Coronavirus + COVID-19 Q&A With Dr. Furman of Lyracore Health Alliance: Part 3, Exposure Prevention

Welcome to Part 3 of our multi-part Q&A with Dr. Alexandre Furman, a highly-experienced pulmonary specialist and founder of Lyracore Health Alliance. Dr. Furman has been immersed in the coronavirus pandemic since the onset and took the time to answer some common questions, giving a deeper insight into coronavirus, how it spreads, and how we can protect ourselves. 

In this blog series, Dr. Furman will help explain what this virus is, what it does, what are the known complications of the infection, recent evidence, and research-based available treatments, as well as discussions of differences of immediate effects of the virus versus “early-late” complications and late complications of the viral infection, as well as possible roads to recovery.

If you haven’t already, don’t miss Part 1 and Part 2.

Please note that information and research rapidly change as we gain more experience with this virus and, while we endeavor to keep the information on this page up-to-date, the current content is based on what was known in September of 2020. Any and all of the following information is based on available published scientific research as well as general publications in regards to this novel virus. 

How can I prevent exposure?

A few concepts and techniques have been proposed and enacted to promote a faster grasp of control of infection. These include but not limited to 

  • Social distancing
  • Personal spread prophylaxis (masking)
  • Enhanced hygiene methods 
  • Surface exposure awareness.

Social Distancing

This concept and technique is aimed at separating individuals engaged in some form of social co-interaction and introducing an increase in the physical distance between interacting individuals to approximately 6 feet (or 2 meters) in every direction. 

This limits physical contact between possibly infected individuals that are presumably without symptoms of the disease and the rest of the population who are engaged with them in a social activity that’s in relatively close proximity.

The scientific basis for this principle can be found in Evaluating the Effectiveness of Social Distancing article from August 2020’s Emergency Infectious Diseases.

Personal Spread Prophylaxis (Masking)

Masking works incredibly well, primarily for protecting other individuals from oneself and especially in a case where one person is infected and not aware due to lack of symptoms.

Face coverings (including cloth and surgical masks) are highly effective at blocking infected droplets from exiting the mouth or nose. A scientific study that demonstrates this principle can be found here.

In the case of concern of droplets traveling farther than 6 feet or of airborne spread of the virus, wearing a mask is extremely effective in preventing both. 

There is now additional scientific evidence that wearing a mask also provides some level of protection to the wearer as well. 

Finally, as I am not aware of credible scientific evidence suggesting that masks are harmful to breathing, universal masking is a win-win for the prevention of COVID-19 infection spread and thus an excellent way to curb the pandemic. 

Enhanced Hygiene Methods

Anyone may become infected when they touch a surface that has virus particles on it and then touches their own mouth, nose, or eyes. Frequent and enhanced hand hygiene is one of the best weapons in the war between human and contagious diseases. 

The following are tested and proven methods to assist in our plight concur the pandemic:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, scrubbing for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Don’t touch your face. This one requires continuous conscious effort since an average person touches their face about 23 times per hour! Nearly 50% of the time, they’re touching their mouth, eyes, or nose — the same mucosal surfaces that COVID-19 prefers to use as the entrance to the human body.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with the inside of your elbow or upper arm. 
  • Avoid usual greeting gestures and comradery expressions such as handshakes, fist bumps, elbow bumps, hugs, and high-fives. 
  • And almost, most importantly, stay home if you are feeling sick, and seek appropriate medical guidance. Our team can help schedule an interactive televisit with one of our qualified medical providers quickly and safely from the comfort of your own home. 

Surface Exposure Awareness

This principle refers to the fact that any surface around us, from pens and paper, to steering wheels and gas tank covers, to window sills and doorknobs, to toilet seats and sink levers, as well as many others, are all potential carriers of disease and should be considered and treated as “infected” unless cleaned properly with an approved virucidal solution within a reasonable period of time. 

Since we’re not usually able to witness the actual act of cleaning of such surfaces, unless personally performed, all surface contact should be followed by all the enhanced hygiene methods listed above.

We’re Here To Help

If you suffer from a preexisting pulmonary condition, such as allergies, asthma or COPD, please reach out to our office to learn how we can help address your symptoms and create a plan. Stress and anxiety are normal in the face of a global pandemic, but you aren’t alone – we are here to help. To schedule an appointment with our qualified medical providers, including telemedicine appointments, please click here.

Coronavirus + COVID-19 Q&A With Dr. Furman of Lyracore Health Alliance: Part 2, Exposure & Symptoms

Welcome to part 2 of our multi-part Q&A with Dr. Alexandre Furman, a highly-experienced pulmonary specialist and founder of Lyracore Health Alliance. Dr. Furman has been immersed in the coronavirus pandemic since the onset and took the time to answer some common questions, giving a deeper insight into coronavirus, how it spreads, and how we can protect ourselves. 

In this blog series, Dr. Furman will help explain what this virus is, what it does, what are the known complications of the infection, recent evidence, and research-based available treatments, as well as discussions of differences of immediate effects of the virus versus “early-late” complications and late complications of the viral infection, as well as possible roads to recovery.

If you haven’t read Part 1, catch up here

Please note that information and research rapidly change as we gain more experience with this virus and, while we endeavor to keep the information on this page up-to-date, the current content is based on what was known in September of 2020. Any and all of the following information is based on available published scientific research as well as general publications in regards to this novel virus. 

How are we commonly exposed to SARS-CoV-2?

Many mechanisms of exposure have been proposed over the past few months. However, the most common exposure mechanism remains direct contact with an individual with current infection, symptomatic, or asymptomatic (without any symptoms).

Direct exposure is usually in the form of direct contact with the infected person’s mucous membranes, such as through kissing, coughing, sneezing, or otherwise touching mucous membranes of the infected individual. 

Exposure within your own environment is known to occur as well; for example, contact with a surface upon which an infected individual has sneezed or has been in contact with has been documented.  

Airborne transmission, such as presents in well-known infective entities such as tuberculosis, has been suspected and should be avoided if possible. The presence of the virus in the stool samples and urine samples has been reported — however, currently, such transmission is not been fully understood.

For the full list of possible mechanisms, please refer to the Centers for Disease Control website.

What should you do if you suspect you have been exposed?

This is a great question — and a very common one! If you suspect that you have had possible exposure to an individual with suspected and or proven infection, you should quarantine yourself immediately and contact your licensed medical provider for further instructions. You do not need to go to your doctor’s office or the emergency room unless you have been advised to do so, as you could risk infecting others and may not need in-person medical attention.

We’re Here To Help

If you suffer from a preexisting pulmonary condition, such as allergies, asthma, or COPD, please reach out to our office to learn how we can help address your symptoms and create a plan. Stress and anxiety are normal in the face of a global pandemic, but you aren’t alone – we are here to help. To schedule an appointment with our qualified medical providers, including telemedicine appointments, please click here.

Coronavirus + COVID-19 Q&A With Dr. Furman of Lyracore Health Alliance: Part 1

A highly-experienced pulmonary specialist, Dr. Furman has been immersed in the coronavirus pandemic since day 1. Here he answers some common questions and gives a deeper insight into coronavirus, how it spreads and how we can protect ourselves. In this blog series, Dr. Furman will help explain what this virus is, what it does, what are the known complications of the infection, recent evidence and research-based available treatments, as well as discussions of differences of immediate effects of the virus versus “early-late” complications and late complications of the viral infection, as well as possible roads to recovery.

Please note that information and research rapidly changes as we gain more experience with this virus and, while we endeavor to keep the information on this page up-to-date, the current content is based on what was known in September of 2020. Any and all of the following information is based on available published scientific research as well as general publications in regards to this novel virus. 

What exactly is COVID-19 and how does it relate to the coronavirus?

COVID-19 is the infection caused by SARS-CoV-2, a novel type of the previously well-known family of Corona Viridae viruses. These viruses are responsible for the majority of upper respiratory infections in humans. This novel type of the virus has unfortunately wreaked havoc across the world and caused morbidity and mortality over the past few months. 

What are the signs of coronavirus infection?

Not surprisingly, as with any viral infection in any human being, the most common signs of infection include:

  • malaise (feeling unwell)
  • coryza (nasal congestion)
  • febrile illness (elevated temperature which, in some individuals can reach upwards of 105-106 Fahrenheit)
  • chest pain
  • progressive shortness of breath, especially with activity
  • stomach discomfort, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • anosmia (loss of ability to smell)
  • conjunctivitis (reddening of the eye)
  • neurological and psychiatric symptoms, which may include but are not limited to migraines as well as personality changes, irritability, frank delirium (abnormal reactions to external stimulus), frank psychosis, and some others.

As you can see, all these symptoms are generally nonspecific and can be associated with other viral and bacterial infections as well as other non-infectious ailments and maladies and a wide range of true psychiatric disorders in any human being.

If any of these signs and symptoms of the disease appear in any individual, such individual is warranted to be evaluated by a licensed medical provider to further assess the need for testing and close clinical follow-up. 

We’re Here To Help

If you suffer from a preexisting pulmonary condition, such as allergies, asthma, or COPD, please reach out to our office to learn how we can help address your symptoms and create a plan. Stress and anxiety are normal in the face of a global pandemic, but you aren’t alone – we are here to help. To schedule an appointment with our qualified medical providers, including telemedicine appointments, please click here.

The Link Between Cleaning Products & Lung Health

The Link Between Cleaning Products & Lung Health

Are our cleaning products harming our lungs? That’s what Force of Nature, the creators of a non-toxic cleaning system that makes an EPA-registered disinfectant, wanted to know. They reached out to our own Dr. Alexandre M. Furman to find out how cleaning products affect our lungs, especially those with chronic conditions like asthma, allergies, and COPD. Here’s what Dr. Furman had to say on this important issue and the simple steps you can take to protect your lungs and airways.

What You Need To Know About Cleaning Chemicals & Lung Health

The link between cleaning chemicals and lung health has been in the news since a recent study by the American Thoracic Society’s American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine found that lung function declined at a greater rate in women who had been exposed to high levels of spray cleaning chemicals over time, as compared to women who had not. Women who worked as professional cleaners saw the greatest decline over the course of the study, but women who used spray cleaners once per week also saw a greater decline than usual.

In an otherwise healthy individual, the level of exposure may be directly linked to the severity of their decline and the symptoms they experience. “For those patients with consistent and prolonged exposure due to professional obligations, such as cleaning personnel and chemical industry workers, such exposure may present a significant hazard to lung and general health in the form of direct lung injuries, allergic-type reactions, reactive airway symptoms, among others,” explains Dr. Furman. However, in patients with chronic conditions, the risks of exposure to these chemicals are higher.

Allergies, Asthma and Chronic Conditions

If you or someone in your family lives with a chronic respiratory condition like asthma, allergies or COPD, it’s important to avoid exposure to chemical cleaning products. 

“Patients with chronic lung conditions such as asthma and COPD, as well as predisposing conditions such as allergic rhinitis or sinusitis, for example, are at a significantly higher risk of suffering sudden worsening of the symptoms (called Exacerbations) and requiring additional urgent therapies upon exposure to harmful chemical substances,” Dr. Furman explains. 

“Lung function preservation is one of the most important goals in the treatment of patients with chronic lung diseases. It’s well known that the rate of Exacerbations directly affects the rate of lung function deterioration, which may lead to eventual demise; Therefore, those living with COPD and asthma, etc, should avoid exposure to chemicals, if possible, and protect themselves in unavoidable situations with barrier devices, such as respirator or mask.”

5 Tips For Safer Cleaning

Keeping your house clean and free of irritants like dust and mold are some of the top tips for allergy and asthma sufferers, which means you may be using more (or harsher) cleaning products than necessary in an attempt to reduce triggers. Here are some quick tips to help you avoid overexposure.

1. Decrease the number of chemicals you use.

Always use the gentlest products possible when cleaning. For example, using a chemical-free option, like warm water or Force of Nature, to wipe a dusty surface exposes you to zero harmful toxins while effectively eliminating a potential allergy trigger from your home.

2. Avoid caustic spray products.

Spray products push chemicals into the air for you to inhale, so take particular care when selecting them and avoid harsh products like air fresheners, oven cleaners, and fabric softeners. Avoiding fragranced products is our number one tip for reducing your exposure to harmful chemicals. Use databases like the Environmental Working Group’s Guide To Healthy Cleaning to find products that are safer to use in your home. 

3. Ventilate the area you are cleaning.

Always use products in a ventilated area to reduce the amount inhaled into your respiratory system.

4. Don’t mix products.

Products like bleach and ammonia are toxic on their own but mixed they can trigger a dangerous chemical reaction. If you or a family member are injured by or accidentally ingest a cleaning product, call Poison Control Center toll-free at 1-800-222-1222 as even products that are labeled “natural” can contain chemicals that are unsafe in high doses or if ingested.

5. Keep your specialist in the loop.

If you live with a chronic condition like asthma or allergies, your specialist can help you get ahead of these concerns. “Patients should discuss their exposure risks with the specialist and come up with specific plans for barrier methods and avoidance techniques as well as awareness of symptoms of exacerbations of any cause and steps to address such symptoms as soon as possible,” states Dr. Furman.

 

About Dr. Furman

Dr. Alexandre M. Furman, M.D., FCCP, FCCM, launched Lyracore Health Alliance in order to practice medicine the way he believes it should be practiced: with compassionate communication and leading-edge research and techniques. His experienced team at Lyracore Health Alliance specializes in both General and Interventional Pulmonary Services, providing accessible, high-quality medical care with highly specialized interventional pulmonary and critical care services in Tampa, Florida.

 

Dr. Furman was interviewed for his medical opinion and does not officially endorse any products mentioned in this interview.

Smoking and vaping may be unhealthy and addictive and pose health risk to lung

Vaping & Your Lung Health: What You Need To Know

E-cigarettes may seem safer, but a recent outbreak in lung injury associated with their use suggest they are potentially damaging to our lungs. The CDC has released concerning data linking certain compounds used in e-cigarettes (also known as vaping) products to lung injury and even death. While the CDC is still working to identify and define the risk factors associated with vaping, here’s what we know (and what we still don’t know) about the connection between vaping and lung injury.READ MORE

Winter lung health

What To Do (And What Not To Do!) For Lung Health This Winter

From picnics and barbecues to long, sunny days, there are a lot of things to miss about warm weather during the winter months – but happy, healthy lungs shouldn’t be one of them! If you feel like the cold winter air is harder on your lungs, you’re not alone. Cold air tends to be drier air, which is irritating to our respiratory system, especially for those who live with chronic conditions like asthma, bronchitis, allergies, and COPD. Here are our top do’s and don’ts for keeping your lungs healthy this winter. 

READ MORE

Lung-friendly foods

Lung-Friendly Foods

Exercise, quitting smoking, and following your treatment plan are all great ways to keep your lungs healthy, but did you know your diet can have an impact on your lung health? Certain foods have been shown to help support the health of your respiratory system. Here are some top tips for a lung-friendly diet.

READ MORE

Fall Allergies

When we think of allergies, most of us think of the itchy eyes and sneezes that come with the appearance of pollen in the early spring. The fall season is a heavy allergy season as well, with about 75% of spring allergy sufferers finding they are experiencing symptoms again! Here are the top three Fall allergy triggers and how you can get help identifying, diagnosing and treating them. 

READ MORE

Interventional pulmonologists

What is Interventional Pulmonology?

If you have a breathing condition like asthma, allergies, or a sleep condition, your primary care doctor may have recommended that you see an interventional pulmonologist to help you diagnose and treat your condition. So, what is interventional pulmonology?

Interventional pulmonology is an emerging field in pulmonary medicine and is an advanced subspecialty of pulmonology (the treatment of pulmonary and thoracic diseases).

READ MORE

Sleep Disorders

What Are Sleep Disorders?

Sleep disorders are a change in the way you sleep, such as changes in your sleep-wake cycles, difficulty breathing, feeling sleepy during the day or having a hard time falling or staying asleep. Sleep is critical to the proper functioning of our bodies’ systems, so any deterioration of sleep quality can lead to negative health effects and even put us in danger. For example, sleep deprivation can affect our ability to drive or operate machinery safely. Sleep disorders can also be grouped according to behaviors, problems with your natural sleep-wake cycles, breathing problems, difficulty sleeping or how sleepy you feel during the day.

READ MORE