Dr. Fauci Says You Need One of These at Home to Avoid COVID
Under the threat of coronavirus, home may feel like the only safe haven these days. Yet as experts point out, even our homes aren't completely safe from COVID-19. Contact tracing programs have revealed that up to 70 percent of cases are spread within the household between family members and close friends in what is now known as "living room spread."
Thankfully, there are measures you can take to keep your living room COVID-free. In a recent interview, the nation's top immunologist, Anthony Fauci, MD, endorsed purchasing one product to stop COVID from spreading indoors. He recommended high-efficiency particulate air systems—also known as HEPA filters—which remove COVID particles from the air. And for more Fauci news, check out Dr. Fauci Just Debunked the 4 Biggest Myths About the COVID Vaccine.
Fauci offered this advice while speaking with Maurine Knighton, program director for the arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, about the future of performing arts during the pandemic. HEPA filters, he suggested, along with the continued use of masks, could serve as a possible solution for performing arts venues that are eager to welcome patrons back for live shows. Fauci said that, similar to the airline industry, theaters could use HEPA filters and enhanced ventilation to make sitting inside safe again. "Good air flow and HEPA filters can work," he said.
Related: The 7 best air purifiers to keep your home clean
Coronavirus particles are known to linger in the air, making enhanced ventilation systems a key part of stopping the spread. HEPA filters are particularly effective because in order to be defined as such by U.S. standards, they must effectively capture 99.97 percent of particles.
Additionally, HEPA filters happen to be particularly effective at capturing particles the size of COVID aerosols, according to Wirecutter. "The virus that causes COVID-19 is approximately 0.125 micron (125 nanometers) in diameter. It falls squarely within the particle-size range that HEPA filters capture with extraordinary efficiency: 0.01 micron (10 nanometers) and above," the publication explains.
Fauci suggested that if these systems can work for large-scale commercial spaces containing crowds, they can certainly help fight COVID in residences. The immunologist shared that he purchased "a couple" filters to purify the air in his own home, and encouraged others to do the same. "It was $49 on Amazon.com, you know? It was not a big deal," he said with a chuckle.
Wondering what other benefits you can expect from upgrading your ventilation system? Read on for four more perks of enhanced ventilation, and for more on COVID risks at home, check out If This Is in Your Kitchen, Your COVID Death Risk May Be Even Higher.
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Good ventilation reduces the risk respiratory problems.
Stagnant air and high levels of humidity are known to cause the buildup of mold, which can lead to asthma attacks and other respiratory ailments. HEPA filters can help eliminate the growth of mold by trapping mold spores from the air before they can develop.
Don't have a HEPA filter? Get the air in your house moving by placing fans in your windows. Use one fan to draw air in and another to push air out from a separate window, preventing the air from being pushed around the room with no exit route. And for more on protecting yourself against COVID, check out The CDC Has Issued a Warning Against These 4 Face Coverings.
It can also alleviate your allergies.
Enhanced ventilation—especially when combined with HEPA filters—significantly lowers the amount of pollen, dust mites, mold spored, and pet dander in the air. This can in turn help eliminate triggers for those with allergies.
If you suffer from allergies, be sure to combine your enhanced ventilation plan with more frequent cleaning of bedding, rugs, curtains, and clothing, all of which can trap these particles in your home.
It clears out chemicals from cleaning products.
Chances are that because of COVID, you've stepped up your home cleaning routine. But every time you spray disinfectant or bleach in a poorly ventilated space, you risk inhaling chemical irritants, which could damage your lungs and other organs over time.
Practicing enhanced ventilation—whether by employing purifying filters or simply cracking more windows—will help offset the health consequences of your souped-up COVID cleaning measures. And for more reasons to relax your COVID cleaning routine, check out The One Thing You Can Stop Doing to Avoid COVID, According to Doctors.
It traps harmful particles released while scrubbing.
In addition to adding chemical particles into the air, cleaning can loosen viral and bacterial particles that were once stuck to surfaces. Thankfully, as the EPA points out, ramping up your ventilation measures can "reduce risks from particles resuspended during cleaning, including those potentially carrying SARS-CoV-2 (or other contaminants)."
Be sure to keep windows open, use exhaust fans while cleaning, and as Fauci recommends, consider investing in a HEPA filter or two.