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COVID-19: Can Air Purification Systems Limit Your Risk of Infection?

Affinity Health, leading provider of affordable medical insurance in South Africa, clears the air around air purification and COVID-19.


Air-purifying devices that claim to remove SARS-CoV-2 have hit shelves across South Africa, but are these devices effective in tackling COVID-19?


We all know that COVID-19 is a respiratory virus that spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose.


Knowing this has spurred a booming market for air purifiers that promise to remove – or at least neutralise – SARS-CoV-2 particles.



How Do Air Purifiers Work?

Air purifiers are designed to filter pollutants such as pollen, pet dander, and dust mites out of the air that passes through them. They may also help trap and sanitise indoor toxins, such as chemicals, gases, and odours.


However, for an air purifier to be effective in removing viruses from the air, it must be able to remove submicron particles (airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns).


Air purifiers with HEPA – a type of pleated mechanical air filter – can theoretically remove at least 99.97% of dust, pollen, mould, bacteria, and any airborne particles with a size of 0.3 microns.


Knowing the size of a single virus particle allows researchers and healthcare providers to better understand how infection the virus is and the survivability of the pathogen.


The diameter of the COVID-19 virus has been found to range between 50 to 140 nanoparticles. So, in effect, air purifiers equipped with a HEPA filter could remove COVID-19 virus particles from indoor air and potentially reduce exposure.


Research suggests that air purifiers with HVAC filters can help reduce airborne contaminants, including viruses, in a building or small space when used correctly.


However, it’s important to note that by itself, an air purifier is not enough to protect people from COVID-19. The best practices still include social distancing, hand washing, vaccinations, and mask-wearing.


Even the best indoor HEPA filtration cannot guarantee protection from airborne respiratory threats such as Covid-19,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.


“COVID-19 transmission is thought to be mostly related with big droplets, according to most public health advice. This is why air filtration is only a minor part of the solution, as it does not address transmission from surface contact or intimate personal touch.”


Read More: The Affinity Health Coronavirus Handbook



About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is South Africa’s leading provider of health insurance, offering you a range of options at affordable rates including access to the widest national provider network. We understand the importance of having medical insurance that meets your needs, your budget, and your lifestyle. Our range of healthcare products are designed to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service at all times. For more information, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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