Thursday, May 26

Why is ventilation so important to avoid Covid-19 infections?



It will be two years since the hydroalcoholic gel accompanies us wherever we go.

Two years already since we wash our hands more frequently than before.

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Two years since museums, supermarkets, small shops or public transport have incorporated those small dispensers of hydroalcoholic gel.

Hand hygiene is essential to prevent many diseases, but experts are increasingly clear that the key to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infections is not on the hands, but in the air that we breathe.

And that is where, according to many specialists, not enough effort is being made, especially taking into account the contagion capacity of the Omicron variant.

The Institute for Environmental Assessment and Water Research (IDAEA-CSIC), the Mesura Association and the Generalitat Valenciana have got down to work and have drawn up a guide to guide you on the best way to ventilate interior spaces and, thus, reduce the risk of infection.

And yes, they talk about reducing and not eliminating, because as these experts make clear, zero risk does not exist.

Shops, hotels, offices, cinemas, theaters, restaurants or museums are some of the environments that, due to their purpose, tend to have high occupancy levels, and for which this guide can be very useful.

Why is it so necessary to ventilate?

There are many studies that have demonstrated the predominant role that aerosols have in the transmission of Covid-19.

As the IDAEA-CSIC guide explains, we all expel aerosol sprays when we speak, cough or just breathe.

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It is about «small saliva particles or respiratory secretions that remain in the air for minutes or even hours.

If among the people who are in that closed environment there are one or two infected by coronavirus, the problem is clear.

So the air renewal becomes the essential point for reduce the risk of contagion.

How long should it be ventilated?

At this point there are many factors that influence how often the closed space should be aired.

And an important question, when they talk about air change, the IDAEA-CSIC refers to the replacement of indoor air with virus-free outdoor air.

How to renew the air correctly?

Always outdoors. This is the maxim that experts have repeated over and over again for months.

Whatever we want to do, it is best to do it abroad.

But since this is not always feasible, there are several options to keep the air we breathe indoors as clean as possible.

Natural ventilation How to do it?

Although it seems obvious, it may happen that we are not ventilating well.

Because we are not talking about houses, but about larger spaces such as museums or restaurants.

So it doesn’t hurt to remember some guidelines to do it correctly:

The IDAEA-CSIC recommends placing “the CO2 monitor in a representative place where there are occupants, but avoid the effect of direct exhaled breathing or direct fresh air flow (for example, near windows) in the measurement ».

How to perform ‘forced’ ventilation?

In the case of more professional fields where there are mechanical devices For ventilation, for example museums or department stores, environmental assessment experts recommend:

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And of course, all these ventilation measures do not exempt in any case from taking the precautions that we already know: mask, safety and hygiene distance.


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