Can Air Purifiers Protect You From COVID-19?

Research shows that proper wearing of masks and adhering to the required social distancing standards minimizes the transfer of droplets from one person to another and the spread of COVID-19 significantly.

Reasonable concerns about the possibility of aerosol transmission and the use of air purifiers have been rampant. Therefore, everyone should understand how air purifiers work to curb the spread of COVID-19 effectively. Only then would you know whether or not to invest in them as COVID-19 protective measures for your home.

This article is based on an interview with Tim Peglow, our vice president of Patient Care and Patient Facilities, for guidance. Below is his opinion about air purifiers and COVID-19.

air purifiers covid

What Are the Different Types of Purifiers?

Air purifiers are primarily classified as either cleaners or filters. However, some types are a combination of both in the same package.

Filters aim at enhancing the quality of indoor air. They work by physically removing small particles of matter such as dust, pollen grains, and pet fur in the air. Despite occurring naturally, these particles tremendously aggravate home occupants’ allergies at inhalation. The HEPA filters are currently the most common examples of filters.

On the other hand, sanitizers get rid of viruses, bacteria, mold, and fungi spores that may be hanging around the home. These organisms occur naturally and can cause illnesses during exposure to high concentrations. UV light devices are the most popular sanitizers in the market today.

How Do HEPA Filters and UV Light Air Purifiers Work?

HEPA is an acronym for ‘high-efficiency particulate arresting.’ Based on their name, these devices effectively trap floating particles in the air and hold them to avoid recirculation. The machines are designed with fibers that trap particles as tiny as 0.101 microns in diameter, only a tiny fraction of human hair.

On the contrary, UV light purifiers don’t trap particles but instead work by killing any organisms floating in the air.

What About Ionizers? Do They Work?

Ionizers work by electrically charging the particles before the ones with opposite charges pull them over. The attracting objects may range from collector plates found within the devices to other surfaces around the room, such as walls, ceilings, carpets, and curtains. Similar to static electricity, these particles remain on the objects to which they are attracted.

What About Ozone Generators? Do They Work?

These generators work by altering the standard oxygen molecule from two to three to acquire the name ozone. The ozone molecule interacts differently with the environment in regards to how the regular air we breathe does.

Are All These Devices Safe to Use?

Unknown to most people, the only effective devices are equipped with HEPA filters, ionizers, and UV light. Inhaling ozone, for instance, is a significant human risk that causes coughing, shortness of breath, throat irritation, among other related symptoms. The gas can also cause damage to the lungs, which explains why local weather authorities issue ozone alerts in some cases.

People with asthma and other respiratory complications are susceptible to air quality. They should therefore stay wary of ozone at all times.

air purifiers covid

Are Any of These Purifiers Effective Against COVID-19?

 Considering the HEPA filter’s range position, it is impossible to effectively eliminate the virus 100% in a single pass. The secret lies in passing the HEPA system repetitively to get rid of most of the viruses. This way, its effectiveness rises to the 90th percentile. Over a long time, the UV light in the air purifier can eliminate some viruses, including COVID-19

Under What Circumstances Should People Use an Air Purifier During The COVID-19 Pandemic?

Your home is the safest possible place during the ongoing pandemic. Any average person adhering to the set standards doesn’t need air purifiers. Instead, they should ensure they keep social distance, put on face masks in public, and limit socializing with primary household members. Constant hand washing is also a significant COVID-19 preventive measure.

However, an air purifier is essential in homes where one or more members have COVID-19 or need to quarantine until confirmation that they are COVID-19 free. Purifiers should be kept in a room with a closed door to keep the caregiver safe. High-risk households should also use purifiers to minimize the chances of spreading the virus.

What Should Look for When Shopping for An Air Purifier?

The size area to be covered is among the leading factors to consider when shopping for air purifiers. Purifiers are highly effective in small rooms and with shut doors, making spaces with an open floor plan unsuitable for this technique. People with 10-12 ceilings may also have to upsize. If you settle for a device designed to cover 300 sq feet, it would only be logical to get two for a 600 sq feet space.

What Are Some of The Things That People Can Do to Improve the Overall Indoor Air Quality at Home?

In cases where factors such as temperature, humidity, ozone, and additional allergens are not of concern, you can:

  • Increase air circulation by opening windows and (or) turning on the ceiling fans.
  • Strategically using and positioning the floor or box fans One should push the air out through the window while the other pulls in a fresh supply.

In cases where any of the above is a concern, you should keep the window closed and:

  • Set the fan on the HVAC system and keep it running nonstop, even if it is not heating or cooling the room.
  • Replace the filter regularly. The typical life span of most home filters is 90 days, but you should limit it to 45 days when continuously using it.

 Never forget that unless you have an active COVID-19 patient at home, you don’t have any source of the virus to reduce or filter out using these tips. In such cases, you will be improving the air quality in your home using regular methods.

air purifiers covid

What’s One Thing People Want to Know About Air Purifiers?

Air purifiers should be perceived as only a tiny part of the plan rather than the whole plan. If a guest visits your home, and they sneeze on you, with neither of you wearing a mask, and they have COVID-19 without knowing, then the entire household contracts the virus. It does not matter whether you have a purifier or not. On the other hand, if everyone stays at home until the end of the pandemic, we will avoid such cases.

Air purifiers only provide an extra protective layer but have low effectiveness levels. It would be best if you only relied on them after complying with all the other preventive measures of curbing the spread of COVID-19.