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Three bad consequences of good COVID behavior

Updated: Apr 17, 2020

by Al Lewis

These three items differ from most other hazards of COVID in that they are hazards of avoiding COVID, rather than hazards of COVID itself. Ironically, in all three cases, the most conscientious you try to be, the greater your risk.

Because well-intentioned folks are doing these things right now, we aren’t waiting for more examples to compile our usual “six things” postings. We’ve already blogged on two of these three items, and they are all featured in our coronaquizzes.

If you use a thought-leading vendor like US Preventive Medicine, for example, you’re possibly reading this on their site. Unfortunately, most other wellness vendors tend not to appreciate or even recognize risks that are not diet-related, so please also forward this blog to your wellness vendor, so they can alert their other customers.

1. Face masks should not be made of filters

The idea of making facemasks out of high-efficiency particulate arrestance (HEPA) filters has been all over the internet, even with how-to videos. These filters truly are much more effective at capturing sub-micron particles, like viruses, even than N95 Masks. Here’s the catch: that’s because most are made with fiberglass. Trust us when we tell you that fiberglass and lungs shouldn’t mix. You shouldn’t even need a hyperlink for that…

Scarves, pillowcases and other cotton-based fabrics already purpose-designed to be worn on or used close to your face would be a much better bet, even if they aren’t as effective. (Obviously, if you are in a place where infection is rampant, you might want to take the chance of getting fiberglass in your lungs in order to avoid a high-probability infection, but those will be rare circumstances indeed.)

2. Easy on the Zoom meetings and all-day screen use

Staring at a computer screen all day can cause myopia (nearsightedness). You may have even noticed this yourself, at the end of the day, and just thought it was eyestrain. And it is, but it is specifically called “pseudo” myopia. And, though very unlikely (except apparently, here at Quizzify World Headquarters), this can lead to more permanent non-dramatic but noticeable vision deterioration.

Three steps can be taken to alleviate this. One popular, though fantastically bad, idea is to keep a bottle of eyedrops nearby, to moisten your eyes. Those bottled eyedrops contain preservatives that can actually harm your eyes. (A few expensive niche brands may be preservative-free, just not the most popular.)

Instead, use the single-use vials. No preservatives. That “single-use” moniker is a bit overblown. A vial should last through the workday. Scroll down the “reviews” page to read a testimonial from an attorney whose experience switching to the vials was so positive that he wrote to us.

These are the eyedrops that look like this…

…rather than the ones that “get the red out.” The latter should really use the slogan: “artificially suppresses your eyes’ natural defense reaction to dryness and irritation,” but somehow that just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

The easiest, cheapest and most effective way to mitigate or even avoid this risk is the mnemonic “20-20” rule. Set your phone to beep every 20 minutes. Then, get up, walk around the room, and look outside for at least 20 seconds. (The “getting up” part confers its own health benefits, but this is specifically about avoiding eye damage.)

3. Baby, you should drive your car

Embarrassingly, this seems to be Quizzify’s most popular piece of advice ever, making the rounds on Facebook and elsewhere. Could be the visual image, which we confess to liking more than grownups should.

Yes, you aren’t supposed to go anywhere, except maybe the store. And, yes, though this practice is not without its detractors, you already idle your car every week or two to prevent the battery from discharging, but…

…Turns out that’s not enough. You should actually drive the thing. Even if, in the immortal words of the great philosopher Chuck Berry, you have no particular place to go.

Drive your car not just to the store, but enough of a distance and at high enough speed (50 mph) to get the engine to its operating temperature for a while. This could prevent expensive repairs down the road, literally and figuratively.

Let’s start with the brakes, because you don’t need us to tell you this. Just listen. Ever notice that when you don’t drive your car for a while, the first few times you step on the brakes, you can hear them? That’s rust building up, causing premature wear and tear.

As for the rest of the car’s systems, there could be many consequences of not driving. We rarely cite Quora but there seems to be a plethora of advice here that even if only half-right, is enough to scare us into following it.

Chances are you have never had to think about this before, because very few of us here in America have ever been guilty of spending too little time behind the wheel. But now you should actually drive more than you do now. Desperate times call for desperate measures.


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