Noses usually catch COVID-19 first, so keep them covered with face masks, experts say

Wearing a mask without covering your nose is like applying your first round of sunscreen at the end of a beach day — pointless.

That’s because scientific research has found that the novel coronavirus infects your nose first, using it as an entry point to the rest of your body and as a mucousy hotspot for rapid replication.

So, people who don’t cover their nose with their mask risk exposing their most infectious organ to others, and increase their own chances of contracting COVID-19, the disease the virus causes.

“If the nose is the dominant initial site from which lung infections are seeded, then the widespread use of masks to protect the nasal passages, as well as any therapeutic strategies that reduce virus in the nose, such as nasal irrigation or antiviral nasal sprays, could be beneficial,” Dr. Richard Boucher, the co-senior author of a May study on the topic from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said in a news release.

The researchers of the UNC study found that ACE2 — the protein the coronavirus uses to enter human cells — was more abundant in nasal passages than those down in the respiratory tract.

The results looked like a “striking” gradient from “high infectivity of SARS-CoV-2” to “less infectivity” as researchers examined cells in the nose, throat and lungs.

When the virus becomes “firmly established” in the nose, the pathogen then makes its way to the lungs where it can cause “more serious disease, including potentially fatal pneumonia,” the researchers said.

Source: Sacramento Bee