Published: June 30, 2020.
The prevailing pandemic has created a historical pressure on healthcare and our care workers who struggle daily in a very special and stressful work situation. The industry's working environment and its potential risks have never been as scrutinized and important as they are now.
The physical working environment
The fact that hospitals and care environments have extremely high standards of hygiene is nothing new. The prevailing pandemic, however, has focused the world's eyes on the industry and the risks that staff are exposed to daily.
The effects on occupational health can be divided into mental and physical factors. The psychological factors include stress, well-being, work culture, and belonging. The physical factors have to do with the working environment and the premises, which include, among other things, air quality, light, sound levels, and work equipment.
Air purification in health care environments
At the time of writing, the majority of questions are about the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), its pathways of infection, and how to minimize the risks to health care personnel. There are still many question marks around the virus that cause COVID-19 and the answers may vary depending on the source. We asked one of our experts, Bo Dolk-Petersson, Head of R&D at QleanAir Scandinavia, to tell us what he thinks about air cleaning in hospital environments.
Can an air purifier reduce the spread of coronavirus?
This is an extremely complex question and at present, it is not possible to give a clear answer. We are closely following the studies that are ongoing and are actively involved in questions about how the virus spreads and how it behaves in the air. To answer whether an air purifier can catch a virus, that particular product and filter set must be tested for the specific virus; in this case the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. At present, there are no such test results.
That being said, we know that the virus is in the air for a certain amount of time. According to the Swedish Public Health Authority, the virus is spread mainly through contact infections and droplet infections. The microscopically small droplets (micro-aerosols) that spread in the air when coughing and sneezing can be carriers of the virus. These micro-aerosols are airborne for some time, but the question is how long they stay in the air and how far they can travel. It is very important to point out that droplet infection is not the same as what is called airborne infection. When a virus is classified as airborne, it is found that it can be transported long distances in the air and inhale; one such example being the influenza virus.
Does QleanAir have an air purifier for hospital environments?
Yes, the FS 70 HEPA is equipped with HEPA 14 filters; the same air filter used in operating rooms. It is a very powerful air cleaner with an airflow of up to 3000 m3 per hour, but the air cleaner is always set to a level based on room size and needs, as comfort can be affected by excessive airflow. We recommend at least 10 air changes per hour.
The unique thing about this model is that it can deliver high air exchange with a pleasant sound level, so it does not disturb staff and patients. It has wheels and plugs into a regular electrical outlet, which makes it easy to move when needed.
All our air purifiers have airflow control, which means that the unit automatically ensures that it continues to produce the same amount of clean air throughout the cycle between filter changes. Having the same level of efficiency over time becomes especially important in health care environments.
Another advantage of FS 70 HEPA is that it can be transformed to create one or more suppressor compartments, which the European Infection Protection Agency recommends for some infection departments. This model is easily and quickly fixed. I would be happy to tell more of whoever is interested.
Is there any reason to install the FS 70 HEPA now if you are not sure that it is handling the new virus?
In recent years, it has become widely known how much the effect of air quality has on our health. We measure particle contents before and after installation and see a very sharp reduction in the number of particles in the air. We believe that particles can also act as carriers for viruses.
The air purifier spreads HEPA-purified air and ensures that the room air is changed a certain number of times every hour.
We await the results of studies of the coronavirus, but we know that our air purifiers significantly improve air quality and that better air quality has a positive effect on human health. However, it is important to point out that air cleaning does not replace ventilation and personal protective equipment; it is a compliment.
Do you have questions about our air purifiers and services? Want to know more about how the FS 70 HEPA can create overpressure and suppression rooms? You can reach us at 08-556 979 00, weekdays 08–17, and via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on how we handle the current Corona situation, please see this page.