Why aren’t media talking about indoor air quality and virus transmission?

Handwashing image from CDC
Photo: CDC

Media are talking about a narrow range of topics when it comes to transmission of the Coronavirus. From wearing masks to obsessive hand-washing, there’s been little diversity. A question is in order. Why aren’t media informing you about potential resources in fighting this virus, namely tools for cleaning up your indoor air?

Indoor Air Purifier iWave-M
iWave-M indoor air purifier (image from nuCalgon.com)

While the Coronavirus is a new bug that raises more questions than experts can answer right now, products already exist for addressing harmful particulates, and it stands to reason that if something might help, we could consider using it.

I’ve lived with someone who has worked in the HVAC industry for decades. I’ve always been perplexed by the unilateral focus on outdoor air and health and the lack of attention to indoor air. Talk to any HVAC technician and you’ll learn how dirty an air system can get. Many people don’t exactly set a schedule for system cleaning and filter replacement. Considering the apparent ease of transmission with the Coronavirus, and considering transmission is a big problem in institutions such as long term care facilities, perhaps officials and the rest of us can look at options for cleaning the air in facilities and in our homes. Hospitals already use equipment for this purpose.

When all this started, my family sat down and we asked ourselves what we would do if one of us caught the virus. We talked about how we’d cordon off a sick area and bathroom and make an attempt to contain the virus. That’s when my husband told me about a gadget that has potential to make a difference in containing any contagious illness if it’s airborne.

Products made by a company named iWave can purify air, and a number of those products are within reach of homeowners’ budgets. On the iWave website, there’s an explanation of how the products work:

“When the ions come in contact with viruses, bacteria or mold, they remove the hydrogen molecules – without them, the pathogens have no source of energy and will die.  The ions also attach to allergens like pollen and other particles, causing them to band together until they are large enough to be caught by your ventilation system’s air filter.

iWave’s technology generates the same ions that nature creates with lightening, waterfalls, ocean waves, etc.  Nature uses energy and shear to break apart molecules, naturally cleaning the air and producing a healthy environment.  The only difference between the iWave’s technology and nature is that the iWave does it without developing harmful ozone.”

Another page at iWave informs about which bacteria, viruses, and mold spores the purifiers can impact, and the numbers look impressive. For instance, on MRSA reduction, the effectiveness is 96.4 percent.

Special air filters that are HEPA compliant are also useful because nullifying any harmful material from the air you breathe indoors can only be an asset to your health.

There are cleaning products that are used on your HVAC system but are also applicable to cleaning non-porous surfaces. If you’ve been on an unsuccessful hunt for bleach, there may be a product you can find on the HVAC aisle or by asking the company maintaining your system. As with everything, read the directions and follow them closely.

So many small institutions caring for the elderly and disabled have been blindsided by this novel Coronavirus, it stands to reason that if air purification might help, it’s worth looking at. The same goes for the air in your home or workplace.

Maybe media can ditch politics for awhile and attempt to focus on things that might help the public deal with this crisis. Yet we haven’t heard a single word about virus transmission and dirty indoor air, or the impact of dirty indoor air on your immune system.

Most people right now are focused on avoiding getting Coronavirus. Few are considering what they’ll do if a loved one who lives with them contracts it. It’d be a good idea to have a plan. Most commercial systems are required to introduce a certain quantity of outside air. Residential systems usually circulate the air inside your home.

Disclosure: My husband still works in the HVAC industry, so when the industry does well, we do well. I haven’t knowingly linked to a site that benefits us in any way.

(Kay B. Day/April 2, 2020)

Cover of Rebecca Day’s new novel, ‘Derelict’.

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