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As people spend more time indoors during this pandemic, can an air purifier add that extra layer of protection against the transmission of coronavirus?
Do you remember how hard it was to get one sanitizer during March when the coronavirus just entered the country? Not many of us even thought of air cleaners or purifiers back then.
However, engineers and doctors say that these devices could play an important role in protecting your family from COVID-19.
Now that many of you are always staying at home and working indoors, pure air becomes the basic necessity to keep yourself away from the virus.
Joseph Gardner Allen, an associate professor at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health says that it is a relatively easy way to get clean air in a place where there are closer contacts.
With the new attention on the role that aerosolized microdroplets could play in the spread of COVID-19, should you rush out to buy a portable air cleaner for home use?
It is accepted that the coronavirus can move in multiple ways, though less is understood about how each of them contributes to the transmission of the disease. Those possible transmission methods include short-range air-borne particles, ballistic droplets from coughing or sneezing, long-range airborne particles, and contaminated surfaces.
Portable air cleaners can limit the spread of coronavirus via long-range airborne particles by capturing most of those particles in a HEPA filter and cleaning the air at a rate of up to six times per hour.
In a typical home without the air cleaner, the air gets fully changed out about once every two hours through air leakage, often aided by mechanical ventilation systems in newer houses.
So, in the right circumstances, portable air cleaners offer an additional layer of protection.
If you’re living by yourself and don’t have any guests coming over, it is not going to add any protection against COVID-19 in any way.
But, if you occasionally host a family member who works on the front lines, or if you are planning a learning pod for the kids, the benefits are likely worth the cost.
Or, if someone in your home gets sick with COVID-19, then purchasing an air purifier is worth the money you spent.
HEPA filters can remove 99.97 percent of the airborne particles with a size of 0.3 microns and even more particles of other sizes whether smaller or bigger.
Of course, the portable air cleaners are not a magic bullet. They are just an added layer of protection but not a substitution for everything else.
If face masks can offer 50 percent of protection against the virus, a personal air purifier can add another 25 percent of the protection, and a well-ventilated house can add protection up to 90 percent.
An air purifier should be placed near a person whose germs you want to avoid.
By Gayatri Yellayi