How Home Air Quality Can Protect You From Coronavirus
What We Usually Do at Home
Even the most conscientious individual who would not think of leaving the home without a mask or planning to maintain a reasonable distance from other people is not likely to take the same precautions while at home. Once people come through the front door, it’s likely that the masks will come off and not a lot of distance is kept between the people who live in the house or apartment. The only likely exception to this would be medical professionals who immediately head to the shower and change into fresh clothing after returning from work.
For the most part, there’s nothing wrong with that routine. Choosing to change clothing after returning home is a good move. The same is true when it comes to dusting and vacuuming the place on a regular basis. With so many people working from home, there are no commute times to consider, so there’s more of an opportunity to do a little general housework each day. That’s important, since removing dust and other residue from the home is one way to help maintain better air quality.
What Compromised Air Quality at Home Means in Terms of the Pandemic
Cleaning surfaces is important, but the effort needs to go beyond that. It’s important to do what you can to get rid of airborne contaminants. The thing to remember is that not all of them can be seen with ease.
Different types of airborne contaminants can irritate the throat and lungs. If anyone in the home has asthma or some other type of respiratory issue, they can also cause issues breathing. Should people with pre-existing respiratory issues become infected, the difficulty of recovering becomes more severe.
As it relates to COVID-19, clean air can help reduce the potential for contact. It’s easy to forget that tossing recently worn clothing through the air and into the washing machine does have some small chance of spreading any residue that’s clinging to the material. There’s also more of a chance for the virus to get into the air ducts.
Is it possible for the virus to spread throughout the home by being carried along by the air forced out of each vent? While there are differences of opinion on this front, remember there is much about the virus that we don’t know yet. For now, opting to err on the side of caution is a good thing.
The Impact on People Who are Considered High Risk
There are a number of factors that make some people at higher risk for becoming infected. Age seems to increase the potential for infection, especially for those over 60. Type 1 and 2 diabetics are also considered to be at greater risk. Those with cardiovascular conditions or high blood pressure are also included in this category. There are even some theories that indicate people of certain genders or ethnic backgrounds may be more susceptible.
As this risk relates to people with one or more of these risk factors, clear air at home becomes especially important. A healthy living environment already provides some help in managing many chronic conditions. By doing what you can to keep the air in your home healthier, you also enhance the chances of not testing positive for the coronavirus.
Things You Can Do to Improve Air Quality in Your Home
There are certainly things that you can do to help improve the air quality in the home. Many of them you already do. The key may be to do some of those same things more often, at least until the virus is under control.
First, keep the space clean. Clutter attracts dust, so that needs to go. You also want to dust the furniture and vacuum carpets and rugs at least three or four times a week. This is true even if there are only one or two people living in the house. If you have a pet that stays indoors much of the time, more frequent dusting and vacuuming is a good idea.
Next, never wear clothing two times in a row. In a time when many people are more relaxed while at home, it’s easy to slip on something for a quick run to the supermarket and then hang it back up once you return home. Assume that the clothing is contaminated and that leaving it laying around could allow the virus to spread through the air as well as on surfaces. Ideally, you should place the clothing directly into the washing machine so that it isn’t moved around several times before laundering.
Third, change the air filters more frequently. The filters used for your HVAC system trap many different types of contaminants. There are some medical experts who believe that they can also trap the coronavirus. Use gloves when you change the filters and be sure to wash your hands afterward.
Also consider the idea of investing in some type of air filtration or cleansing strategy above and beyond cleaning the home and changing out the filters. For example, keeping air disinfectants that are known to kill some germs may be helpful. You can also look into options for devices that purify the air. Some of these work by taking in air, deodorizing and disinfecting it, and then releasing it back into the room.
There are even UV light sterilizers that some people believe can do quite a bit in terms of improving indoor air quality. If you decide to go this route, take the time to read through reviews and find out what other people think. At the least, the home will smell nicer. At best, the air will also be cleaner.
Last, don’t overlook the idea of having the air ducts cleaned. A professional can handle this job while maintaining a reasonable distance from anyone living in the home. The result is that any residue present in the duct is eliminated and cannot increase the risk of respiratory and other issues.
Now is not the time to consider any effort at better indoor air quality to be overkill. Consider what you’re doing right now and think about how you could make things better. Even if you’re among the fortunate people who never become infected with COVID-19, the cleaner air will benefit you in many other ways.