Fight the Flu
Anybody who has been watching the news has seen the alarming reports of what may be one of the worst flu seasons in recent Southern California history. Early reports are showing more than 500x more flu cases were reported compared to this same time last year. With this year’s flu season shaping up to have major impacts on public health, it is important that we all do what we can to try not to contract or spread the virus. Some of the most common ways to help increase your chances of not getting the flu include getting your flu shot, avoiding those who have the flu, washing of hands, and keeping hydrated.
While all of the above-mentioned tips are great for helping to avoid the flu, there are other air quality factors that are not obvious. Many reports on the flu vaccine put the effectiveness rate at only around 10%; if this turns out to be accurate, it is going to be more important than ever to employ indoor air quality measures. Here are some that we recommend.
In most areas of the country, humidity takes a huge hit in the winter months. Levels in many areas including Southern California can get as low as 10-15% which is usually apparent when we start feeling our hands getting dry, cracked, and itchy. One of the most harmful elements of low humidity has been quantified by a variety of studies showing that homes and businesses that keep their relative humidity levels between 40-60% are likely to have fewer flu viruses found on surfaces.
So, not only can keeping the relative humidity in your home at a level of 40-60% help fight dry and cracked skin, but it can also help you to stay healthy this flu season.
UV Lighting Purification
Many people do not realize that nearly all hospitals, clean rooms, and sterile environments employ UV Lighting as a purification source. Most of the previously mentioned environments employ UV Lighting in the HVAC system itself. Other popular UV devices include humidifiers that include a UV chamber that is capable of killing the flu virus and many other forms of bacteria once the air that contains the bacteria or virus is circulated through the UV element.
Handheld UV devices have also grown in popularity as they can be used in offices and common areas to clean desks, keyboards, etc. While these devices do help to decrease harmful viruses and bacteria on surfaces, it is important to control particulates in the air. Since much viral transmission happens through the air, we recommend a UV sterilization/purification element that interacts directly with your home’s HVAC system.
One of the best ways to reduce the number of harmful bacteria and viruses floating through the air in your home is to remove as many of the harmful particulates as possible and to neutralize any remaining. The flu virus can be neutralized with UV light and can also be removed by many HEPA air filters; this dual approach gives your home the cleanest air possible. While almost any air filter is better than none at all it is very important to utilize filters with a trusted rating like MERV or HEPA (click here to read about filer ratings (https://wecareteam.com/news-articles/need-know-air-filter-ratings/) as many other rating systems are not universally recognized or third-party verified.
When it comes to air filtration, there are many stand-alone models that can be put in various high-traffic areas in your home. However, we highly recommend a whole-home system. Highly efficient home air filtration systems can ensure that the air being circulated through your home is being filtered automatically and entirely. Stand-alone units are only able to interact with a very small portion of the air in your home. Not only does a filter that integrates with your HVAC system help filter air from all rooms in your home, but it can also be combined with a UV light source to help filter and sanitize the air in a single step.
We hope that you have found this information helpful and hope that you will contact us with any questions you may have. Please also be sure to download the document we have below that has all 5 ways to help avoid the flu this season.