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Two office staff working in desks with masks to prevent spread of COVID-19 Two office staff working in desks with masks to prevent spread of COVID-19

How to Improve Indoor Air Quality to Prevent COVID-19

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Rap Interiors

In January 2020, the first two cases of COVID-19 in the UK were confirmed. Nearly a year and three national lockdowns later, we are still in the grip of the pandemic, but thanks to science we now know far more about how the disease spreads and, crucially, how to best protect ourselves against it.

As we prepare to return to our workplaces, those that have been left vacant during the lockdowns will mean the AC hasn’t been in use. Poor bacteria can harvest in AC units so when you turn them on, you are at risk of potentially flooding the air with stagnant bacteria.

In this blog, we take a look at how you can improve your air quality in the office so that when you return the air is clean and safe to work in.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), current evidence suggests that the main ways the virus spreads are by respiratory droplets among people who are in close proximity and through touching contaminated surfaces.

This is why we’ve been subjected to 2m social distancing and face-covering rules, all the while producers of hand-sanitisers are — pardon the pun — rubbing their hands together due to a spike in sales.

As we’ve learned more about the way COVID-19 has spread, we’ve also seen more discussion about indoor air quality (IAQ) — and with good reason.

Not only are we more likely to be exposed to invisible airborne droplets and smaller particles (known as aerosols) indoors, it is acknowledged that the risk of infection is increased in spaces with poor humidity, temperature and dust levels. Furthermore, a recent study showed that air pollution significantly increases the COVID-19 death rate due to its impact on the lungs and respiratory system.

Tube of hand sanister to use to wash hands to prevent the spread of COVID-19 Tube of hand sanister to use to wash hands to prevent the spread of COVID-19

While clean air is more important than ever at this unprecedented time, the subject of air quality extends beyond COVID-19.

It has long been known that poor air quality is bad for your health, with negative effects including shortness of breath; irritation of the eyes, nose and throat; and, in more serious cases, asthmatic episodes or the worsening of other respiratory conditions.

But, as with COVID-19, the golden question is how do you eliminate the threat of something that you can’t see?

The answer lies largely in technology. While the negative effects of bad air are tangible, identifying poor indoor air quality without technology is difficult. The good news is there are a number of systems out there which measure IAQ through responsive technology.

For example, Aerum and Healthy Air Technology Ltd. — a company set up by Oxford University scientists with an R&D background — recently developed advanced software that can measure levels of humidity, volatile organic compounds (VOC), dust, CO2 emissions, temperature and more.

To accompany this, the company has also developed medical-grade purifiers that can trap and eradicate up to 99.5% of harmful substances. This represents a technological breakthrough in relation to COVID-19, as the disease’s infected organisms can remain active for up to 28 days on inanimate objects.

In addition to embracing new technology, there are a number of simple things we can do to improve indoor air quality.

These include:

  • cleaning air ducts
  • making sure vents aren’t blocked by furniture
  • introducing toxin-absorbing plants
  • opening the windows to limit the re-circulation of the same air

Metrikus, a market leader in smart building software UK, and a network colleague member of BITA, have created air purification technology that reduces the risk of transmission to create a safe environment.

Their software, air quality sensor, and a state of the art air purifier, removes over 99.5% of all harmful substances from the air, including viruses and bacteria from swim flu particles.

This system is currently in use in hundreds of buildings (including hospitals) showing remarkable results.

More information about how Metrikus can improve the quality of indoor can be found here.

Indoor air quality machine for care homes Indoor air quality machine for care homes

The bottom line is that, while we can’t physically see unclean air, there are a number of things we can do to combat it. With technological advances and a plethora of information out there on how to improve IAQ, we can make spaces incredibly safe for people to occupy.

For business owners, this will be an essential part of welcoming employees back into the office in 2021 and beyond. As for the employees themselves, they will be able to breathe easy knowing that they’re working in a space that doesn’t contain an invisible threat.

Office-fit-out-project-in-London-with-an-open-plan-layout Office-fit-out-project-in-London-with-an-open-plan-layout

Does your office need to improve its air quality?

If you are currently working from home and your office is vacant, or not at full capacity, now is the perfect time to make some changes in your workplace to not only improve your indoor air quality but to ensure your whole workplace is covid-secure.

There are 9 other ways that your office can bounce back better, including employee wellbeing, space planning and contactless options.

Read more here about bouncing back to your office even better than before of download the brochure below.

To talk with one of the Rap Interiors team about your air quality and how to improve it, call 0333 600 1234 or email refurb@rapinteriors.co.uk.

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