Now that we’re all wearing masks, what if you could enhance it to protect yourself even more from germs? We talked to a doctor who believes a simple, salty solution could make a big difference.
As COVID-19 takes the world by storm, researchers are trying to come up with all kinds of ways to protect us, including having us all wear a face covering. Now, a doctor and founder of a company developing COVID-19 therapeutics suggests taking it to another level.
Dr. Steven Quay shares an idea, you probably haven't heard of in his book, The COVID-19 Survival Guide.
"It's simply spraying a salt solution on the outside of the mask. The night before you're going to wear it the next day, letting it dry. That process alone will, in the studies that were done in this peer-reviewed publication, improve stopping the virus up to a thousand-fold," states Dr. Quay.
Before we made the salty concoction, we asked local researchers their take on it. They had never heard of it and had no comment, so we further questioned Dr. Quay about the person who came up with it, who is a Bio-Mechanics Engineer and has been studying this and suggesting it for years, to fight all types of viruses. Dozens of publishers shared the information, including Nature Journal of Science.
"I've written about 300 publications and I've been quoted about 10,000 times in my own science background, so I can say this is a really nice paper. It's very well done and the science behind it is good. He shows the various steps of the virus destroying influenza virus and destroys the rhinovirus. So, the coronavirus is kind of in between in terms of size. But in terms of sensitivity, it's right in the middle. He hasn't tested it with this coronavirus, but he has tested a series of viruses, and it has actually kept mice from dying with this process, so it's quite a robust study," explains Dr. Quay.
"The science behind it is very much what you'd expect when you have tiny salt crystals in the mask itself. So, when you get an infection, it's not to get the virus, but to get a water droplet of the virus, which will either hit the mask or go through the mask and get into your lungs and into your nose. So the purpose of the salt is that when the tiny droplet gets near the mask, and as it tries to work its way through, it's going to dissolve some of that salt. As it dries, the salt concentration gets higher and higher and higher, until it actually causes the virus to explode. Salt has been a preservative since Biblical days, since 3000 years ago! We're using salt because of the same property and it sort of pulls the water out of viruses and bacteria and destroys them," states Dr. Quay.
The recipe also calls for a few drops of dish soap.
"The coronavirus is a kind of virus, it's called an envelope virus, which means it has a fatty surface. So we know what happens when you're trying to wash dishes and you have a lot of fat, you put soap there and it emulsifies it makes us white liquidy stuff and it takes it away. So it's a two-fold hit on the virus per say, the salt causes it to explode, but a little bit of soap will actually dissolve the membrane and make it even more powerful," says Dr. Quay.
He says you can make the solution the night before, let it dry overnight, and spray all of your masks for the entire week.
"It's stable, it doesn't degrade or wear off. You want to wash your masks like you do your socks, in the washing machine," says Dr. Quay.
Again, we have no proof it works against coronavirus, but might add another layer of protection in the peace-of-mind department.
Here's the recipe:
4 oz. of water
2 tablespoons of salt
1/5 TSP liquid dish soap
1. At room temperature, start stirring the water and SLOWLY add the salt, a little at a time, until both of the tablespoons are added. Wait for it to dissolve. Then repeat. Keep stirring for about 5 minutes. There will be a lot of TINY bubbles that make it look like the salt is not dissolving but as the bubbles rise the water will be clear, starting at the bottom and then going up to the top.
2. After it is completely dissolved add one-fifth of a TEASPOON of kitchen soap. Not very much! Stir slowly but mix well. If you stir too vigorously you will get a bubble, foam head that will be big and messy to deal with. It won't affect the efficacy however.
3. Spray masks at night (only about 3 squirts per mask, don't saturate them.) Let fully dry before wearing the next day.
We made the recipe to see how it would turn out and had better luck doubling the recipe, because the water seemed to evaporate and it wasn't enough to put in a squirt bottle on our first try.
For more information: https://drquay.com/
For the science behind a salty mask: https://www.nature.com/articles/srep39956