and 80 percent of the availability of green goods and services. But "the air pollution (in Taipei) is getting worse because it is too crowded," one expat complains.</p><p><strong>12. Netherlands</strong></p><p>Green goods and services are widely available, agree 82 percen of expats, as is green energy. However, 13 percent rate the Dutch environment negatively, 4 percet above the global average. <br></p><p><strong>13. Portugal</strong></p><p>Well ahead of its neighbor Spain (#20), the country scores high for air quality (91 percent) and natural environment (95 percent). "I like the opportunity for gardening and growing our own food," says one expat. <br></p><p><strong>14. Estonia</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Estonia scores in the Top 20 for every category and gets its highest marks for its natural environment. "A beautiful country with excellent air quality and open spaces," praises an Indian expat.<br></p><p><strong>15. Costa Rica</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Both the government and the people are very supportive of green policies, find 82 percent, resp. 67 percent of expats. "It's easy to live a healthy lifestyle with regard to the food, climate, clean air and water," says one. Costa Rica won the 2019 UN Champion of the Earth award and has pledged to go carbon neutral by 2050.<br></p><p><strong>16. Czechia</strong></p><p><strong></strong>"The beauty of the environment" is one of the best things about living in Czechia, says a Russian expat. No less than 97 percent of expats agree.<br></p><p><strong>17. France</strong></p><p><strong></strong>77 percent of expats are happy about the availability of green goods and services in France, which is 14 percentage points above average. The country also scores well for waste management and recycling. In short, France has a "good, green and clean environment," one Iranian expat finds. <strong><br></strong></p><p><strong>18. Australia</strong></p><p><strong></strong>While ranking high on the quality of its nature, water and air, Australia scores low when it comes to government support for green issues (51 percent). Fortunately, expats see more interest among the general population (68 percent). </p><p><strong>19. Singapore</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Expats rate the government's interest in green issues higher than globally average (77 percent versus 55 percent), but the Singaporean public's engagement for the same less than average (40 percent versus 48 percent). Of course, in a small, crowded place like Singapore, "(nature) spots are limited."<br></p><p><strong>20. Spain</strong></p><p>Spain's "scenery, diversity of places to visit and healthier environment" are what rate highly with one British expat. Its weak point is governmental and public support for green issues – but still slightly above the global average. <br></p>
London is "polluted and noisy"<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDU2Njg4Ni9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NDg3NjkyOH0.3ySSD7jFBfAWA07u-EN-oL9x9cq9FZn06iz5aV0hEOw/img.jpg?width=980" id="f5630" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="80c9fa119e7ff3acc91e027b7529bfed" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="\u200bEven at 2:30pm, London gets clogged." />
Afternoon traffic jam in London.
World map for the 'sustainable expat'<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDU2Njg5MC9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzMzAyNjQ2MH0.hjRiMDmOSnn9EvKJtx_tlzql3Gf7ph8lt8bL6dPCft4/img.png?width=980" id="def5d" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="149be2f5a19cc625cb555d8078f62ce2" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="The best & worst destiations for the sustainable expat" />
Sixty expat destinations ranked for sustainability, from best (orange) to worst (light blue). In between: fairly okay (brown), middling (grey) and not that great (dark blue).
South Korea's "rather horrible" air<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDU2NjkxNS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2MTY1MjIwNn0.2e6eBIc38sAZLFQGKw4UL3-SY3hA9NthX0Uj9L4ibZA/img.jpg?width=980" id="c10db" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="cba918e6e5455c2e5ff4f9d5caf54775" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="\u200bSmoggy Seoul" />
Seoul's air quality is so bad you can picture it. Only India's air is perceived as worse than South Korea's, according to the expat survey.
Bad, worse, India<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDU2Njk0MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NTcyMTczMH0.Pt2bGDrpSKSwVjimMK_iK0Jejpu8ILn77VEzHTdzQQ4/img.jpg?width=980" id="28411" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8b8b602261a168a46b05c53e09ab1b02" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="man standing surrounded by garbage" />
India scores worst in all three categories, but to be fair – some of its problems were imported from more developed countries.
Dr. Kate Biberdorf explains why boiling water makes it safer and how water molecules are unusual and cool.
- University of Texas professor and science entertainer Kate the Chemist joined Big Think to talk about water molecules and to answer two interesting and important questions: Why does boiling water make it safe to drink, and what happens to water when you boil or freeze it?
- According to Kate, when water is heated to a certain temperature (100°C/ 212°F) the hydrogen bonds break and it goes from a liquid to a gas state. Boiling for a minimum of 5 minutes kills any viruses and bacteria that were in the water.
- "Water is a freak and so it is one of my favorite molecules ever," Kate says. "It has these unique properties and we are surrounded by it constantly. We also are made of water. We have to drink water to survive...It's a really, really fun molecule to investigate."
Understanding the math behind social distancing.
- Proper social distancing includes staying 6ft (2m) away from other people, avoiding all non-essential gatherings or crowds, and working from home if possible.
- During the COVID-19 incubation period of 5 days, each infected person can infect 2.5 more people.
- Using this math, it's easy to determine how many people will go on to be infected after the initial person contracted COVID-19 using various levels of social distancing (0%, 50% and 75% examples are found in this article).
Quarantine and isolation for COVID-19, explained<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjkwNTM5OC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NDE1ODE0M30.ehm3SCWC7SG781GVK0D3JL8x2REUOwsyWTn65Z38G8o/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=25%2C0%2C25%2C0&height=700" id="b43e7" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="28f421302ea3a309b8c2931944e5cbbf" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="stay home stay safe dice conception social distancing self quarantine COVID-19" />
Health professionals suggest 14 days self-quarantine if you feel you may have been in contact with the virus.
Photo by FrankHH on Shutterstock<p>"Self-quarantine" and "flattening the curve" appear to be common phrases so far in 2020, along with hashtags on social media such as #StayHomeSaveLives and #SelfIsolation...but what does all of this truly mean?</p><p>Senior Director of Infection Prevention at Johns Hopkins (<a href="https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/coronavirus-social-distancing-and-self-quarantine" target="_blank">Dr. Lisa Maragakis</a>) explains just how critical social distancing measures are when it comes to fighting the spread of the new strain of coronavirus. </p><p><strong>What is self-quarantine? </strong></p><p>Self-quarantine is the practice of separating yourself away from others due to the potential that you may be sick (maybe you or someone in your household has shown symptoms of COVID-19, for example). </p><p>If you feel you may have been in contact with the virus at some point, health professionals including Dr. Maragakis suggest a self-quarantine of <a href="https://bigthink.com/politics-current-affairs/coronavirus-incubation" target="_blank">14 (fourteen) days minimum</a> to determine if you will become ill and/or could be contagious to others. </p><p>During this time, <a href="https://bigthink.com/surprising-science/coronavirus" target="_blank">you should</a>:</p><ul><li>Use standard hygiene and washing hands frequently (avoid touching your face)</li><li>Stay at home (have someone else pick up your groceries or use an order-in service)</li><li>Not have visitors</li><li>Refrain from sharing utensils, towels or hygiene products with others in your home</li></ul><p>Once you have completed the minimum quarantine time and no longer show symptoms, this is when you go into "self-isolation" to ensure you do not pick up the virus somewhere and pass it along to others. </p><p><strong>What is self-isolation? </strong></p><p>Isolation, in medical terms, simply means keeping an infected patient away from others to avoid passing the infection. </p><p>Self-isolation in regards to COVID-19 refers to the act of isolating yourself, not specifically with doctor's orders, to avoid contracting the infection and passing it along. </p><p>"<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/article/flatten-curve-coronavirus.html" target="_blank">Flattening the curve</a>" of COVID-19 refers to using protective measures to slow the spread of the infection. </p>
The math behind social distancing: How does it help?<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjkwNTM5OS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxNDYwODU5Mn0.FsZXw4yDFrQmEHGNKRnSSdkMxKjPupfiKx52BIgOjQQ/img.jpg?width=980" id="b1cce" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="f5ebe339897c94177e0137adb14079f6" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="concept of social distancing COVID-19" />
Scientists measure the intensity of an infectious disease by it's "reproduction number", which is the average number of people a sick person could infect.
Image by Poi NATTHAYA on Shutterstock<p> <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html" target="_blank">Social distancing</a> is another term that has become extremely common this year. If carried out properly, social distancing really can save lives. </p><p> <strong>Proper social distancing involves: </strong> </p><ul> <li>Keeping at least 6ft (2m) away from others at all times </li> <li>Avoiding non-essential gatherings and crowds</li> <li>Limiting contact with high-risk groups (the elderly, newborns, etc)</li> <li>Working from home if possible </li> <li>Greeting neighbors or colleagues with a wave instead of handshakes </li> <li>Avoiding going out except for when it's absolutely needed (grocery shopping, to pick up medications, etc) </li> </ul><p> With many places around the world entering "lock-down mode", gatherings including sporting events and concerts have been postponed and people who are able to work from home are being advised to do so to slow down the spread of this virus. </p><p> <strong>How does social distancing help flatten the curve? </strong> </p><p> It all comes down to the math. Scientists at <a href="http://social-distancing.com/" target="_blank">Signer Laboratory</a> in the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California San Diego measure the intensity of an infectious disease by its "reproduction number," which is the average number of people a sick person could infect. </p><p> It's important to keep a couple things in mind when explaining social distancing: </p><ol> <li>There is a direct correlation between social exposure and the reproduction number, which the researchers call R<sub>0</sub>). </li> <li>The incubation period of COVID-19 is approximately 5 days - after this period, the person will either experience symptoms and self-quarantine or be "in the clear". </li> </ol><p> For COVID-19, the average reproduction number (R<sub>0</sub>) has been estimated at 2.5. This means that during the incubation period, each infected person can infect 2.5 more people. </p><p>Here's how the math breaks down for various levels of social distancing, from no measures taken, to 50 and 75 percent social distancing:</p><p> <strong><u>NO SOCIAL DISTANCING MEASURES </u></strong> </p><ul> <li>Continuing your daily life as though nothing is happening</li> <li>Not practicing social distancing at all</li> </ul><p> <strong>Day 1: </strong>Person A contracts the virus </p><p> <strong>Day 5:</strong> Person A infects up to 2.5 people </p><p> <strong>Day 30:</strong> 406 people have been infected </p><p> <strong><u>REDUCING SOCIAL EXPOSURE - 50% </u></strong> </p><ul> <li>Only leaving your house for work and to get groceries</li> <li>Practicing social distancing at work</li> <li>Not physically touching others</li> </ul><p> <strong>Day 1:</strong> Person A contracts the virus </p><p> <strong>Day 5:</strong> Person A infects up to 1.5 people </p><p> <strong>Day 30: </strong>15 people have been infected </p><p> <strong><u>REDUCING SOCIAL EXPOSURE - 75% </u></strong> </p><ul> <li>Self-isolation</li> <li>Only leave your home once or twice a week for the essential needs such as groceries or medical supplies</li> <li>Not having any visitors</li> </ul><p> <strong>Day 1: </strong>Person A contracts the virus </p><p> <strong>Day 5: </strong>Person A infects up to 0.625 people </p><p> <strong>Day 30:</strong> 2.5 people have been infected </p><p> Scientists and health care professionals agree on this one fundamental truth in these difficult times: social distancing can be thought of as the first line of defense against COVID-19. </p><p> <em>"This pandemic can seem overwhelming, but in truth, every person can help slow down the spread of COVID-19. By doing your part,"</em> explains Dr. Maragakis, <em>"you can make a big difference to your health and that of others around you." </em> </p>
What symptoms to watch for, how to get tested, what to do if you're sick, and when to go to the doctor.
- Differences in symptoms exist between a cold, the flu and coronavirus.
- The CDC issued specific recommendations about what to do if you're sick and when to get tested.
- Calling the doctor is important if you feel sick or have questions.