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Protecting our lungs against the omicron variant | Wear The Gown

Experts say hydrating your upper airways is key.

SAN ANTONIO — By now, most of us know that the original strain of COVID attacks the lungs. But, is that the case with the omicron variant?

Staying healthy is one of the best ways to defend ourselves against an airborne infection like the coronavirus, particularly through hydration. That is also the case when comes to the respiratory system. 

Just like previous forms of COVID, omicron goes after the respiratory system, including the lungs. 

Dr. David Edwards, FEND inventor, aerosol scientist, and longstanding Harvard University Professor told us, "It enters our respiratory system through droplets that are emerging from hosts who are around us. And these little droplets, we call them respiratory droplets, and they are generally actually smaller than a micron." 

The omicron droplets enter the respiratory system and land in our upper airways, including the nose, trachea, larynx and main bronchial tubes. 

Normally mucus carries the particles back into the mouth and we swallow them. But, if our upper airways are dried out and the particles don't get caught, we inhale them again, and that can cause bigger problems. 

Dr. Edwards added, "At this point, the clearance works less effectively and the infection can get back in the air and can then travel deeper into our lungs."  

Another problem with omicron remains the unknown future. 

Dr. Barry Lutz, the Co-Founder & Chief Scientific Officer at Anavasi Diagnostics said, "We do know that that past types of COVID have had lingering effects -- long COVID. Certainly as an individual, that's a problem that we should avoid." 

That's why both Dr. Edwards and Lutz say getting tested and vaccinated is still so important. 

"We would like to keep case rates down now. I mean, they're through the roof currently, even though it's less severe. Hospitals are really starting to struggle to keep up, and that's that's a big problem," Lutz said.

Dr. Edwards said getting a home humidifier to keep our airways moist isn't a bad idea, as long as you make sure the water is clean, and the air around it is clean too.

For more information on family health call (210) 358-3045. You can also find more Wear The Gown stories here.

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