March 18, 2021 / Sarah Hunter

COVID-19 Transmits Through the Air: Mitigate Your Risk

Sponsored by Inspirotec

Imagine walking into your favorite grocery store. You peruse the aisles, putting bread, milk, and cereal into your cart. You pick up a carton of eggs, a package of butter, and a bag of sugar. When you have all your items, you wait in the checkout line. But as you are putting the groceries on the belt to be scanned, you notice something peculiar: there are no nutrition labels or ingredients lists on the items. This is quite strange. How will you know what you are putting in your body if the product you are going to consume isn’t labeled? It is impossible to make healthy informed choices without this information.

It’s absurd to think of a world without knowing the ingredients in your food, but we are living in a world where we don’t know the components of our air.

Air quality, particularly indoor air quality, has a drastic impact on our health and wellness. Poor air quality can trigger allergic reactions and asthma, lead to viral and bacterial infection, and cause pollutants to enter the lungs and potentially the bloodstream.

CDC has stated that SARS-CoV-2 can be spread through airborne transmission. According to CDC, airborne transmission happens when infection is spread through “exposure to those virus-containing respiratory droplets comprised of smaller droplets and particles that can remain suspended in the air over long distances (usually greater than 6 feet) and time (typically hours).” Diseases spread through airborne transmission tend to have high attack rates as they quickly infect many people within a short time. In light of this knowledge, it is increasingly apparent that one-time surface testing and cleaning is not enough to prevent widespread infection.

Especially during the pandemic, many businesses have increased their sanitization and safety protocols in the hope of preventing SARS-CoV-2 transmission. But how do we know those protocols are working? Without a way of verifying their efficacy, there is no proof that the protocols are effective. The only alternative is to look for an outbreak, at which point it is too late to be easily contained.

Verifying airborne health and safety protocols can be most directly done with air sampling methods. Indirect measures of air cleanliness such as dust collection, surface testing, particle counters, and ATP swabs can provide an estimate of what is in the air. However, they cannot truly identify which particles are suspended in the air and whether they are harmful to health. It is best to base actionable data on direct measurements rather than mere estimates of air quality. Direct identification of harmful particles and their airborne concentrations is much more effective. Weekly assessments of indoor air quality can provide peace of mind and increase confidence, as well as provide detailed information such as the amount of specific biological pollutants in the air. It is crucial for OHS professionals to take necessary action to increase or change protocols for a safer environment.

Sarah Hunter

Sarah Hunter is Inspirotec’s technical sales advisor. Inspirotec is a Chicago-based company focusing on bringing visibility to invisible health threats in the air.


Let me tell you

very informative

By Michelle Colon on March 31, 2021 6:34am

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