For two years, you beat adversity. You wore a mask, you kept your distance, you got your shot.
Now, despite that effort, you, your child, or anyone else in your household has come up with the Covid-19. And the last thing you want is for the virus to spread in the family or everyone in the family. But how can you prevent it from circulating when you are nearby?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends isolating covid patients for at least five days, especially in a separate room with access to their own bathroom, as well as wearing hard-working masks for both the patient and the caregiver. But for many families, those are not easy options. Not everyone has an extra bedroom, leave a free bathroom. Young children should not be left alone, and the youngest cannot tolerate masks.
Dr. Preeti Malani, chief health officer at the University of Michigan, said: “For the parents of a young child, it is difficult not to disclose. “You have to work as best you can and manage your risk as much as possible.”
But mind you. Scientists say people can still do a lot to protect their families, the main ones being improving ventilation and air filtration.
Dr. Amy Barzak, an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, said: “If you’re caring for someone at home, it’s really important to make the most of all the interventions that work.”
To understand why good ventilation can make a difference, it helps to understand how the new coronavirus spreads. Scientists have learned a lot about its infectious process in two years.
Viral particles float in the air like invisible secondhand smoke, spreading during travel. Outside the house, the viruses quickly spread through the air. Inside, thick cigarette smoke can create germs like clouds, increasing the risk of inhaling the virus.
The best way to avoid viruses is to make your indoor environment as outdoor as possible.
Joseph Fox, a heating, ventilation and air conditioning engineer in a large school district in Ontario, Canada, says start by opening the windows as much as the weather allows. If possible, open the windows on the opposite side of the room to create a cross breeze, which can help sweep out viruses and bring fresh air inside.
For extra protection, place a box fan in the patient’s window, facing outwards, to ventilate outside. Jim Rosenthal, CEO of Tex-Air Filters, a company that makes air filtration products in Fort Worth, Texas, says seal any open space around the fan.
“It’s really easy, and it’s cheap,” Rosenthal said.
To prevent airborne contaminants from escaping, Fox recommends weaving a towel under the bedroom door. Human return air grills should be covered with plastic. These grills cover vents that suck indoor air and reuse it through a heating or cooling system.
Fox also recommends turning on the exhaust fan in the bathroom or kitchen, which can ventilate outside. Although it is relatively safe to operate the exhaust fan while bathing, Fox says it is important to keep the windows open when operating the fan for more than 10 minutes. This is to avoid depression in the house, a situation that could lead to carbon monoxide being pulled into the house from the furnace or water heater.
Coronaviruses grow in dry air and increasing the amount of moisture in the air can help neutralize them, says Linse Marr, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech. Marr recommends raising humidity levels to between 40% and 60%.
Using a portable air cleaner can provide extra protection. Studies show that high-efficiency particulate air filters, or HEPA filters, can remove coronaviruses from the air. If people have only one HEPA filter, it is best to keep it in the sacrum to prevent any respiratory viruses in the patient.
“You want to keep the filter close to the source [of the virus] As much as possible, “Fox said.
If affordable for families, additional air cleaners can be used in other homes.
Store-bought air purifiers can be expensive, with some models costing hundreds of dollars. Yet for about 100 100, people can make their own portable air cleaner using a box fan, four high-efficiency air filters and duct tape. The devices are called the Corsi-Rosenthal box, after the names of Rosenthal and Richard Corsi, co-inventors of the Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of California-Davis. Low-cost boxes have been found to work alongside commercial air purifiers.
Rosenthal said the epidemic inspired him to help design air purifiers. “We are not helpless,” Rosenthal said. “We need to provide tools that people can use right now to make things better.”
Although caring for a loved one through Covid puts the caregiver at risk, the risk today is much lower than in the first year of the epidemic. Dr. Paul Ofit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said approximately 95% of the population has some immunity to the coronavirus, due to the vaccine, pre-infection or both.
Nevertheless, a recent study found that half of the people living in an infected patient’s home were also infected.
Priya Duggal, a professor of epidemiology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg, says older people and those who are immunocompromised have a higher risk of covid, and may consider staying with a friend or neighbor until a sick family member recovers. School of Public Health.
Patients may be considered covid-free after a negative PCR test, Barakzak said. Since patients with a small amount of residual virus may continue to test positive for PCR for several weeks, long after the symptoms have disappeared, patients may also use rapid antigen testing to evaluate their progress. If the antigen test is negative for two consecutive days, then a person is less likely to be infected.
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