The airborne Corona Virus is something that we have to learn to live with for a long time. It’s not going away anytime soon. With this in mind, it becomes necessary to think of and implement long-term solutions to reduce the spread of the virus, especially in public spaces such as shopping malls, office buildings, and schools to name a few.
As manufacturers and suppliers of clean air equipment in South Africa, we understand the importance of clean air in various environments, not just in hospitals and laboratories. We believe that clean air should be placed at the forefront of eradicating the severity of COVID-19 across the globe.
In this article, we briefly discuss how airborne viruses are transmitted and how we can use clean air equipment and ventilation to our advantage.
Airborne viruses such SARs-CoV-2 can spread from one person to another via tiny water particles that are suspended in the air. These particles are known as aerosols.
Humans produce some aerosols when we breathe and we produce more of them when we speak, sing, or shout. However, aerosols are different from the larger water droplets that can also aid the spread of airborne viruses. Larger droplets, mostly produced by coughing and sneezing, can cover a distance of up to 2 meters from the person who makes them and, because they are heavier than aerosols, they fall to the ground quickly.
Aerosols, on the other hand, can stay suspended in the air for several hours and, because they are really small, they can travel relatively long distances. Although aerosols contain less virus in them than larger droplets, the volume of aerosols can accumulate in areas with poor air filtration and ventilation which poses an obvious risk for closed environments such as office buildings, schools, and shopping centres.
Clean air can play a fundamental role in managing the spread of COVID-19 via suspended aerosols. We can measure air ventilation by determining the room or building’s Air Changes per Hour (ACH). ACH measures how often the air in a given space is completely replaced with new air.
Although using fresh, outdoor air to ventilate rooms and buildings (this is not applicable in sterile environments such as hospitals theatres, laboratories etc) is considered a healthy method for ventilation, it’s very difficult to heat or cool outdoor air. This means that most ventilation systems that are currently installed in buildings use a degree of recirculated air.
However, using recirculated air in a building will not minimize the potential spread of airborne diseases such as COVID-19 unless the recirculated air passes through a special filter that is designed to filter out tiny particles from the air.
A filter’s MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values) rating will describe how effectively it removes different size particles from the circulating air. For example, a MERV rating of 13 or higher means that the filter effectively removes at least 90% of virus-sized particles from the air.
However, High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters are specially designed to exceed the highest MERV rating by filtering at least 99.97% of particles that are even smaller than aerosols. For perspective, a large airborne droplet that is expelled by humans when they cough or sneeze, are measured as 5 microns in size while the width of a human hair is measured as 60-120 microns. This puts HEPA filters at the front and center of clean air in all environments.
In the face of this global pandemic which turned the entire world upside down, life as we know it is different. It is our responsibility to adapt to changes by reinventing the way we think and operate. One of the most important ways that we can adapt to the newest member of the viral family is to ensure that the air we breathe in enclosed spaces is as clean as it can be.
At Vivid Air, we specialize in clean air. We manufacture, supply, and install clean air equipment in South Africa for various environments and applications. Our products and services are not limited to sterile environments.
To find out how Vivid Air can help you achieve the cleanest air possible in your home, work, or learning environment, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
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