Over the last year, our vocabulary has grown to include many medical and viral terms. We now converse freely about airborne transmission and discuss the different variants of viral strains that traverse the globe.
One such term is “viral load.” What is a viral load? Should viral load be something that concerns you in your home? What can we learn about viral loads that we can apply to our safety in our homes on a daily basis?
Here’s what you need to know.
What is a “viral load”?
Let’s talk about what a viral load is in the context of your safety at home. Viral load is a measure of the amount of viral matter in a person’s bloodstream. Typically, people will measure viral load in terms of the number of discrete viral particles in volumes of blood—e.g., number of viral particles per milliliter.
How much of a viral load you need in your system before exhibiting symptoms or becoming contagious depends on the specific strain of the virus in question—along with other more individual factors, such as the strength of your immune system. You can also use relative viral loads over time to determine whether an infection for a specific person or population is progressing. For example, if your viral load, measured through a blood test, increases over the course of a month, you’re probably coming down with that specific virus, and you can expect worsening symptoms. (Conversely, lessening viral loads probably means that you’re convalescing quite nicely.)
How can you calculate the viral load in your home?
Your home’s specific viral load is technically referred to as its level of fomite transmission—another scientific term that has stepped into the limelight this last year.
Fomite transmission means “the transmission of infectious diseases by objects” or, in even more detail, how likely a disease is to be transmitted by the levels of germs remaining on objects or surfaces. For example, cross-contamination through dirty cutting boards and cold viruses on high-traffic doorknobs are both examples of fomite transmission.
There are methods for calculating the specific levels of fomite transmission likely on your high-touch surfaces, depending largely on how viral matter sheds in your home (e.g., do you cough directly on your surfaces?) and how long viral matter is left to congregate and grow. However, these methods largely require access to a lab. For practical purposes, it’s a good idea to spend most of our energy on reducing the viral populations where we live and breathe.
How can you reduce the viral load in your living areas?
We spend a lot of our time inside; according to the EPA, the average American spends 93% of their lifetime indoors. Cleaning and disinfecting our most frequently-used indoor environments should, therefore, have a large impact on the amount of viral load we routinely take on.
Taking care to clean off your countertops, replace your sponges and decontaminate your cutting boards will go a long way to reduce fomite transmission. Bacteria and viruses are surprisingly hardy and can remain present in even small amounts of food residue for a long time. Thoroughly cleaning your high-touch surfaces regularly and washing your hands frequently is your best strategy for reducing fomite spread in your home.
If you feel like leveling up your defense, applying an antimicrobial surface coating that will reliably continue to kill germs and viruses over an extended period (e.g., a ‘mechanical kill’) will work around the clock to keep you safe.
Manage Viral Matter in Your Home with Strategic, Hard-Working Cleaning Products
Fortunately, the solution is simple. If you want to keep yourself and your loved ones safe, establishing a regular cleaning routine is the best way to go. Make sure that you target a comprehensive clean each time: You want to clean, disinfect and apply an antimicrobial coating to ensure that viral matter cannot promulgate successfully on your high-touch surfaces. The MicroGold® All-Purpose Cleaner is a perfect option that cleans and disinfects as a quick and convenient daily solution. As an added bonus, the EPA-approved All-Purpose Cleaner kills the virus that causes COVID-19 (SARS-Related Coronavirus 2) in 30 seconds! It’s the fastest kill time by any product available!