Looking at the Coronavirus pandemic continuously escalating, we all wonder exactly what measures should we take to protect ourselves. Social distancing, washing hands, disinfecting; is that all enough? The virus is increasing like a wildfire. Nevertheless, people are trying their best to think up the techniques for preventing the spread of COVID-19.
HEPA AIR PURIFIERS FOR COVID-19
Just like masks and gloves, people are now turning towards purifying the air to reduce the risk of COVID-19. When an isolation room air cleaner can remove dust and smoke, it can certainly remove the virus. Isn’t it? So, the question here crops up: can HEPA air purifiers keep us safe from the coronavirus? The answer to this question is complicated, looking at so many things connected with the epidemic.
LET’S FIRST-OF-ALL LEARN HOW IT SPREADS
It is not confirmed that COVID-19 is an airborne virus. Nevertheless, it is confirmed that it spreads through contact factors and respiratory droplets. As an infected person often goes around their day with no symptoms, their hands may carry viral particles that can stay on any object they touch. If a person holds these objects and then touches areas like their eyes, nose, lips, etc. the virus can enter the body and start using its cells and replicate.
COVID-19 also spreads through droplets. Sneezing or coughing discharges droplets of fluid into the atmosphere that contain mucus, water, and viral particles. People breathe in these droplets and get infected.
You may here consider that COVID-19 is an airborne virus. But no, it is not. There is a vital difference between the droplet and airborne transmission. It is essential to understand the difference before we talk about the HEPA air cleaner.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DROPLET AND AIRBORNE TRANSMISSION
The major difference between both is the suspension time, size of the particle, and composition.
Droplets are far bigger than airborne viruses. When viruses float around 0.1 um in diameter, respiratory droplets tend to be more than 5 um or even more upto 10 um in diameter. Furthermore, the droplets are full of the virus and mucus, saliva, water, including various other bodily fluids. That makes them far bigger and heavier than airborne viral particles. For being heavy, droplets will relatively quickly fall from the air on the surfaces where we touch and come into contact with the virus. Above all, we can sanitize the viral particles with the help of good virus disinfectant agents available in the market.
When droplet viruses like COVID-19 end their journey once the droplets fall, airborne viruses stay in the atmosphere, perhaps riding on the dust particles present in the air. Since airborne viruses are light weighted, they remain in the air for hours. However, they are particularly contagious because of this. We all have heard about measles and tuberculosis. Both are airborne viruses.
We have purposely treated both paths of virus transmission. Since droplet transmission is consentaneously confirmed, our major focus will be on respiratory droplets. So, can an air purification system aids to remove respiratory droplets?
DOES HEPA AIR PURIFIERS ELIMINATE RESPIRATORY DROPLETS?
A HEPA air cleaner can deal with particle pollution. The machine blows air through a filter and removes any contaminants present in the atmosphere. If there are virus droplets in the atmosphere surrounding you, the filter can strain them out.
Nevertheless, the air purifiers also come up with a drawback. Even though the cleaners clean out the respiratory droplets, the process will not happen instantaneously. The air purifier will take some time to cycle through the entire room. Meanwhile, the droplets will settle down on the flat surfaces in the area.
In the odds, your HEPA air cleaner may not eradicate the droplets at the speed that you need to steer clear of infection at least, not as quickly as the normal settling speed of the droplets. However, if COVID-19 is an airborne virus, the filter would have the ability to eradicate the larger chunk of viruses. Nevertheless, you would still be insecure. Regardless of what type of virus COVID-19 is, you cannot just rely on an air cleaner to protect yourself.
Also read: COVID-19 and Isolation Room Air Cleaners
Nevertheless, the usage of HEPA air purifiers is still advised during the COVID pandemic. Though they will not eradicate the virus droplets, the air purifiers are still handy bits of technology for getting rid of particles and fine dust and improving the indoor air quality of your space and your health on the whole. HEPA air cleaner installation will not harm but will certainly keep your indoor air quality in better shape.
To fight the spread of COVID-19, staying home, using a disinfectant, and washing hands regularly are two of the right and more effective ways to stay safe. Indeed, HEPA air purifiers are not the substitute for disinfectant or social distancing. In some places, there are indications that the epidemic is easing, but we should not stop. Till the new coronavirus is not under control, keep social distancing, and make sure to pay your attention to only the trusted resources for the most updated and precise information regarding the outbreak.