The importance of indoor air quality related to Covid-19.

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The awareness about the importance of indoor environmental health has never been so high before.

After the emergency related to Covid-19 pandemic, the control of air quality aimed at ensuring indoor health and safety becomes paramount. For a greater resilience of workplaces, while frequent disinfections are required, they may pose a threat for the health of occupants.

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Indoor air quality and Covid-19

In front of the introduction of public health measures to prevent and delay the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, the indoor air quality assumes a significant importance for the health protection of citizens and workers.

Adequate behavioral rules play an important role in improving indoor air quality and even more in relation to the containment of the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in different environments.

The Italian Institute of Health (Istituto Superiore di Sanità) has published recommendations about the actions to be taken in domestic and work environments, in order to maintain a good level of air quality and contrast the risk of contagion by COVID-19. 

Recommendations

AIR CHANGE AND VENTILATION SYSTEMS

  • Ensure a good air exchange in all environments.
  • Open windows regularly by choosing those farther away from busy streets.
  • Do not open windows during off-peak times and do not leave them open during the night.
  • Optimize opening windows according to the activities carried out.
  • Controlled mechanical ventilation systems (VMC) must be kept on and in good working conditions.
  • Microclimatic parameters (e.g. temperature, humidity, CO2) must be monitored.
  • Turn off air recirculation in controlled mechanical ventilation systems (VMC).
  • Clean regularly the filters of the air conditioning system, check the information on the filter pack installed and eventually replace it with a more efficient one.

CLEANING AND SANITIZATION

  • Before using cleaning products read carefully the instructions and respect recommended dosages of use.
  • Clean the different environments, materials and furnishings using water and soap and/or ethyl alcohol 75% and/or sodium hypochlorite 0.5%. In all cases cleaning must be carried out with gloves and /or personal protective equipment
  • Do not mix cleaning products, especially those containing bleach or ammonia.
  • Aerate the rooms both during and after using the products for cleaning and sanitizing, especially if they are potentially toxic (check safety signs on labels), increase temporarily the VMC ventilation rates and open windows and balconies. Avoid or limit the use of perfumed cleaners, because, despite the perfume, they add pollutants and degrade indoor air quality.
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