The vast majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs indoors, mainly through inhalation of particles in the air that contain the coronavirus. Despite the obvious risks that come from inside, small household gatherings are driving much of the recent surge in cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The best way to prevent the virus from spreading through a household is to keep infected people away. However, this is difficult to do when an estimated 40% of cases are asymptomatic and asymptomatic people can still transmit the coronavirus to others. Next, the safest thing to do is to chat outside. If you can’t, there are some steps you can take to reduce the risk of the coronavirus spreading.
Always wear masks first – and most importantly -, make sure everyone is at least 10 feet away from other people, and don’t spend too much time indoors. However, in addition to these precautions, it can also be helpful to make sure that the air inside is as clean as possible. I’m an indoor air quality researcher studying how to reduce the transmission of infectious diseases in the air. Using increased ventilation or operating an appropriately sized air filter or filter can add an extra layer of protection.
A safer home is one in which a lot of outside air is constantly replacing the stale inside air.
Houses are usually ventilated through open windows or doors, or through air entering through accidental openings and cracks in the building itself. A typical air exchange rate for a house is 0. 5 air changes per hour. Because of the intricate way air moves, it takes about two hours to replace two-thirds of the air in an average home and about 6 hours to replace everything.
This slow air exchange is not good when you want to limit the spread of a virus in the air. The higher the ventilation rate, the better – so how much fresh air is ideal? While the exact exchange rate will depend on the size of a room, a 10 by 10 foot room with 3 to 4 people should have at least 3 air changes per hour. This should be higher in a pandemic, and the World Health Organization recently recommended 6 air changes per hour.
There is no need to know the exact air exchange rate for your home. just know that more is better. Fortunately, increasing the ventilation of a house or apartment is easy.
Open as many windows as you can – the bigger the opening, the better. Open doors to the outside. Keep the exhaust fans running in your bathroom and over the stove – but only do so if the exhausts are going outside and you also have a window or door open. In addition, you can place fans in open windows and blow out the indoor air to increase the airflow even further.
I live in Colorado and the winter cold is here. I still think it’s worth opening windows, but I only open them about halfway and turn on the heaters in my house. It wastes energy, but I keep the time to a minimum and once the visitors leave I keep the windows open for at least an hour to fully ventilate the house.
If you are concerned that your home’s ventilation is still too low, air filtration can provide another level of security. Similar to how an N95 mask works, through a filter with small openings in your home, air can capture particles in the air that could contain the coronavirus.
There are two ways to filter air in a home: using a built-in system – such as a. B.. central heating – or with the help of stand-alone air purifiers.
In my home, we use both air purifiers and our heating system to filter the air. If you have central heating, make sure your stove filter has a minimum efficiency (MERV) of at least 11. This value describes how effectively a filter removes particles and impurities from the circulating air. A MERV 8 filter is standard on most ovens, and many ovens cannot operate with a more efficient filter. So check your filter and ask a technician before replacing it. However, a MERV 8 filter is better than no filtration at all.
You can also use a stand-alone air filter to remove particulates from the air. How effective they are, however, depends on the size of the room. The larger the room, the more air needs to be cleaned, and single cleaners are just as powerful. My home is an open floor plan so I can’t use my air filter in the main living area, but it can be helpful in bedrooms or other smaller enclosed spaces. If you are looking to buy an air filter, I worked with some colleagues at Harvard to develop a tool that can help you determine how well an air filter performs for different room sizes.
And don’t forget to consider how effective an air filter’s filter is. Your best option is a cleaner that uses a high efficiency particulate air filter (HEPA) as it will remove more than 99%. 97% of all particle sizes.
If you decide to share your home with others in the months to come, keep in mind that it is by far the safest thing to be outside. However, if you need to be indoors, shorten the length of time your guests stay, wear masks and social distance at all times. In addition to these precautions, you can further reduce the chance of the coronavirus spreading by keeping airflow high by opening windows as wide as possible, using exhaust fans to get more air into your home, and using air filters and filters. – The conversation | Rappler. com
This article is republished by The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
Coronavirus, Indoor Air Quality, Air Transmission, Purification, Earth’s Atmosphere
World News – UK – Keeping indoor air clean may reduce the likelihood of the coronavirus spreading
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