The Importance of Indoor Air Quality and the Best Way to Care for it
PHOENIX, Sept. 23, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- We’ve read the facts and we’re all in. After you finish this article it will be hard not to immediately start to wonder about your personal indoor air quality. Whether we like it or not, the places we spend the bulk of our days are capable of spreading airborne contagions, including the Sars-CoV-2 virus, better known as COVID-19. Low circulation, air stagnation and mixing of infected particles are symptoms of inadequate indoor air quality. Be it at home, in your office or at your child’s school - the air we share plays a huge factor in both our own and our greater community’s health.
The duo of portable HEPA filters and increased air circulation is so effective that the US government is offering schools money to upgrade and improve their existing HVAC systems. This includes adding portable HEPA air filtration systems to classrooms. Simply opening up the windows is a great way to increase ventilation and can even increase test scores in students. Though this quick fix may not always be an option when presented with extreme weather or outdoor air quality warnings.
Fortunately, the information we have access to regarding the virus has not only increased but has exponentially more scientific backing compared to last year. With new knowledge comes an increased awareness about the dangers of poor air quality. Particularly regarding indoor air movement: infected aerosol particles quickly become widely spread and well mixed with clean air throughout an enclosed space. As such, if someone is sick at school or work, or at a social engagement, they can just as easily infect someone standing right next to them as someone on the opposite side of the room. The mix risk increases exponentially if that person is engaging in high spreading activities, like singing or shouting.
These same principles and risks of widespread exposure apply to our children at school. One unwell child, no matter where they sit, can put their entire class at risk of contracting any airborne respiratory illness. Currently many schools use extended close contact as a determining factor in deciding who to send home to quarantine alongside their Covid-19 positive peers. When properly factoring in particle movement in closed spaces (without proper air filtration measures, of course) “extended close contact” to the infected student becomes irrelevant. The entire class has already been exposed.
So what can we do? First we need to understand the nature of aerosol particles indoors. We know that the exhaled, hot air follows the laws of physics and naturally rises above the cooler, room air. We know that this contaminated exhaled air, if not properly filtered or replaced with fresh air, eventually mixes with all remaining clean room air. Everyone recognizes how conspicuous the scent of cigarette smoke is. If a single person is smoking in a room, the entire party is going to smell it. Unfortunately, the same rule applies to aerosol particles exhaled from a sick person’s lungs. Everyone gets secondhand exposure regardless of their proximity to the source.
There is a bright side. The recent advancements in High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filtration alongside universal masking creates an environment that can reduce airborne transmission rates by up to 90%. That being said, not all air filters meet the requirements to be a HEPA filter. By definition a HEPA filter is: “being, using, or containing a filter usually designed to remove 99.97 percent of airborne particles measuring 0.3 micrometers or greater in diameter passing through it. ”
Formerly just the stuff of hospitals, HEPA filters are now popping up in American homes, schools and offices. Some go as far as spending millions to install hospital grade (MERV rating of 12+) HEPA filtration units alongside their existing heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) and exhaust systems. Alone, assuming optimal room placement, a portable HEPA filtration device can reduce airborne contagions by up to 65%. The combination of adding a portable HEPA filtration system and universal making reduces indoor airborne virus transmission rates up to a whopping 90%.
HEPA filters are dense, accordion-like screens made of paper composed of micro glass fibers, synthetic fibers, expanded film such as polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), or other materials. Together these fibers reduce airborne contaminants through four methods: impingement, interception, diffusion and straining. HEPA air filters differ from traditional heating or air conditioning units, which will bring air in but will not necessarily clean it. The filter’s density creates reduced air flow, which is why adding a portable HEPA filter in conjunction with running the existing HVAC and exhaust unit creates the optimum balance of air flow and air cleanliness.
Not just pleasant, a breeze flowing through a confined space is a wonderful way to keep indoor air clean. Though throwing open the windows and welcoming the fresh air in isn’t always an option. Be it allergies, the dog days of summer or the dark days of winter, there are times life forces us to shutter ourselves in. During these times we are relying on our own man-made methods to keep air fresh and clean. Until we fully wrap our head around Covid, and as we inch back to “normalcy,” adding a portable HEPA filter with or without universal masking is a great solution to instantly and easily create a safer, healthier indoor environment.
Fortunately, Box Pure Air provides an incontestable solution. Depending on the demand, there are three different sized options. The largest of the three, the Apex 2.0, is a one-of-a-kind industrial grade air purifier with the power to clean the constant expulsion of particles in our air in larger spaces. Box Pure Air is currently running a giveaway to give 4 of these units to local schools. Enter to win for your school today! On top of the certified HEPA filter, it also includes an activated carbon filter and an antimicrobial filter. With this triple threat, the Apex 2.0 is unsurpassable.
Nation Library of Medicine
CBS Tampa Bay
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SOURCE SinglePoint Inc.; Box Pure Air