Tag Archives: viruses

Removing the fear of going to the doctor’s office

For many people, a trip to the local doctor’s office—for whatever reason, big or small—is fraught with fear. There’s even a term for it: White Coat Syndrome. Seems that sufferers of White Coat Syndrome show signs of an elevated heart rate, increased blood pressure and rapid breathing when in a physician’s office, often skewing the results of standard diagnostic tests. They even get so worked up they may forget salient details as to why they came to see a doctor in the first place, requiring them to write down all questions and concerns.

Now with the spread of COVID-19, sufferers of White Coat Syndrome—and everyone else—have more concerns about entering a doctor’s office. That’s because the novel coronavirus is transmitted via aerosolized droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. And it’s logical that infected people would seek out treatment in doctor’s offices, where they would come in contact with other people susceptible to the contagion.

According to the New York Times, people are avoiding hospitals and doctor’s offices, cancelling regularly scheduled appointments and limiting their trips to the doctor’s for minor illness and injuries. And, according to the Boston Globe, emergency rooms across the country have seen a 40 percent drop in cases. People just aren’t going to seek physicians.

Removing the fear of going to the doctor’s office

It’s not for lack of trying from major health institutions though. The Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins, the Cleveland Clinic and others have issued statements and public service announcements regarding doctor visits during the pandemic, outlining ways for people to be safer. These include wearing masks, using hand sanitizers and social distancing when in waiting rooms.

Another way to ensure the safety of patients and staff: installing free-standing air purification systems, like Aeramax Professional air purifiers. These commercial-grade purifiers use a four-stage True HEPA filtration system to remove up to 99.97 percent of airborne contaminants, like viruses, the flu, bacteria and germs from enclosed spaces.  Since they are portable, they don’t add additional burden to existing HVAC systems, like bulky in-system HEPA filters do, and can be located in spots here people congregate, like waiting rooms.

Removing the fear of going to the doctor’s office

In fact, scientists have taken up the call for the use of air purifiers. In the September issue of the journal Environment International, researchers outlined the positive effects of using air purifiers to combat the transmission of COVID-19 in indoor air:

“While uncertainties remain regarding the relative contributions of the different transmission pathways, we argue that existing evidence is sufficiently strong to warrant engineering controls targeting airborne transmission as part of an overall strategy to limit infection risk indoors. Appropriate building engineering controls include sufficient and effective ventilation… enhanced by particle filtration and air disinfection, avoiding air recirculation and avoiding overcrowding. Often, such measures can be easily implemented and without much cost…”

So, while air purifiers can’t eliminate a fear of white coats, they can alleviate concerns for virus and bacteria transmission, making it safer to go back to a doctor’s office again.

 

The recent coronavirus pandemic has placed a spotlight on school safety and the reopening of classrooms across the United States; a mix of local mandates and orders have kept some kids home with virtual learning, while others have opted for in-person classes. Still, parents, school officials and community members are concerned about the health and welfare of children in classrooms.

And for good reason. Kids spend upwards of 1,000 hours in classrooms each year—and those classrooms often have poor indoor air quality, what with germs, viruses, odors and bacteria floating in stale, recirculated air. This air quality is one reason childhood asthma is on the rise: according to the Centers for Disease Control, asthma increased by 25 percent between 2001 and 2011, with an increase highest among Black children at more than a 50 percent jump. Indeed, 5.5 million children under the age of 18 are affected by asthma. And, according to the CDC, poor indoor air quality can trigger asthma events.

Kids in school wearing masks

Air needs to be a priority.

While wearing masks inside classrooms and school buildings can help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, wearing masks can’t solve the health concerns entirely. Instead, focusing on cleaning indoor air is a priority. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency believes improving indoor air quality can reduce absenteeism, boost performance and enhance test scores.

A key to improving indoor air lies in exploring the ventilation system and the ability to provide more air exchanges per hour. To this end, many schools can’t overhaul their existing HVAC systems, but can augment them with standalone units. According to Joshua Santarpia, a microbiologist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, air purifiers—like our own line of AeraMax Professional commercial grade units—could “dramatically reduce airborne contaminants.”

Public health experts advocate air filtration and ventilation

That sentiment is echoed by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, which advocates for freestanding air filtration units to complement existing HVAC systems in schools to reduce airborne contaminants.

And while portable air purification units can augment the use of Personal Protective Equipment, like face masks and shields, there’s an added benefit: they help the overall cleaning process for schools, which typically focus on hand washing and surface cleaning.

Classroom with Aeramax Pro

School administrators see the benefits

That’s what Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary School in Athens, Georgia found out when it installed AeraMax Professional air purifiers in select classrooms. These commercial-grade four-stage filtration systems feature HEPA filters to effectively and efficiently remove up to 99.97 percent of airborne contaminants, like the flu, bacteria, germs, viruses, odors and volatile organic compounds, for classroom air.

“Within the first week of installation, we could tell a difference in the rooms,” Dr. Scarlett Dunne, principal at Oglethorpe, said. “There was a noticeable change…It smelled much fresher and we could see a difference in (the amount of) coughing and sneezing.” Facilities personnel also noticed less dust on surfaces, accelerating the nightly cleaning process.

Additionally, a survey conducted by administrators of teachers showed that the teachers also felt better. Likewise, anecdotal conversations with parents revealed that the parents noticed a difference in their children’s health.

So, AeraMax Professional can be an integral part in bringing about a new normal to classrooms, one involving more than just face masks and social distancing. Instead, this new normal will hinge on one thing: fresher air.

When business owners hear that indoor air is two to five times more polluted than outdoor air—which is already heavily polluted—they think the solution lies in focusing on the building’s HVAC system. But that may not solve the problem of poor air quality.
Here’s why:

 

HVAC systems recirculate

HVAC systems work because they recirculate air. But they don’t do a thing about cleaning the air. Filters can trap very large particles, but things like volatile organic compounds (VOCs), germs, bacteria and allergens pass right through typical HVAC filters. That doesn’t alleviate the problem of poor air quality inside buildings.

Business owners and facility managers may think installing HEPA filters in existing HVAC systems will do the trick. It won’t. That’s because HEPA filters designed specifically for HVAC systems are bulky, and while they do a better job of trapping germs in the direct area near the intake, these thick filters drag down HVAC efficiency, significantly reducing airflow. So, HVAC will work harder, break down more often and still not solve the poor air quality problem. Additionally, these modifications to existing HVAC systems do nothing for areas that aren’t near the intakes.

HVAC systems spread germs farther and faster through recirculation.

Perhaps most importantly, HVAC systems spread germs farther and faster through recirculation. In essence, HVAC systems are air movers, not air improvers. There just isn’t enough efficiency in HVAC systems, because they are designed first and foremost to push air throughout buildings. Also, HVAC systems focus on the entirety of buildings, pushing air at the same rate throughout. That means indoor air quality problem areas will be ignored.

 

For improvement in IAQ, focus on cleaning instead of moving the air

Instead of recirculating poor air, building managers and business owners need to focus on removing it. In our opinion, the best way to do that is by installing AeraMax Professional air purifiers. These commercial-grade systems use hospital-type True HEPA filtration to effectively, quickly and efficiently remove 99.97 percent of airborne contaminants, like germs, bacteria, smoke, odors, allergens and VOCs, from indoor air. The four-stage filtration systems work automatically, because the units sense when poor air is present, adjusting to remove the bad air.

And, AeraMax Professional offers an array of different units to accommodate a variety of room sizes—and even have portable units so specific areas can be targeted on the fly, by moving the purifier into offending areas.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the dental profession is one of the most dangerous, because of the typical working conditions and chances of breathing in harmful contaminants.

But some of the dangers affecting dental lab workers aren’t because of dust coming from the substrates they work with—germs, bacteria and viruses affect workers, too. Given the close proximity of work stations and workers, the threat of catching the flu or germ-spread diseases is very real.

So how can the dental profession combat contaminants? There are several ways.

First, supervisors should encourage workers who are ill to stay away—sounds harsh, but the transmission of flu and viruses can be greatly reduced by ensuring sick workers stay home.

They should frequently wash their hands to remove any germs they might come in contact with on common surfaces, like doorknobs, tabletops and the like.

And for those workers who are on-the-job?

They should frequently wash their hands to remove any germs they might come in contact with on common surfaces, like doorknobs, tabletops and the like.

The complete line of AeraMax Professional air purifiers does just that, removing up to 99.97 percent of contaminants—like viruses, germs, bacteria, allergens, volatile organic compounds and odors—from indoor air. Using hospital-like True HEPA filtration, these purifiers sense when the air is dirty and work quietly and efficiently to automatically rid the air of pollutants. As an added bonus, commercial-grade AeraMax Professional air purifiers help dental labs keep ahead of the ever-present problem of airborne dust derived from grinding and casting molds.

AeraMax Professional had a great chance to spread the Gospel of Clean Air when it was invited to shed light on air purity challenges in the dental lab industry during a two-part interview featured on the Voices from the Bench podcast recently. Voices from the Bench, hosted by industry professionals Elvis Dahl and Barbara Warner Wojdan, explores a variety of dental lab topics, ranging from emerging technologies to industry news.

AeraMax Professional sheds light on air purity challenges in the dental lab industry.

 

For a two-part interview (episodes 25 and 26, available here) ), the pair created a roundtable with Tad Friess of Rockert Dental Labs, Mike Booth, AeraMax’s Senior Global Market Manager—Air Treatment, and Blake Bobosky, AeraMax’s VP/GM of Air Treatment Sales, North America. The group discusses the challenges facing dental lab owners and employees who work in dust- and odor-filled environments. Friess also recounted the work done by staff at AeraMax Professional to identify previous poor air quality issues at his lab, as well as the solutions provided through the installation of AeraMax Professional air purification units, stating that the installation completely eradicated the dust and air quality issues.

LISTEN HERE:

Part 1

Part 2