Safety

Air control equals infection control: Fine tune your internal air quality to slow the spread and growth of bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens

Healthcare Life Safety Compliance, February 25, 2021

This is an excerpt from a member only article. To read the article in its entirety, please login or subscribe to Healthcare Life Safety Compliance.

by Brian Ward

Internal air quality (IAQ) might not immediately come to mind when one thinks of infection control, but it is a crucial component. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) says in its Position Document on Infectious Aerosols that “now that microbiologists understand that many pathogens can travel through both contact and airborne routes, the role of indoor air management has become critical to successful [infection] prevention efforts.”

“The risk of pathogen spread, and therefore the number of people exposed, can be affected both positively and negatively by the airflow patterns in a space and by heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) and local exhaust ventilation (LEV) systems.”

This is particularly important when dealing with airborne pathogens like the flu or coronavirus. The temperature and humidity of your building can either help or hinder the spread and growth of mold, bacteria, viruses, and other contaminants.

Finding ways to improve your HVAC systems can be difficult, particularly with the financial strain that many healthcare organizations find themselves in. But there are some simple steps to improve your IAQ, says Eric Mitchell, a principal and director of mechanical engineering at Goldman Copeland, a New York City–based consulting engineering firm.

This is an excerpt from a member only article. To read the article in its entirety, please login or subscribe to Healthcare Life Safety Compliance.

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