Ask A Doctor: Should I Ditch My Old Toothbrush If I’ve Had COVID-19?

A UT Health San Antonio physician answers listeners’ questions about their health during the coronavirus pandemic.

By Michael Marks & Caroline CovingtonOctober 12, 2020 11:51 am,

In this installment of Ask a Doctor, UT Health San Antonio physician Dr. Fred Campbell answers more of Texas Standard listeners’ most pressing questions about the coronavirus.

How do I best protect myself against aerosolized spread of COVID-19?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have confirmed that COVID-19 can spread through small particles in the air; those particles can travel farther than 6 feet. But Campbell said aerosolized spread appears to be rare. What’s more likely is contracting the coronavirus through larger respiratory droplets from someone closer than 6 feet away.

Either way, Campbell said masks are the best protection against aerosolized and respiratory droplet spread, as well as socializing outdoors instead of indoors and maintaining social distance.

I have COVID-19: can I continue to spread the virus to myself through my toothbrush? What about UV light sanitizers?

As long as you don’t share your toothbrush with anyone else, Campbell said it’s unlikely you would reinfect yourself with the coronavirus through that toothbrush. And devices that use ultraviolet light to sanitize toothbrush heads could be an added protection.

“The use of UV light is a very, very effective way of neutralizing the COVID-19,” he said.

Should I continue to wear my mask even after the pandemic is over?

Masks can help protect you from other diseases, not just COVID-19. Campbell said wearing masks especially during the winter when flu and other illnesses are especially active could be beneficial for public health.

“I’m all for the idea of at least cold-weather use of masking,” he said.

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