Enhancing Indoor Air Quality to Minimize the Spread of Transmissible Infections 

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man at office having infection because of not proper indoor air quality monitoring

“We need our leaders to act and put in place public health mechanisms that absolutely guarantee that our air is safe to breathe,” Dr Bronwyn King AO. 

After facing a deadly pandemic, and an increase in the rate of transmissible infections, the rising concerns about indoor air quality are valid. In such situations, indoor air quality monitoring and taking measures for enhancing indoor air quality to minimize the spread of transmissible infections is mandatory.

Dr Bronwyn King AO, Burnet’s special advisor for clean air, highlighted her concerns about the spread of respiratory viruses including influenza virus, COVID-19, measles, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and whooping cough and the need for improved indoor air quality to contain the spread of these diseases. Dr. King focuses on transmissible infections that spread due to inadequate indoor quality.

In her talk with Tim Webster on ABC Radio Sydney, Dr King showed her concerns over indoor air quality monitoring in public settings, the importance of education and awareness, and the need to take practical measures for improving air quality by the leaders to set standards into building codes to promote healthier indoor environments. See details here.

Dr King’s statements are in correspondence with Professor Lidia Morawska of the Queensland University of Technology. In her paper, “Blueprint for mandating indoor air quality for public buildings in the form of standards” Prof. Lidia Morawska drives the attention of international experts to set out standards for indoor air quality monitoring for particulate matter PM 2.5 particles, CO2 and Carbon monoxide and arranging adequate ventilation for the number of occupants and activities.

Professor Lidia Morawksha conducts fundamental and applied research on the interdisciplinary field of air quality and its impact on human health and the environment. Transmissible infectious diseases, especially respiratory viruses range from 0.35- 9 μm. These viruses can easily be transmitted via aerosols, especially in crowded spaces. Although Professor Lidia Morawksha specifically focuses on airborne particulate matter, her suggestions are equally applicable to minimizing the spread of transmissible infectious diseases as both, particulate matter and transmissible infections contribute to decreasing indoor air quality, and similar measures can contain them. 

Primary Factors Affecting Indoor Air Quality

Poor indoor air is a result of multiple activities and it contains many pollutants from a variety of sources. While the most discussed factors are particulate matter and infectious agents, there are many hidden chemicals silently present in the indoor air. Some of the key factors majorly affecting indoor air quality include: 

  • Allergens and Pollutants. 
  • Ventilation and Humidity.
  • Combustion Byproducts.
  • Biological Contaminants.
  • Radioactive Gas- Radon.

Indoor Air Quality Monitoring To Minimize The Spread Of Transmissible Infections

There are many transmissible infections. Most of them enter the body through ingestion and direct contact. Only a few of them are transmissible via aerosols. Monitoring the indoor air quality for the presence of aerosols that transport transmissible infections and taking measures to stop their transmission is an effective way to limit their spread. It saves the people from diseases. Real-time monitoring devices to check the air for quality continuously assist air quality or infection control specialists to take immediate actions and minimize the spread of transmissible infections. 

Scientists use various technologies and advanced tools to detect infectious agents in the indoor air. The technology includes

  • Aerosole collection and detection devices
  • Whole cell-based biosensors
  • Biosensor technology 
  • IoT-based systems 
  • Air samplers
  • Portable air cleaners 
  • Computer modeling 
  • Technological arsenal 
  • Heating, ventilation and Air-conditioning (HVAC) system 

Indoor Air Quality Monitoring In Australia

Indoor air quality assessment in Australia is critical to ensure the health and safety of individuals in different indoor environments especially due to rising bushfire incidents and climatic changes. Pollutants from other sources such as wood-fire heaters, heavy industries, and traffic emissions also remain primary contributors to pollutants in indoor air.

Many companies in Australia offer comprehensive air quality monitoring services. They address the diverse needs of different workplaces and indoor settings. In their services, they monitor the indoor air for various harmful indoor air pollutants such as carbon monoxide, dust, different chemicals, silica, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and more. After monitoring, these companies also provide solutions to improve indoor air quality and create safer working environments.

Unluckily, in Australia, there are no specific legislative standards for assessing and maintaining the pollutant levels in indoor air. As health problems due to poor indoor air quality are surfacing, maintaining indoor air quality is becoming a rising concern in residential and commercial settings.

In such a situation, the concerned departments for indoor air quality such as the State and Territory Health Departments, the National Environment Protection Council (NEPC), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must take appropriate steps to maintain indoor air quality in the future. Companies offering indoor air quality monitoring and assessment can use these standards to compare the measures of pollutant levels and take steps to improve indoor air quality.

Professor Lidia Morawksha and Dr Bronwyn King AO are playing an active role in driving the attention of authorities to pay concern towards the rising issues and save people and their environment by taking adequate measures. 

Steps To Minimize Spread of Transmissible Infections In Indoor Settings

Transmissible infections pose a high risk to the health and safety of human beings. Here are some steps to minimize their spread in indoor settings and make our environment safer. 

 

Enhance Ventilation and Air Quality

Ventilation systems are important to move indoor air out of closed spaces and bring in fresh air. A sufficient ventilation system per the number of occupants in the indoor environment and their activities is efficient to minimize indoor transmission of infections.

Enhancing ventilation by using technically enhanced air disinfection and particle filtration to remove infections, avoiding air recirculation, and preventing overcrowding are some of the most efficient measures to limit transmission of infections and improve indoor air quality. 

 

Promote Using Personal Protective Measures

Using personal protective measures protects from disease transmission by direct contact or through aerosols. Frequent hand washing, covering sneezes and coughs, and using personal safety equipment wherever required, minimize the spread of transmissible infections effectively.  

 

Educate the Public About Infection Control Practices 

The most important thing to control the spread of infection is to educate the general public regarding the health risks and how they can protect themselves. Creating awareness about transmission-based precautions and encouraging individuals to follow them is the first line of defence against the transmission of infectious diseases.

Educating people with TV commercials, running campaigns and setting up small educational setups to educate the public about infection control practices have a positive outcome on the overall infection control regime. 

 

Optimize Administrative and Engineering Controls

Structured administrative protocols to avoid overcrowding of indoor spaces, separating people with respiratory disease symptoms from non-infected ones mandating practices like the use of protective gear and maintaining distance plays a crucial role in limiting the spread of transmissible infections.

Implementing engineering controls to minimise the spread of transmissible infections is an advanced way to enhance indoor air quality. Screening patients for symptoms, setting up triage stations, and optimizing ventilation using enhanced filters are some of the frequently used engineering controls. 

 

Indoor Air Quality Monitoring and Management 

Monitoring indoor air quality using monitoring devices tells details about the concentration levels of fine particulates, or chemicals in the air. Daily or annual air quality monitoring allows residential and commercial owners to identify potential issues and take measures to manage them accordingly.

Euromate Pure Air- Indoor Air Quality Monitoring Services In Melbourne

Euromate Pure Air is a Melbourne-based company specializing in industrial, commercial, and medical air purifiers and filtration systems to help maintain indoor air quality in various indoor settings. Offering excellence, expertise, and cost-efficiency, their comprehensive services help enhance indoor air quality and minimize the spread of transmissible infections. Contact Euromate Pure Air for air quality monitoring and assessment service