Virus, pandemic, vaccine. These are all the words that keep circulating in the news. Millions are getting sick and countless lives are lost due to the novel coronavirus or simply known as COVID-19.
We’ve been told by various health experts to wash our hands, use hand sanitizer, wear a face mask, practice social distancing, and to self-quarantine. We obeyed and carried out these precautionary measures to keep ourselves and everyone safe.
But are these all the tools we need to stop the spread of the virus? What if there was another way to protect us from falling victim to this menace. Something that you could buy right now from the store. Would you get one?
A Terrifying Possibility
We were made to believe that the COVID-19 can only be transmitted through close person to person contact through saliva or respiratory droplets. But many experts think that these aren’t the only modes of transmission.
239 scientists wrote an open letter to the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other health agencies regarding the spread of the coronavirus. The letter suggested that an infected person can produce aerosolized microdroplets that spray from the mouth and float into the air.
In a CNN interview, Donald Milton, a professor of environmental health at the University of Maryland said, “They don’t want to talk about airborne transmission because that is going to make people afraid.”
This is exactly why wearing a mask is very important when controlling the spread of not COVID-19 but the common flu and some respiratory diseases as well.
But let us be honest, not everyone likes to wear them. People are too stubborn!
HEPA Filtration is Effective, But Not Quite
The Governor of New York City, Andrew Cuomo, advocated the use of high-efficiency air filtration systems in malls to trap the COVID-19 virus. Still, the question lingers. Is it possible to capture the virus through the use of an air purifier?
There are various air purifiers on the market that are equipped with a HEPA filter. HEPA stands for “High-Efficiency Particulate Air”. This filter effectively removes at least 99% of dust, pollen, mold, bacteria, and any airborne particles that are 0.3 microns in size. Some HEPA filters trap ultrafine particles as small as 0.01 microns.
High-end HEPA Air Purifiers can eliminate particulates 0.01 microns in size by using a patented air purifier technology called Photocatalytic Oxidation or PCO. This method utilises a catalyst and germicidal UV light along with other advanced components to effectively kill airborne viruses and bacteria.
The coronavirus is approximately 0.125 micron in diameter which is up in the alley of particle sizes that a highly efficient HEPA filter is capable of capturing. Before you storm out and buy one – remember that an air purifier shouldn’t be considered as the first line of defence against the COVID-19 virus.
As of June 2021, CDC said “Covid-19 is thought to spread mainly through close contact from person-to-person,” through “respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks.”
So, wearing of face masks is still king!
What Does an Air Purifier Do? What are Air Purifiers Used For?
We talked about HEPA filtration but failed to inform you how air purifiers work. Basically, air purifiers filter out pollutants and contaminants so you can enjoy the benefits of clean air. Clean and fresh air offers various benefits like strengthening your immune system and improving sleep quality.
Air purifiers prove to be useful in areas with lots of people or places that need to improve indoor air quality, such as homes, offices, commercial establishments, and healthcare facilities. When you have an environment free of dust and allergens, you can pretty much manage the onset of allergies or asthma. Air purifiers are not meant to replace your medications so do not stop taking them!
Various air purifiers on the market also have different filters, different airflow coverage, and use different technologies to get rid of air particulates. Some even produce negative ions that latch onto airborne particles and weigh them down, allowing the filters to catch the pollutants more easily. Negative ions not only clean the air but revitalizes your body and make you more energetic. It also promotes better oxygen flow to the brain increasing your mental concentration and performance.
If you are still not on the fence about the benefits of using a home air purifier, check out the 5 Reasons Why You Should Run an Air Purifier 24/7.
The Chances of Air Purifiers Killing the Virus
It isn’t really a question of whether a HEPA air purifier will capture the COVID-19 virus, but of what exact exposure level causes an infection. Will a HEPA filter catch the virus before it infects someone? The coverage area of HEPA air purifiers is also small, so will it trap every single virus floating into the air? The answer is a resounding “maybe” and “not sure”.
According to Kathleen Owen, a consulting engineer with nearly 40 years of experience in air filtration, “The big thing with trying to say that a HEPA filter would do any good is whether you’re getting anything to the filter or not. If it turns out – and this is the big if; I’m not sure you should even mention it – but if there’s stuff that’s getting into the air, HEPA would catch it.”
Air purifiers are without a doubt effective at reducing dust, pollen, chemicals, odours, viruses, and bacteria. But when it comes to solving a global pandemic, it’s marginally helpful. However, doing everything in your power to protect yourself and your family from this deadly virus is a must. Investing in an air purifier still offers plenty of health benefits, don’t you think?
We all want this nightmare to be over and go back to the way things were. But right now, controlling the spread of COVID-19 starts by wearing the right face mask outdoors, social distancing, and washing your hands regularly.