For two years, people wore masks, maintained physical distance, got their shots.
And now, despite all the efforts, no one or everyone in the family is finished with COVID-19. How do you prevent the virus from spreading when you live in a small area?
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends isolating CVD patients for at least five days, especially in a separate room with access to a bathroom and wearing a mask inside the home.
But for many families, those are not easy options. Not everyone has an extra bedroom, leave an extra bathroom. Young children should not be left alone, as they often do not tolerate covering their faces.
Dr. Preeti Malani, chief health officer at the University of Michigan, said, “For the parents of a young child, it is very difficult not to express oneself.” “You need to go as far as possible and manage your risk as much as possible.”
But cheer up. Scientists say people can still do much to protect their families, for example by improving ventilation and air filtration.
“Ventilation is very important,” said Dr. Amy Barzak, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. “If you care for someone at home, it’s important to maximize 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 in two years about how they became infected.
Viral particles float in the air like invisible secondhand smoke, spreading during travel. Outside the house, the air quickly spreads the virus. Inside the house, thick cigarette smoke can accumulate germs like clouds, which increases the risk of breathing.
The best way to avoid viruses is to make the inside environment as external 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 house to get air, which can help push the virus out and bring in fresh air.
For extra protection, place a box fan in the patient’s window, facing outwards, to draw out the germ-filled air. Jim Rosenthal, CEO of Tex-Air Filters, a company that manufactures air filtration products in Fort Worth, Texas, says, “Seal all openings around the fan.”
“It’s very simple and it’s cheap,” Rosenthal explained.
To prevent infected air from escaping from the sick room, Fox recommends placing a towel under the bedroom door. Human return air grills should be covered with plastic. These grills cover vents that draw air from the house and reuse it through a heating or cooling system.
Fox also suggests turning on the exhaust fan in the bathroom or kitchen, which can blow out germs-filled air. Although it’s relatively safe to run an exhaust fan while showering, Fox says it’s important to keep windows open when the fan is running for more than 10 minutes.
This is to avoid depression in the house, in a situation where carbon monoxide can enter the house from the furnace or water heater.
Lynse Marr, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech, says coronaviruses thrive in dry air and increasing the amount of moisture in the air can help inactivate them. Marr recommends increasing the humidity level from 40% to 60%.
Using a portable air purifier can provide extra protection. Studies show that high-efficiency particulate air filters, or HEPA filters, can remove coronaviruses from the air. If a person has only one HEPA filter, it is best to keep it in a sick room to catch the virus that is inhaling the patient’s breath.
“The filter should be kept as close to the source of the virus as possible,” Fox said.
Additional air filters can be used in other rooms if families can afford it.
Buying air purifiers in stores is expensive, with some models costing hundreds of dollars. However, for about 100 100, people can make their own portable purifier using a box fan, four high-efficiency air filters and duct tape.
The devices have been dubbed the Corsi-Rosenthal box, by their co-inventor, Rosenthal, and Richard Corsi, dean of the University of California-Davis School of Engineering. Cheaper boxes have been found to work alongside commercial air purifiers.
Rosenthal said the epidemic inspired him to help design the purifier. “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 at risk puts the caregiver at risk, the risk today is much lower than in the first year of the epidemic. Dr. Paul Offitt, director of the Center for Vaccine Education at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, explains that approximately 95% of the population has some immunity to coronavirus, from vaccines, previous infections, or both.
However, a recent study found that half of the people living in the homes of infected patients were also infected with the virus.
Because older adults and those who are immunocompromised are at higher risk of covid, they may consider staying with a friend or neighbor if possible until the sick family member recovers, says Priya Duggal, a professor of epidemiology at Bloomberg School. Johns Hopkins 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 subsided, 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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