Cold and flu viruses pass through the mucous membranes of the airways into the body. Whenever we cough, sneeze, speak or even just breathe out, aerosol droplets are released into the environment. These aerosols also contain viruses or bacteria that can be transmitted by this route.
1. Pfeifer M et al.: Position Paper for the State-of-the-Art Application of Respiratory Support in Patients with COVID-19 (https://pneumologie.de/fileadmin/user_upload/COVID-19/20200417_DGP_Pp_Covid-19_Respiratory_Support_engl.pdf)
2. Edwards, D. A. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004; vol 101, no 50: 17383 -88
3.Jennifer Fiegel, Robert Clarke, und David A. Edwards, „Airborne Infectious Disease and the Suppression of Pulmonary Bioaerosols“, Drug Discovery Today 11, Nr. 1–2 (Januar 2006): 51–57, https://doi.org/10.1016/S1359-6446(05)03687-1.
“Respiratory viruses” attack the mucous membranes of the airways, where they penetrate the cells and use them to reproduce. This then allows the virus to spread throughout the airways. The mucous membranes in the airways have a self-cleaning mechanism to protect them from infection (mucociliary clearance): Viruses and other particles stick to the layer of mucus. The cilia (fine hair-like structures) whip back and forth to drive these away. Environmental factors such as dry air from central heating can affect mucociliary clearance. In patients with chronic respiratory diseases they can be permanently damaged. This makes the airways more susceptible. An isotonic saline solution has the same salt content as the fluids in the body. If inhaled with a suitable nebulizer device, it reaches the mucous membranes of the airways directly and keeps them moist. This preserves mucociliary clearance and supports the natural barrier function of the mucous membranes.
The inhalation of saline solution over a bowl of steaming water is a long-established misconception: Salt has a much higher boiling temperature and is left behind in the bowl as the water evaporates. This means that inhaling with your head over a bowl is ineffective. All it does is puttin the patient at risk of scalding himself.4
4. Little et al., Effectiveness of steam inhalation and nasal irrigation for chronic or recurrent sinus symptoms in primary care: a pragmatic randomized controlled trial, CMAJ September 20, 2016 188 (13) 940-949
All PARI nebulisers can be easily boiled after a treatment. This means safe and hygienic cleaning without chemical disinfectants, which are not necessarily harmless to use in private households.5
5. Chang A et al. Cleaning and disinfectant chemical exposures and temporal associations with COVID-19 — National Poison Data System, United States, January 1, 2020–March 31, 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020 Apr 24; 69:496. (https://doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6916e1)
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