March 19, 2020

COVID-19 Precautions to Reduce Risk of Transmission

There are well-known basic protective measures to prevent spread of viral illnesses like COVID-19 including washing hands, stay home, avoid touching your face, maintain social distancing, cleaning surfaces routinely, etc. However, there are also some interesting reports of other interventions that may provide further protection that one may not know about.

1) Published back in 2004, researchers noted that daily saline nasal spray (plain old saltwater) use appears to significantly prevent symptoms of the common cold (which includes coronaviruses) in a population of otherwise healthy adults [link]. Needless to say, one should avoid sharing the same saline nasal spray bottle.

2) More recently in 2020, researchers have reported that high temperatures and high humidity appear to decrease transmission of COVID-19. This was based on transmission rates documented in different Chinese cities under different weather conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic [link]. This would also make sense from observational data that viral illnesses are worse during the dry winter months compared to the humid summer months in the United States and elsewhere. It may behoove to raise home/office temperatures and use active humidification based on this data.

3) Also, always park your car under the sun. Research suggests that rapid inactivation of COVID-19 occurs at heated temperatures; surfaces "were converted to be non-infectious after 90-, 60- and 30-min exposure at 56 degrees Celsius, at 67 degrees Celsius, and at 75 degrees Celsius, respectively." 75 degrees Celsius is 167 degrees F, a temperature which certainly occurs if not even higher when a car is parked under the sun for a prolonged period of time. [link]

As more research appears describing "simple" things anyone can do at home to help prevent viral diseases spread... I will add to this blog post over time.

A daily nasal spray with saline prevents symptoms of rhinitis. Acta Otolaryngol. 2004 Nov;124(9):1059-62.

High Temperature and High Humidity Reduce the Transmission of COVID-19 (March 9, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1. New England Journal of Medicine. March 17, 2020.

Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids. He is also the chief medical officer of O2Labz, a medical and scientific 3D animation company.

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