Among the many problems of modern society, air pollution has come to be considered the world’s largest threat related to environmental health. Many non-profit organizations draw the attention that we are just a step away from becoming unable to turn things over, and we may soon face irreversible air quality changes. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemics, the air pollution problem gets even more stringent, as many medical facilities are struggling to find the best solution to ensure their patients and medical staff are protected not only from the common allergens and bacteria traveling through the air but from a highly contagious virus.
According to the latest CDC guidelines concerning the best practices that need to be followed to maintain a good air quality level in hospital rooms, ventilation is essential and should be performed for as long as the weather allows it. During the winter, CDC recommends the use of air purification systems, insisting that the ones that use HEPA filters are the most efficient and should be installed in controlled rooms designed to be used by patients suffering from asthma and other breathing illnesses. A less expensive solution can be found for regular hospital rooms where a filterless air purifier can function at least 8 hours per day to reduce the number of contaminants in the air, including dust, pollen, and even some particles containing bacteria, while a UV-C lamp can be employed daily for a half an hour to destroy the germs and viruses floating in the room.
Improper Ventilation Leads to Hospital-Acquired Infections
These recommendations come in the context in which recent scientific literature talks more and more about the effects of poor air quality on the emergence of healthcare-associated infections, which are identified when a patient enters the medical facility with a specific disease and gets infected by a microorganism found in the hospital air. These cases are often associated with errors in medical care but, according to a study recently performed by Roboto Id, improper ventilation is the main cause, especially in low-budget hospitals where the required ventilation and purification equipment is lacking or is outdated. Furthermore, even in health facilities where the systems are present, there are cases when an air quality management plan is lacking, so the technology is employed only when the staff considers it necessary, which can lead to the build-up of high levels of bacteria in some rooms.
Unfortunately, with all the measures that were imposed on healthcare facilities to prevent SARS-CoV-2 transmission to patients who entered the hospital without being infected, there were reported many cases of hospital-acquired infections. The National Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health talks about an infection rate of 12% to 15% that remained constant throughout the pandemics, mentioning that more studies are required to determine if this phenomenon has to do with medical malpractice or is a condition that cannot be avoided in the given situation.
Many US Hospitals Function in Areas with High Pollution Levels
Besides the problem of virus transmission within hospitals, air pollution remains of major importance as well, seeing how most medical centers are located in high-trafficked areas, where the concentration of PM 2.5 found in smoke and vehicle exhausts is extremely high. In these cases, simple ventilation without any filtering mechanism is not recommended, and air purification systems should be seen as more than a recommendation.
Hospital management should also pay attention to the disinfectants used to sanitize the objects and surfaces, as they are often the main source of VOCs or volatile organic compounds, which can be extremely harmful. A study published in the Aerosol and Air Quality Research identified a potential threat in the smoke that results during laparoscopic surgeries, as well, recommending that the rooms where the procedure is performed be well ventilated and provided with equipment for air purification.
The biggest issue regarding the quality of the air in medical centers is that it affects especially children, who find it more difficult to recover after being exposed to high levels of pollution, especially if this happens over longer periods. The bad news is that many of the children’s hospitals, just like most medical centers in the US, are positioned in a central location, where the level of air pollution is high. Thus, without proper air purification, children who already enter the hospital with a weak immune system have great chances of developing a breathing illness.
Excerpt: In the context of the COVID-19 pandemics, hospitals all around America struggle to find a way to stop the transmission of the virus inside their facilities. Experts recommend better ventilation and the use of air purification systems to improve the quality of the air inside the patients’ rooms.Do you have a news tip? Call us at (661) 298-1220, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t miss a thing. Get breaking KHTS Santa Clarita News Alerts delivered right to your inbox. Report a typo or error, email Corrections@hometownstation.com
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