Improving Air Quality to Protect From COVID-19 (Part 1)
By now we all know that the main mode of coronavirus transmission is by aerosols and airborne droplets in close proximity. Although most are aware of the importance of wearing protective facemasks, as vaccinations become more widely available and businesses begin to reopen, there also needs to be an emphasis on ventilation and air purification. Vaccinations greatly reduce the chances of contracting the coronavirus, but it is not a 100% guarantee; and unfortunately, there are portions of our population that cannot receive the vaccine, so it’s important to take precautions to protect those vulnerable.
Indoor Air Quality and COVID-19
Indoor environments are at much higher risk of transmitting airborne diseases such as COVID-19. This is because aerosols that are expelled naturally from the nose and mouth while breathing, talking, laughing, coughing, and sneezing are more likely to hang around when there’s no air flow. This is why the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends following a roadmap for assessing indoor air quality and doing as much as possible to improve ventilation. Some of the easiest ways you can improve air flow:
- Turn on exhaust fans in bathrooms for an hour after people visit
- Ensure HVAC systems provide outdoor air ventilation and run them more frequently
- Open windows, aiming for cross-ventilation
- Place fans in windows to further promote air exchange
- Try to gather in larger rooms with fewer people
A recent BMJ article puts it succinctly, “Safe indoor environments are required, not only to protect unvaccinated people and those for whom vaccines fail, but also to deter vaccine-resistant variants or novel airborne threats that may appear at any time.”
Air Quality is the Next Frontier of COVID-19 Protection
While disinfecting common-touch surfaces is important when protecting against COVID-19, air cleaning is more important. Scientists have shown that the virus is capable of lingering in the air for hours on end, even after the droplet source has left the building. It’s of utmost importance to take precautionary measures particularly because mask mandates are starting to lift all across the US.
Some of the most common ways of improving air quality include:
- Increased outdoor air ventilation
- Air filtration, both centralized in HVAC systems and portable units
- Upper room Germicidal UV lighting systems
- Air quality monitoring systems
Not only does having clean air reduce coronavirus transmission risk, it also protects against other respiratory diseases such as the flu, seasonal colds, and potentially future pandemics. Having solid infrastructure for future disease outbreaks is never a bad idea — after all, the year 2020 taught us to expect the unexpected. The last thing you need is to be caught off guard by another novel airborne virus.
In fact, it’s even beneficial to your bottom line in the long-run. According to Science News, “In the United States alone, yearly economic losses from flu total $11.2 billion, and other respiratory viruses cost about $40 billion. COVID-19’s global monthly harm is estimated to be $1 trillion.”
Aftermath Has the Scientific Know-How and Equipment to Properly Purify Your Air
Many industry experts and scientists suggest replacing indoor air 6 times every hour — a task that may not sound easy. We will be the partner that helps you navigate through these processes, ensuring that you and those around you are safe.
Indoor Science, part of Aftermath Environmental Quality Services, is the nationally recognized expert in providing training and consulting in indoor air quality, industrial hygiene, and environmental sciences. Together, we keep people safe from viruses, bacteria, mold, asbestos, radon, and a myriad of other airborne hazards. This level of expertise further enhances Aftermath’s extensive suite of biohazard remediation services, giving you peace of mind so you can focus on your business.
To start protecting yourself and those around you from harmful airborne pathogens, call us at 877-697-3671.
- Your Building Doesn’t Have Enough Ventilation — And What to Do About It!
- Is 6 Feet Enough?
- Preventing COVID-19 Airborne Transmission in Your Facility