Ever wonder why it’s more common to get sick in the winter than in the summer? Not only is your immune system lowered with limited exposure to sun, but people also tend to spend more time in enclosed spaces when the temperatures plummet. The cold, dry air in winter is also ideal for viral infections. Add cozy family gatherings in homes with poor air quality and suddenly viruses can spread too easily.
There are still ways you can prepare your home as a safe environment to welcome your family this holiday season. We put together a list of tactics for eliminating airborne viruses.
How to Kill Airborne Viruses
As you gather your family together for the holidays, the last thing you want to think about is sickness. However, by being proactive to keep your home free of airborne pathogens and viruses, you can help your family stay healthy this season.
- Clean air vents. How often should you clean your air vents? We recommend every two to three years (more often if you have pets or kids with allergies). Ensuring the ducts are clean can help reduce pathogens, dust mites, and viruses floating around your holiday gathering.
- Increase air circulation. Regular circulation of fresh air helps minimize contact with allergens. You can do this by opening windows and doors when possible, running fans, and activating the exhaust fan in the kitchen or bathroom. Another great way to improve air circulation is by switching on your HVAC. Also ensure you use a high-quality HVAC filter to catch bacteria and viruses, as well as dirt, dust, and pet dander.
- Disinfect surfaces. Airborne contaminants won’t always float. Build a routine of disinfecting floors and surfaces. This helps eliminate bacteria and viruses that float down to rest on the surface before being thrown back into the air.
- Add humidity. Humidity and airborne viruses have a strained relationship. Because cold, dry weather is perfect for viral infections to thrive, add some humidity back to the air. This makes it more difficult for viruses to survive and transfer.
- Include an air purifier. Another option to improve your air quality is adding an air purifier to your home. Depending on the system you choose, it may incorporate new technologies specifically targeting virus contaminants in the air.
Related Content: Indoor Air Pollution – Making It Better
New Technology for Killing Airborne Viruses
As more is discovered about how things work on a micro level, scientists have discovered different ways to eliminate harmful pathogens from the air. These discoveries have been studied and are now incorporated into home purifying devices.
- Photocatalytic oxidation (PCO). This technology activates UV light photons with a catalyst to create long-lasting ions. These ions can decontaminate air. While you’ll see PCO in most ionic purifiers, the efficiency will depend on the brand.
- UV light. A method that is often used in hospitals to disinfect against viruses is exposing the contaminant to UV-C, which is a form of UV light. Home appliances equipped with this technology are often less effective than those developed for hospital use, however, they can still be useful to kill airborne viruses at home.
- Cold plasma Ionization. Also called bi-polar ionization, this technology addresses contamination on a molecular level. Using positively and negatively charged poles, it separates steam into hydrogen ions and oxygen ions. The process pulls contaminants–such as dust, mold, bacteria, and viruses–together, increasing the weight and causing them to fall out of the air.