Air Safety. Infection potential in the air we breathe.
Podcast Episode 121620
By: Alaskan Outlaw
As you investigate the residence for any signs of life, following the recent 9.0 earthquake that rocked your area for over 35 seconds, leaving many buildings, like this one, as a partial pile of rubble spread out across the landscape of your town. The front door, still intact, still holds out the elements from the area directly behind it, although much of the building has crumbled and left much of what used to be the interior exposed to the elements. You call out, hoping for a response, then pound on the door. No response. You try the doorknob to find the door unlocked. As you attempt to open the door, a larger piece of furniture presses back against the door, causing you to force the door open. Upon entry to the room, you note that the ceiling has caved in, leaving larger pieces of lumber exposed with jagged edges. You call out again. Slowly you climb over broken and scattered furniture, around the exposed lumber, being sure to visually inspect the floor before you place your foot down. At first, you feel the pressure across the bridge of your nose, you can feel your sinuses filling up. Even though you haven’t been excessively physical, you are finding that you need to breathe more rapidly. Unable to get a full breath. As you continue through the rubble, you begin to feel the heaviness settling in on your extremities, making it challenging to pick up your arms, and move your legs. As you enter the area near where the home attached to the garage, you find yourself unable to breathe without difficulty, and your eyesight has just started to become blurry. As you open the interior door to the garage a gust of air rushes out, and your knees buckle, you are now feeling highly intoxicated, and the rooms are moving around. You are unable to remain upright, and find yourself crawling on your hands and knees. You note that behind you about 25 feet away is an exterior door leading to the outside. You claw your way to the door, breathing is incredibly difficult, and you are unable to get enough air. You find that during your crawl to that exterior door, darkness is beginning around the edges of your vision, forcing an almost “tunnel vision”, you use what feels like the last little bit of strength to reach up to the doorknob and pull the door open. As the door opens, the frigid air from outside rushes in, the sting of the cold air on your face provides you with a little more energy, allowing you to crawl completely outside the home. This has been a case of carbon monoxide poisoning, and probably one of the most dangerous situations faced by first-responders every day.
Greetings my friends, family members, fellow veterans, and Americans around the globe, and thank you for joining us here at the Alaskan Outlaw. I am the Alaskan Outlaw and I will be your host in what I hope to be an informative podcast about keeping yourself and family members safe, regardless of what gets thrown at you. I hope this episode finds you as healthy as can be expected during these crazy times, and that you are able to remain strong. As you know, I invite you to research all of the topics that I discuss for yourself and ensure that you deploy multiple sources to ensure you are validating the information you are getting. Our show this week speaks about airborne injuries. Whether those particles be man-made such as smoke containing ash, or other substances, or gases released in the wild, or microscopic viruses that can wreak havoc on society at a fundamental level, we need to be sure that we talk about, and plan for, these types of injuries, as well as ensuring that we include first aid measures in our kits.
In just a few moments, I’ve invited Doctor Anne Zink, the State of Alaska’s Chief Medical officer to the show to answer a couple of straight-forward questions for us. We’ll have her answers here in just a few minutes, but first, let’s talk about being prepared to survive an uncertain future.
Being prepared for natural disasters is really just imagining yourself in your home without utilities, or possibly stranded without the ability to resupply yourself and your family. Right? Wrong. Depending on the disaster, first-aid and basic construction understanding may be needed to keep you and your family safe and secure. However, you may not be aware, but according to the USFA, 37 percent of residential fire victims succumbed to smoke inhalation. What is smoke inhalation? There are many different dangers of smoke inhalation, however, most victims suffer from asphyxiation or suffocation. In other words, something that is burning is replacing the oxygen that you need to breathe. In addition, thermal injuries stem from breathing superheated particles or air, which in turn burn the airway, and the lungs, creating scar tissue that is then unable to pass the oxygen inhaled to the bloodstream. Even if you're not near the fire, the wind may bring these particles to you, this is why we need to seriously consider our airways when determining our preps.
When starting to gather the necessities for being prepared for whatever happens we need to be cognizant of the similarities between airborne viruses and harmful particles. While they may differ in what they can do to the body we need to be focused on what might happen if they were to combine. If a massive volcano were to erupt nearby and the ash plume was to combine with the current virus on water droplets, this could have cataclysmic effects on the population. So, think of the pandemic as a training ground for other natural events that may occur, and being able and prepared to keep yourself safe, healthy, and breathing.
While masks have been proven somewhat significant in the reduction in passing the virus from host to host, the remaining new infections are primarily due to the improper wearing of masks, insufficient mask materials, and the lack of mask-wearing by private citizens throughout the world. While we know that most, closer-net, materials seem to successfully prevent the passing of the microscopic droplets which harbor the virus, which in turn gives the virus a ride from host to host, thereby infecting a new host.
When considering the idea of being prepared for a natural disaster, one has to consider ALL types of hazards that may occur. The real possibility of broken pipes carrying natural gas, and/or raw sewage, which in higher concentration could contain methane gas. In addition, we could conceptually have a large gas cloud that passed through our area. Especially given the colder temperatures over the winter, the gas cloud could get trapped at a lower altitude and pose a threat to humans on earth. These are very real possibilities within the natural disaster type of scenario. In addition, both: summer wildfire season, and winter residential fires could pose a substantial threat, as it may concern different particulates that could pose serious health hazards to both humans, and their pets given the time of year.
As we've witnessed now for about a year here in the United States, a microscopic virus can move throughout the civilized world in a matter of weeks. This latest version of the corona family of viruses, literally infected the whole world in a matter of months. With the limited threats from its cousins SARS & MARS in previous years, COVID-19 was able to live airborne for some time, leaping from host to host easily in the crowded cities throughout the world. One of two major viruses within the US to actually affect the economy, at the same time, the behavior adjustment of its citizens. I know, some of you are convinced this is just another conspiracy theory platform, but I'm here to tell you it's not. It is an absolute reality. I sat down with the chief medical officer for the State of Alaska, Doctor Anne Zink, and asked some frank questions about keeping ourselves safe.
As you may have heard, GREAT things on the horizon for the US as vaccines begin to ship out within weeks, or days from this podcast. I want to make sure we keep in mind the similarities with other airborne particles. While she did address the particle attachment to small water vapor droplets contained within our breath, that can and does distribute the COVID virus from host to host. In much the same way as smoke particles that can be attached to raindrops, and delivered to our respiratory systems via splashes and microscopic droplets, or radioactive particles contained within those same raindrops, affectionately called “black rain”. This and air pollution chemicals are things that we must take into consideration when wanting to be prepared for an uncertain future. Taking care of our respiratory system should be one of our primary functions.
What else I'm hoping that you took away, was the benefits of not being indoors, and direct sunlight potentially killing the virus. While the virus seemed to fair well in cold weather, it was easily destroyed with common hand soap. All of these points should be taken into consideration when preparing for, or dealing with the many other possible scenarios we've identified here. Just food for thought.
So, let’s talk about the ways that Doctor Zink advised us about.
- Be healthy, consider ensuring you’ve got good health.
- Enjoy the outdoors. Get some open air.
- Following the mandates given to us by health officials.
Dealing with the COVID and influenza virus should be no different than dealing with any other particle threats. We need to be prepared, and being prepared means we protect ourselves and our community neighbors. Protecting ourselves from the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic should be no different than protecting ourselves from the fire season, or volcanic eruption. Making choices to keep ourselves healthy and safe should be our priority.
Well, there’s my two cents for what that’s worth nowadays. I hope I’ve assisted you in understanding the value of keeping ourselves healthy and safe, thereby increasing your chances of survival success. As always I am humbled that you have chosen to join us for this discussion, I look forward to enjoying more conversations with you, the American people, and a beautiful part of the human race. God bless you all, and God bless the United States. Peace.