In India, after passing through several phases of lockdown because of the COVID – 19 pandemic, by now, we are quite accustomed to home dwelling. Digesting the repeated hammering through all kinds of media – we all have (at least partially) understood that we should avoid going out of respective homes unless and until it is absolutely necessary.
But, are we really safe at home? Not really, unless we meticulously follow some strategic measures. As per the latest findings of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “SARS-CoV-2 viral particles spread between people more readily indoors than outdoors. Indoors, the concentration of viral particles is often higher than outdoors, where even a light wind can rapidly reduce concentrations. When indoors, ventilation mitigation strategies can help reduce viral particle concentration. The lower the concentration, the less likely viral particles can be inhaled into the lungs (potentially lowering the inhaled dose); contact eyes, nose, and mouth; or fall out of the air to accumulate on surfaces. Protective ventilation practices and interventions can reduce the airborne concentrations and reduce the overall viral dose to occupants.”
Then what exactly do we need to do to make our homes safer? CDC is stressing on improving home ventilation. In this regard, CDC’s suggestions are mostly based on findings of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). As around 5% of Indian households are equipped with AC compared to 90% in the United States, let me put here their suggestions for the non-AC households. ASHRAE is stressing on increasing the introduction of outdoor air at home. We have to keep open windows and doors, when weather conditions permit that. As per them, even a slightly open window can introduce beneficial outdoor air, and also use of window-fans to increase the effectiveness of open windows.
When it comes to the use of pedestal or table or wall fans, we often fail to place them strategically, thus, often the contaminated air directly flows from one person to another, which should be avoided. ASHRAE also recommends use of exhaust fans, which exhaust room air to the outdoors. Although these actions are very simple, they make our homes much safer.
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