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Mouthwash will not save you from the coronavirus. This is the explanation

Foods that strengthen your immune system 0:48

. – It’s trending on social media and generating excited media reports: Another study shows that an ingredient found in mouthwash can kill the coronavirus. In this case, as fast as 30 seconds.

But mouthwash is unlikely to be a solution to the pandemic, or even someone’s personal protection plan.

That’s because many things can kill a virus on contact, but will not stop the source of the virus.

“Yes. There is some data, and I am not saying it is excellent data, that this substance inactivates or inhibits the replication of the coronavirus, ”Dr. Graham Snyder, associate professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University School of Medicine, told CNN. from Pittsburgh.

Alcohol, chlorhexidine, hydrogen peroxide, and a variety of other compounds can kill viruses on contact or shortly thereafter.

But none of the studies published recently on prepress servers show that they can reduce the risk of contracting or transmitting the virus, Snyder notes.

Within the human body, the virus is constantly replicating in the upper respiratory tract: in the nose, sinuses, throat, bronchial tubes, and lungs.

“It’s still in the nose, in the fluid in the vocal cords and in the airways of the lungs,” said Dr. Donald Milton, who studies virus transmission at the University of Maryland.

“All of them, and especially the vocal cords and the pulmonary airways, are the main sources of the virus in the air,” Milton told CNN.

“You cannot sterilize your mouth”

“When we breathe out, cough, sneeze or whatever, the virus could come from any of those places,” Snyder said.

Although using a mouthwash or some type of mouth cleanser could, in theory, reduce the amount of viruses or bacteria in a person’s mouth for a short period, it is not possible to sterilize the human mouth and any microbes will grow back in a fairly short period of time.

You cannot sterilize your mouth. It will never be totally pathogen free, ”Snyder said.

‘Using these mouthwashes will not substantially stop the disease process. The virus will continue to replicate. ‘

“The same goes for ultraviolet light,” Snyder noted. While ultraviolet light from any source (the sun, a solar lamp, or many of the anti-coronavirus devices that hit the market) can kill the virus on surfaces, it cannot enter the human body and cannot prevent more viruses from landing later. and they can’t stop someone from exhaling more virus seconds after being shot.

Mouthwash or other disinfectants will also do little to protect someone from inhaling viruses, said Dr. Leana Wen, emergency physician and visiting professor of Health Policy and Management at the George Washington University School of Public Health. .

Hand sanitizer in the nose?

«The virus can enter our respiratory system in two ways. You can enter through contact, for example, if you touch a doorknob that has just been touched by another person who has coronavirus, and then touch your nose, mouth or eyes, “Wen said.

“It can also enter by inhalation, when you breathe the same air as someone who is contagious. Washing your mouth or nose will not prevent you from inhaling the virus. But wearing a mask will, as will maintaining a healthy physical distance. “

Wen said he recently had to explain why applying Purell hand sanitizer to the nose, something that sounds uncomfortable and dangerous as well as useless, will not protect anyone from infection.

It’s such a tenuous theory that even Johnson & Johnson, maker of Listerine mouthwash, has explicitly warned consumers against the idea.

“Listerine mouthwash has not been tested against any strain of coronavirus,” the company says on its website.

“Only some Listerine mouthwash formulations contain alcohol, and if it is present, it is only about 20% alcohol. Listerine mouthwash is not designed to be used, nor would it be beneficial as a hand or surface sanitizer. ‘