With the colder weather coming, are there any strategies I can use to reduce the risk of transmission indoors?

Families Socializing Staying Safe

A. It turns out that the #SMART principles that the Nerdy Girls have been promoting for months now have stood the test of time and apply to indoor settings as well!

For a refresher:

SPACE – Keep your distance from others (more than 6 feet is great)
MASK – Wear a mask
AIR – Ensure good airflow
RESTRICT – Limit your number of contacts
TIME – Limit the time (No matter if indoors or outdoors).

But here are a few more strategies specific to indoor settings as recommended by experts in indoor ventilation (more details in the article linked below). It’s a great assessment of the strategies that can be effective for reducing risk indoors….and those that are just a big ole waste of money. Even worse, some can be even be harmful to your health.

*DO*:

1. Open the windows: According to Dr. Joseph Allen, an expert on building safety at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, “Even just opening windows six inches can dramatically change the air exchange rate.”

2. Consider using a non-oscillating fan placed in a window as a way to increase air flow in a room. But be careful with oscillating fans – depending on their placement, these can promote circulation of the virus in a room.

3. Use an air filter, especially if you can’t open windows or ventilation is poor. Basic air filters often work best. Filters that qualify as MERV 13 or higher are recommended but MERV >=11 would suffice for ventilation systems that can’t handle anything higher. HEPA filters can also work well though less research is available on their effectiveness.

4. Use a portable humidifier at home: the virus thrives in dry air and use of a humidifier *might* reduce risk to some extent

*DON’T*:

1. Use fancy air cleaners that have been aggressively marketed to schools and businesses. These are gimmicks and not proven to work. Some can even be harmful because of release of ozone.

2. Fumigate with bleach or hydrogen peroxide. The high concentrations needed to kill the virus are toxic to human health.

3. Use UV lights: although certain wavelengths have been shown to kill viruses, these devices can cause skin burns and damage eyesight, and have not been regulated for personal use. Here’s more on our previous posts on this topic: https://bit.ly/2HLRYuf and https://bit.ly/36lP5uc

BOTTOM LINE: No single strategy will bring risk down to zero. A layered defense approach is best. But as Dr. Allen notes, “Everybody is inundated right now with the shiny new solutions that are being sold to them, and the reality is, it’s a time for the basics.”

NY TIMES LINK

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