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The air quality expert recommends a fourth “W” to limit virus exposure: Open windows :: WRAL.com



– Despite requests from health officials to limit indoor gatherings, family and friendly gatherings continue to push the state’s daily coronavirus sums to record highs.

In addition to the often-repeated instructions for wearing masks, stay at least 6 feet away from others and wash your hands regularly, one expert says keeping indoor air fresh will also help reduce virus exposure.

“COVID actually helped us a lot so people could understand [that]”If something is invisible, it doesn̵

7;t mean it’s not dangerous,” said Eli Amirnasr, CEO of Raleigh-based Qlair, which specializes in analyzing and improving indoor air quality in businesses and homes.

Business has grown because of the virus, and customers are usually happy to know that many of the fixes are simple and quite cheap, Amirnasr said.

“The best thing we recommend to our customers at the moment is to improve your filtering system,” she said.

As the market was flooded with devices that claim to fight the virus, she warned people not to spend a lot of money on things like bipolar ionization systems. She agrees with a leading group on indoor air quality that there is not enough evidence that these systems work.

“The tests are done and show the effectiveness in the lab, not in real life,” she said.

Ultraviolet systems are also advertised to kill the coronavirus. Although this has been a proven method for years, killing the virus in the air in your home is actually complicated, Amirnasr said.

“UV was originally used for surface treatment, and for air treatment, if you want to do that, you have to slow down the air flow and you have to give it enough time,” she said.

Adding a UV system to your air manipulator may not work, she added: “With one switch, nothing will happen.”

Premium air intake filters for your HVAC system can capture the virus, but if you are determined to purchase a device, Amirnasr recommends that you obtain an air purification system. Although sometimes difficult to find in stores, she said make sure you get one with HEPA filters.

“HEPA filter units are very useful for capturing very small particles, especially viruses,” she said.

Qlair is working with North Carolina State University and two other schools in the University of North Carolina system to prepare for personal tuition in the spring.

The company installs sensors in laboratories and classrooms that constantly measure air quality. Using a simple red, yellow and green display, the sensor shows when it’s time to freshen the air. One of the key detection methods is the amount of carbon dioxide in the air that people exhale. Once this level rises, there is an increased risk of viral spread if someone in the room is infected.

There is no proven device to stop the virus, and Amirnasr said part of the challenge is getting reliable test results.

“Measuring the virus is almost impossible because it requires air sampling [and] laboratory tests, “she said.” This is super difficult. It is very expensive.”

But, she said, one of the best ways to fight the virus is free. Just open the doors and windows on opposite sides of the house, especially if you have guests.

“It will help to have clean air in the building,” she said. “So you’re out of the old air [and] the clean air in the building. You have fresh air and reduce the chance of a virus sitting around. “

Amirnasr recommends that people recycle indoor air two to three times an hour. Businesses need to recycle four times an hour, and schools six times an hour, only by opening the classroom window if possible.

Ceiling fans or stand-alone fans can help move air, which helps. But Amirnasr said it was not effective in itself.

“When you actually turn on the ceiling fan,” she said, “if there’s no fresh air, you’re just recirculating the air inside the building.”

“If you turn on the ceiling fan, it is better to do it only in combination with opening the window,” she added.


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