Covid-19 and Pollution

I had symptoms of Covid right at the start of the pandemic, in March 2020, and I still thought it might be the flu, but the doubts vanished the day I nearly died.

I went to bed early, after drinking tea and steaming with water and salt. According to studies published at that time, autopsies of Covid’s first victims showed solidified secretions around the lungs, and these measures were shown to be effective precisely because they prevented this solidification.

I slept well, calm knowing I could stay in bed later, but around 6.00 am I jumped up, lungs tight, and it wasn’t until after four or five breaths that I managed to breathe. In desperation I ran to the kitchen, afraid of losing my breath again, realizing that if that happened no one would be able to help me because, even if I had time to go to a hospital (which I couldn’t), a fan wouldn’t be able to force the air entering the lungs. The only way I can describe the state of my lungs, as perceived by a layperson, is to establish an analogy with a comb completely enveloped in honey.  

At that moment I felt intuitively that I should do the vaporization. In fact, I didn’t see any other alternatives. Hands shaking, I boiled water in the electric coffeemaker, poured it into the sink, and as soon as I took the first breaths something happened that had never happened before: I felt my lungs sway as if they were a solid block. I got so scared that I decided to stop, afraid I was causing some internal structural damage. If I made this decision in a context of life and death, in which the long term is always overlooked for survival, two things are clear: the first is that the action of the steam was very strong and the second is that, after two or three breaths, he already knew instinctively that he was out of harm’s way.     

Since that time, I’ve heard several doctors advise against the use of vaporization, but when I hear them, the passage comes to mind about the man born blind whom Jesus healed, who said: “If he’s a sinner, I don’t know; all I know is that I was blind and now I see!”

Another thing that helped me was the sun. The spring of 2020 in London was the best in 50 years and, on days when I couldn’t stop the cough with anything, I just had to get direct sunlight and it was holy medicine.

And so, at the end of August, seeing the days getting shorter and knowing what was to come, I decided not to face the second wave in England. Around that time, studies from Harvard also began to appear that established a direct relationship between continued exposure to air pollution and the increase in the number of fatalities from Covid. Now if I couldn’t go back and erase the pollution I’d been exposed to for the past 20 years in England, I could at least change the present. I returned to Portugal.

With the problem of air pollution resolved (and if you’ve read my previous post, you already know about my saga with indoor pollution) we now have to consolidate the efforts carried out here at home over the last few years. The first measure consisted of reinforcing the number of plants indoors. I was inspired by Kamal Meattle and his Ted Talk “How to grow fresh air” and bought Saint-Jorge’s swords for the bedrooms and areca palms and money plants for the living room. This way I ensured constant production of oxygen night and day.

But a careful selection of plants was not enough, as soil moisture can prove counterproductive due to the risk of mold. I solved this problem by watering the plants only when they wilt. Saint-Jorge swords do not even need to be watered as they absorb moisture from the air. But to play it safe, I keep the house always airy and invest in an air purifier that, among other things, also fights mold.

And so far, thank God, we’ve been fine. Measures to combat indoor pollution are a good thing to do and, therefore, I will return to this subject, namely the choice of an air purifier, in one of the following posts.

Tip 2: Consider purchasing plants and an air purifier

Categories:Interior Design

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