How to protect yourself from COVID-19 indoors?
It’s widely agreed that the risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus is higher in indoor settings than it is in the outdoors. The Harvard Medical School states that in outdoor settings the constant air flow is more likely to ‘scatter and dilute the virus, making transmission less likely than in a home, office, or other confined space with limited air circulation.’
The British Medical Journal also found evidence to back this with the analysis of 110 cases in Japan, trying to ascertain who and where the infections were coming from. The results indicated that ‘closed environments contribute to secondary transmission of COVID-19 and promote superspreading events’.
This outdoors v indoors message has been consistently reinforced by leading authorities, and especially recently with the winter months setting in for many. The World Health Organisation have said that ventilation is a really important factor when it comes to preventing COVID-19 from being spread indoors.
A message that has been echoed in the UK Government’s campaign ‘Hands, Face, Space’, who produced a video last month that shows how the virus can be spread in indoor settings. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention also advises socialising in outdoor settings (at a safe distance), to reduce the risks.
What is it about the indoors?
These are the main factors about the indoors that make them a higher risk to the spread of COVID-19:
- People are usually closer together
- Might be unable to properly socially distance
- Less likely to wear a facemask
- With the weather turning colder and wetter, we’re less likely to open windows
- The cold means many indoor settings will be heated, which makes the air drier, which is an ideal environment for the virus
- Indoor ventilation, heating, and cooling systems recycle and move around germ-filled air
What can you do to protect yourself when inside?
Here are four things that you can do to minimise the risk of COVID-19 when indoors:
- If it’s a small or stuffy space, avoid it
- Open as many windows as possible
- Check the filters in your ventilation system regularly
- Install air sterilisers in regularly used transient spaces
If it’s a small or stuffy space, avoid it
This one is pretty straightforward – if it’s a small and confined space, then it’s best to avoid it as much as you can. Smaller, more confined spaces mean there’s less volume for the air to move around in, and so any virus lingering in the air has a higher probability of reaching you.
Open as many windows as possible
As we’ve already mentioned, good ventilation is key in indoor settings. And the easiest way to get fresh air flowing into a space as by simply opening up as many windows as you can. Of course, this may not always be possible in all spaces, and especially with the winter season now setting in. This is where air sterilisers come in, which we’ll talk about below.
Check the filters in your ventilation system regularly
A modern ventilation system will typically have filters, but a number of studies have found that COVID-19 can get trapped in these filters. So, a way to avoid this from happening, it’s important to regularly check and test the filters in your system. That way, if the virus is found in the ventilation filters, it can be dealt with and removed quickly.
Install air sterilisers in regularly used transient spaces
Air sterilisers are devices that use a technology which creates UV light, ozone, and negatively-charged ions. These all exist in the environment already, so are safe, and are actually quite powerful methods of disinfection. They eliminate bacteria, viruses, mould, and can break down unwanted chemicals and smells.
Having an air steriliser on your premises can really help in cleaning the air around you, and goes towards reducing the likelihood and risk of COVID-19 being and staying present.
You can find out more about air sterilisers and how they work in our guide we put out recently.