As concerns over Covid-19 shake the world, it’s important that we find ways to safeguard ourselves and our families from the novel coronavirus. More and more people are staying home instead of going to the office. Malls, offices and entire buildings are being shutdown to help prevent the spread of the virus. We need to do our part as well, it’ll help us all get over this pandemic faster.
While there are a lot of things you need to be concerned about, it’s important to talk about the air quality in your home. The unfortunate thing we need to consider, is that air pollution makes it easier for the virus to spread.
Although there’s still a lot we don’t know about the virus, it is a fact that elderly people and those with preexisting health conditions are more susceptible to the disease. One of the biggest factors affecting the elderly is their decreased respiratory capacity. Air pollution and other factors that affect the lungs (such as smoking) are likely to be affecting the chances of infection, as well as the severity of the disease on an individual. Research from China is making it increasingly clear that smokers, the elderly and others whose lungs have been weakened are at greater the risk for infection to Covid-19.
There’s even more precedent for it: the SARS outbreak back in 2003 was worse in areas of China with poor air quality. Just because you aren’t a smoker, doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. Poor air quality in your home can impact your lungs, and this can make you more susceptible to the coronavirus.
Follow these tips in order to ensure your air quality isn’t compromised, leaving you healthier and more able to fight off infection.
- Keep VOCs emissions to a minimum – VOCs from various chemical sources like furniture and upholstery can cause problems with breathing. Scientists from China are already studying the effect of VOCs on the spread of the coronavirus. While the clinical trials haven’t been completed and we don’t know the exact results, it is better to err on the side of caution. Monitor the air and ensure your VOC levels are within the safe range. We recommend a keeping VOC emissions at under 0.75 ppm over an 8-hour period.
- Keep the Humidity High – a study from the CDC shows that keeping humidity high helps prevent the spread of the influenza virus. In general, viruses do not like warm, humid weather. This is why cold and influenza season happens in the winter. When humidity levels were below 23%, the flu virus stayed infectious longer than when humidity levels were up. A study from medRxiv suggests that the novel coronavirus is also affected similarly by humidity. Use your air quality monitor to keep humidity at a good level — the virus stays active for up to five days at 50% humidity. Keep humidity above 50%, or as high as is comfortable for you to help shorten the lifespan of linger virus particles in the air. While 50% is ideal humidity level that is comfortable for people, during this time a little sacrifice might be in order to help prevent the spread of the virus.
- Temperature should also be up – the same medRxiv study also suggests that warmer temperatures will help keep the virus in check. According to the medRxiv study, the virus stays active for five days at temperatures of 51°F to 77°F. Keep temperatures above 77°F should help prevent the virus from spreading. We recommend keeping room temperature at around 80°F during winter and 78°F during the summer, so this should keep you covered for the virus outbreak.
- Watch the Particulates – there are tiny, almost invisible particles in the air which can get into your lungs and cause issues. Particulate matter, or PM2.5, is very small and if not monitored and controlled can cause long term problems such as asthma and other pulmonary illnesses. These are exactly the high risk factors that can cause complications with Covid-19. Monitor your air quality and ensure that PM2.5 is at 10 µg/m3 or lower.
It’s going to take a concerted effort to get through this virus outbreak, but fortunately the steps being taken by governments and people everywhere are paying off. The quarantines and shutting down of operations have already shown a remarkable effect: air quality has improved drastically in many places such as in China. This can only help in fighting off infection. Everyone is pitching in to help fight the virus, now it’s your turn to do your part. Make sure you’re watching the air you breathe and keeping it safe for your family and everyone else.