Can bacteria and viruses be removed from the air at my home?
With another flu season coming up it makes sense to take care of the environment ahead of time. Plenty of water, proper food, cozy clothes, and clean, humid air are the criteria to follow to keep your family healthy
It is through the air that many viruses are transmitted. They lead to colds and infectious diseases. Mold impacts weakened or immature immunity systems and can cause severe allergies. Most often, fungi, microbes, viruses and harmful impurities contained in the air affect the organs of the respiratory tract, but can also cause brain membrane inflammation, ear and sinuses infections, urinary system and respiratory organs dysfunction.
Flu and Ventilation
A person is considered a carrier of an infection exactly a day before the onset of the initial influenza symptoms, and within two days after normalization of temperature. The main route of transmission of any influenza virus is airborne. When coughing, the patient throws several hundred drops of aerosol containing the virus into the air. When he or she sneezes - about 20,000 drops with virons are released. The smallest of them (sized 1-4 microns) hang in the air for several hours. During this time a virus can die if it is contained in the moving street air, but it remains active for a long time in a room with poor ventilation.
One of the first observations describing the connection between ventilation and the rate of infection spread happened back in the 1970s. Then there was a flu outbreak onboard. There was a three-hour flight delay. Most of the 54 passengers were on board, and one of them had the flu. Just one source of infection was enough to cause flu symptoms in 75% of the passengers after the flight. The ventilation system in the cabin did not work. And the experts quite reasonably decided that this was the main reason for the aftermath that followed.
Later, a statistically significant connection between ventilation and airborne infections was proven several times. Here is an overview of studies on this topic (the publication is closed, you can access it by logging in).
The patient emits viral particles non-stop, thus constant room ventilation should be preferable. The volume of air exchange should not go beyond normal: 30 m3 per hour or more per person. Plastic windows open in micro-ventilation mode do not give much fresh air at all. And keeping windows wide open is problematic because flu epidemics usually occur during the cold season. Therefore, we advise you to install room air purifiers. One per each room to maintain air that is clean and germ-free.
Picking an air purifier. What filter type for bacteria and germs should I choose?
Two common types of filters are coarse and fine ones. Coarse filters trap relatively large particles (e.g. sand). This category includes mechanical, electrostatic and water filters. Therefore, fine filters are designed to clean the air of very small particles that are not visible to the human eye. This includes carbon, photo-catalytic and HEPA filters.
The simplest type of filter is mechanical. Also called a pre-filter. Removes large particles of dust (5-10 microns), animal hair. This filter is equipped with a predominant number of air purifiers, since it also serves as a cleaner for the device itself. In most cases, a pre-filter is installed as protection for the remaining filters in order to prevent premature wear.
HEPA is one of them. Based on the name, this filter is capable of holding particles with high efficiency, even the finest ones. Probably, for this reason, it is so widespread. HEPA traps up to 99.9% of the particles, depending on the diameter of the filter fibers and the distance between them. Hence, the division into classes of the HEPA filter: H10, H11, H12, etc. (the higher the grade, the higher the cleaning efficiency). HEPA filter is a real rescue for allergy sufferers. Common allergens (dust, pollen, mold spores) are composed of particles as small as 1 micron. HEPA filters, however, trap particles from 0.3 micrometers.
Can an air Purifier Keep me From Catching flu? How do I Clean air in my Home and Office?
There are quite a few air purification methods, but not all of them bring the result we so badly want. The answer to the question “How to make the air in the room clean?” Is only possible with a clear idea of the nature of pollution and its concentration.
Air pollutants are divided into gaseous, aerosol and microbiological. All of them are either sources of odors themselves, or are capable of transferring (distributing) both odors and toxic substances. The smell of tobacco smoke - aerosol pollution, the smell of ashtrays with extinct cigarette butts - gas pollution, and the smell of mold - bioaerosol with adsorbed odor molecules. To purify the air from all classes of pollutants, modern air purifiers, as a rule, use several types of filters.
Air Purification Technology and Filter Types
Mechanical particles are removed from the air - dust, soot, plant pollen, animal hair. Dust filters are subdivided according to the efficiency of particle capture and the size of the retained dust. These filters are mainly used in air purifiers as the primary cleaning stage.
An electrostatic filter is used to clean the air from the smallest dust, aerosols, smoke, soot, and any mechanical particles. The optimal solution for removing aerosols from the air is the electrostatic filter. It removes solid, liquid and biological aerosols from the air that can vary from H10 to H14 in size.
The main purpose of carbon filters is the adsorption of unpleasant odors - aromatic hydrocarbons and other compounds of organic nature. These are predominantly used in bathroom air purifiers.
The main task of the photocatalytic filter is to clean the air of any gas-phase pollutants: unpleasant odors, toxic gases, allergens, as well as the inactivation of viruses, bacteria and mold spores. Pollutants are adsorbed on the surface of the photo-catalyst filter. They decompose down to harmless components of air like carbon dioxide, water and atmospheric nitrogen under ultraviolet rays.
Ozonation is the intensified oxidation of organic and biological pollutants in their interaction with ozone. However, at high concentrations, ozone is a carcinogen and an extremely toxic substance. It belongs to the group of dangerous substances. In many countries, the use of an ozonizer in residential and administrative buildings in the presence of people is prohibited by law.
Ultraviolet light is used as a preventive sanitary and anti-epidemic agent aimed at suppressing the vital activity of microorganisms on surfaces and in the air of rooms. This is one of the several major ways a room air purifier can impact the condition of in your home or office. Keep in mind that in order to control germs in your facility you need to pick a purifier that says something along the lines of “bactericidal” or “UV Bulb”. Once you get the air purifier started, you have to make sure to turn the function on.
Other things you can do to prevent the spreading of influenza is to wash your floor regularly, ventilate the room with outdoor air, preferably at nighttime, isolate the sick person, take vitamins and vaccinate.