UV light explained: What is it and how can it kill COVID-19?
The term UV light has been thrown around more times than we can remember during this pandemic. After all, many scientists are saying that UV light may be a good solution to one of the pressing issues concerning the virus.
But what is UV light and can it really kill COVID-19? In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know!
What is UV light?
UV light stands for ultraviolet light, which is a type of electromagnetic radiation that is present in many light sources. This includes sunlight, the most abundant natural source of UV light.
That said, UV light only makes up about 10% of sunlight and only one-third of it reaches the ground. The rest doesn’t manage to penetrate the atmosphere hard enough to reach us. Of the one-third that does, 95% of it is UVA while 5% is UVB.
When it comes to artificial sources, UV light is most commonly found in black lights and tanning booths. It is also found in halogen lights, curing lamps, mercury vapor lamps, fluorescent and incandescent lights, some laser types, and more importantly in today’s current situation, germicidal lamps.
How can it kill COVID-19?
Right now, it’s important to note that all we have are theories since nothing’s certain yet. However, UV light has always been known as an effective disinfectant, often used to sterilize various things, from hospital equipment and even to drinking water.
In a study conducted by researchers from the University of Minnesota and Penn State, it was found that high levels of UV light can actually kill the virus. And based on the results of the study, a handheld device that emits high-intensity UV rays might be enough to do the job.
The problem? Currently, there are no good UV conductors that would match this job description.
“You have to ensure a sufficient UV light dose to kill all the viruses,” says researcher Roman Engel-Herbert, who works as an associate professor of materials science, physics and chemistry at Penn State. “This means you need a high-performance UV LED emitting a high intensity of UV light, which is currently limited by the transparent electrode material being used.”
Downsides of using UV light
Unfortunately, the downsides of using UV light are too many and too intense to ignore. The main downside is the fact that UV rays are a known carcinogen— everything in excess can be harmful. On the bright side, there’s breakthrough technologies like SolTech’s UVTR™ patented technologies, which block some of the most harmful UV rays while still allowing users to receive a controlled amount of UV rays and enjoy the sun and its benefits.
According to several studies, too much UV exposure can cause irreparable damage to living things. In fact, they are linked to different kinds of cancers, most notably skin cancer. While you can’t get skin cancer just by getting sunburned over the summer, do keep in mind that the damage from UV exposure can add up. This means that repeated exposure will greatly heighten your risk of developing skin cancer in your later years.
UV light against COVID-19
As mentioned above, there are no natural solutions yet to the COVID-19 problem at hand, but we’re certainly glad that we seem to be going in the right direction. Hopefully, in the next few months, we’ll see a marked improvement.
Now you know how UV light can possibly help in dealing with this pandemic. Make sure to drink lots of water, sleep at least 8 hours a night, and get enough sun exposure to boost your immune system! Wear adequate protection and balance your sun exposure.