Guest Blog By: AeraMax Professional from Fellowes Brands | June 25, 2020
The Airborne Threat is Real
The rapid global spread of COVID-19 has increased our urgency to protect ourselves and each other. Healthy and safe facilities matter now, more than ever.
The novel coronavirus COVID-19 has shed new light on the near-invisible world of viruses and germs, with the general public becoming acutely aware of aerosol transmissions and virus spread. For businesses, there’s an added complexity, as they need to both clean facilities and communicate to occupants that safety and security are primary objectives in their daily tasks. That’s not easy, given emerging information.
Global healthcare experts and virologists agree: airborne aerosol transmission of viruses poses a significant threat.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that COVID-19 can travel up to 13 feet in the air1
- The New England Journal of Medicine reported the virus can remain suspended in air for up to 3 hours2
What’s more, the report “Airborne Transmission of SARS-CoV-2: The World Should Face the Reality”3 outlines that while hand washing and maintaining social distance are two methods of mitigating exposure to COVID-19, they are not clearly enough. That’s because the droplets of infectious fluid can travel tens of meters through the air.
According to researchers, as the liquid in airborne infectious droplets begin to evaporate, they become so small that air currents affect them more than gravity, meaning they float—and float for great distances. The report goes on to state that truly effective precautions against COVID-19—and viruses in general—must be rooted in cleaning the air in indoor spaces.
That’s backed up by a University of Nebraska study4, which tracked individuals who tested positive for COVID-19, finding that viral shedding—the contamination of areas that come in contact with infected people—extended to toilets, surfaces and the very air in enclosed spaces.
So, the coronavirus can be detected in the air for hours...and travel great distances in the air. It makes sense that—for facility managers and safety personnel—cleaning the air should be just as important air cleaning surfaces and encouraging hand sanitation.
Graphic via AeraMax Professional showing how respiratory droplets can linger in the air
The Experts Agree
ASHRAE, the world’s largest association dedicated to the subject of ventilation and air quality (HVAC), published a statement regarding transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and the operation of HVAC systems during the COVID-19 pandemic which opened with:
"Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 through the air is sufficiently likely that airborne exposure to the virus should be controlled."
The CDC recently published their guidance for office facilities looking to re-open to employees, which included the following statement:
“Consider using portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) fan/ filtration systems to help enhance air cleaning (especially in higher risk areas).”5
A proactive approach must consist of three essential components for protection against virus transmission in shared environments: washing your hands, disinfecting surfaces and cleaning the air.
A Proactive Multi-Pronged Approach
1. Hand Washing
Properly washing your hands is the first line of defense and one of the easiest ways for everyone to stay healthy and prevent the spread of many illnesses, but how and when one washes their hands is just as important.
Handwashing relies on the friction between your hands and the lather from soap which lift and suspend dirt and germs to work, and to be effective you need to rub your wrists, the back of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails, which takes approximately 20-30 seconds.
There are also key moments when you should wash your hands, such as before and after preparing or eating food, after using the toilet, after coughing or sneezing, touching high contact surfaces like handles, etc.
2. Cleaning and Disinfecting Surfaces
Frequently cleaning and disinfection of high touch surfaces will also help in reducing the spread and minimizing the potential transmission of any viruses or other pathogens between people.
Unless a one-step cleaner and disinfectant is used, it is essential to clean a surface first and then sanitize or disinfect it following the instructions on the product label. Not all disinfectants can be used against COVID-19, so double-check your product's EPA Registration Number against those listed on the EPA's List N.
3. Cleaning the Air
The CDC and the American Society of Heating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRE) have recommended the use of air purifiers6 as one of the ways that businesses can reduce transmission of COVID-19 among workers.
Finally, commercial-grade air purifiers, like those from AeraMax Professional, actively remove indoor pollutants that have become airborne, effectively and efficiently providing a safer, healthier environment for your occupants.
AeraMax Professional's commercial-grade air purifiers are workhorses and REMOVE up to 99.97% of airborne pollutants from indoor spaces. Their comprehensive hospital-like four-stage filtration system traps odors, bacteria, germs and other harmful pollutants like volatile organic compounds, providing cleaned, fresh air. In fact, these purifiers are the only solution proven in independent testing to capture the airborne flu virus.
WAXIE's Account Consultants and Specialists are great resources in developing customized cleaning programs and providing expert training to janitorial staffs. Contact us to request a re-entry consultation.
About Fellowes Brands: Celebrating its 103rd year under the private ownership and executive leadership of the Fellowes family, Fellowes Brands is a global leader of broad-based business solutions which help professionals be their best and feel their best. Headquartered in Itasca, Illinois, USA, Fellowes Brands operates from 24 locations across the globe. For more information, please visit: www.fellowesbrands.com
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):Aerosol and Surface Distribution of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 in Hospital Wards, Wuhan, China, 2020
- The New England Journal of Medicine: Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1
- Airborne Transmission of SARS-CoV-2: The World Should Face the Reality
- University of Nebraska Study: Aerosol and Surface Transmission Potential of SARS-CoV-2
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): COVID-19 Employer Information for Office Buildings
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers Responding to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), May 2020