Sunday, June 21, 2020


A Guide to What to Know About COVID-19 | Smart News | Smithsonian ...

This past week I had to complete a "returning to work" module on Covid 19 knowledge for the University of Nevada. While I dreaded completing yet another (boring) on line training, this module actually had some information that I found helpful. I'd like to share a few of these facts as I've found getting good, reliable data about the COVID-19 challenging the past few months.

How many virus particles does it take to become infected with COVID-19? It is estimated it takes approx. 1000 virus particles to become infected with COVID-19.  Here is a list of approx. how long it would take to inhale 1000 particles by different activity:

  • Breathing: an infected person sheds approx. 20 particles per minute, so it would take about 50 minutes to inhale 1000 particles and potentially become infected. 
  • Speaking: an infected person sheds approx. 200 particles per minute, so it would take about 5 minutes  to inhale 1000 particles and potentially become infected. 
  • Cough: One cough contains approx 200,000,000 viral particles, so exposure time to inhale 1000 particles is immediate. 
  • Sneeze: One sneeze contains approx 200,000,000 viral particles, so exposure time to inhale 1000 particles is immediate. 

How long does SARS-CoV2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) last outside the body? (From a study and paper by the New England Journal of Medicine, CDC, UCLA, Princeton)

  • As an aerosol in the air--up to 3 hours*
  • On copper--up to 4 hours
  • On cardboard--up to 24 hours
  • On plastic--2-3 days
  • On stainless steel--2-3 days 
*Researchers used a nebulizer to simulate coughing or sneezing and found that the virus became an aerosol. 

Because the SARS-CoV-2 virus may remain viable on non-porous surfaces for several days, you should disinfect surfaces using a product that meets the EPA criteria for use against the virus. The University of Nevada uses TB-Cide Quat to disinfect. An important note. There is a difference between cleaning (wiping off dirt/grime) and disinfecting a surface. To disinfect, you need to spray the surface from approx 6" away, and allow the disinfectant to sit on the surface for approx. 2 minutes. You can then wipe the surface off, and finish by washing your hands.

So friends, wear your mask, wash your hands, and stay safe.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Strengthening your relationship during COVID isolation

The Meaning of Love - Joshua Hehe - Medium

Although always a prevalent topic, since COVID isolation began my patients have been talking about their relationships even more than usual. It must be that people are inside, spending more time with their partners/families. That can be a great thing, or it can be challenging (or maybe a bit of both).

I've been learning about couple's therapy this year as part of my psychiatry residency, and one of my texts is ACT with love by Russ Harris, MD. In this book, Dr. Harris applies the principles of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to helping couples to stop struggling, reconcile difference, and strengthen their relationship. It has a lot of great exercises that would be helpful for nearly any couple at any stage of their relationship. (To learn more or purchase a copy click here.)

He shares a poetic metaphor for a healthy relationship. He writes:

If two people want to build a fantastic relationship, each needs to be like a mountain. A mountain is whole and complete in itself--and yet when it encounters another mountain, between them they create something new: a valley. A healthy relationship is like two towering mountains with a magnificent valley between them through which the river of life flows strong and fast and free. Neither mountain  needs the other--and yet their connection to one another gives rise to a lush valley teeming with the wonder of nature. 

Many people look to their partner to complete them, to solve all their problems,  to make them whole, or to fix them. Alternatively, they may chose someone that they think they can save. If you recognize some of these motivations in your relationship, you're likely running into problems. Dr. Harris describes a mountain as whole and complete with a firm foundation and clear borders, yet able to be part of a rich and luscious landscape.

If you'd like to learn more about being that strong and complete mountain then check out Dr. Harris' book. It's worth the read.