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How Humidification Delivers Hands-off Virus Protection

Hand washing and wearing masks, along with
frequent cleaning and disinfecting, provide a good start in reducing the spread
of viruses that cause outbreaks of respiratory diseases in senior living
communities.

Yet each of these measures depend upon vigilance
and effort on the part of staff, residents, and visitors, and the cost of these
disposable items adds up quickly.

In contrast to the cost of single-use,
disposable safeguards, a commercial humidification system can last for over 20
years while providing broad protection for building occupants against viruses,
such as COVID-19 and the seasonal flu, as well as providing protection against
allergens and other occupant discomforts. In fact, there have been many studies
over the years that show the health benefits to maintaining the relative
humidity between 40 and 60% relative humidity (RH) in indoor environments.

Here are the top reasons why humidification
systems are a must for senior living operators in the fight against viral
infections.

“Set it and forget it”: benefits to
staff

One of the key benefits of a humidification
system is that it does not add to the workflow of frontline care staff, as it
is part of the building’s HVAC system. It offers a “set it and forget it”
benefit day to day, while being easy to care for within the facility’s overall
HVAC system maintenance program.

“Just like air conditioning or heating or
anything else in that system, a humidifier operates without the care staff or
residents having to do anything,” says Valerie Bradt, marketing communications
manager of DriSteem, a
global provider of humidification systems.

For care staff, the knowledge that there is an
additional tool in place to fight COVID, one that requires no additional work
for them and provides extra peace of mind.

Works with PPE and other “hands-on”
approaches

Fighting viruses in senior housing communities
— including, of course, COVID-19 and its variants — requires a multifaceted
approach. Using personal protective equipment (PPE) remains vital, as does actively
monitoring residents through both technological and human means.

And of course, even a smart technology system,
such as smart home devices or remote patient monitoring, still requires a human
interpretation of data.

A humidification system augments all of that,
and works in concert with it.

“We’re all getting tired of wearing masks and
gloves and using hand sanitizer,” Bradt says. “Humidification isn’t meant to
replace those measures, but it does add an extra layer of protection against
not only the COVID-19 virus, but also against other viruses that can often
appear in senior living communities.”

Fights COVID and other viruses

Of course, ease-of-use is irrelevant if
humidification itself isn’t also fighting viruses. But it is, in a few
different ways, from reducing the size of virus droplets in the air to helping
stave off the infection itself.

“Reducing viral transmission — that’s what’s
most important in senior living,” Bradt says. “So it’s important to consider
how viruses behave and spread through a community.’”

Low ambient humidity (below 40% RH) reduces
the droplet size of the virus, which allows it to remain airborne for 36 to 72
hours and travel further distances, leaving it as a greater threat for a longer
period of time. Contrast that with a higher humidity level (between 40% and 60%
RH), which increases the droplet size and makes the droplets fall out of the
air and onto surfaces, making them[1]
easier to clean and remove virus from the space.

“The other thing humidity will help with is
our body’s natural ability to fight disease,” Bradt says. “When we get sick, a
properly humidified environment will make it easier for our body to fight an
infection by protecting our respiratory system, including our nose, throat, and
lungs. It also supports our recovery from illness and helps our immune system
fight off infections.”

Lastly, there is a physical comfort to
humidity in the air, because dry indoor air can increase incidences of cracked
skin and dehydration. This can be especially threatening to vulnerable
populations, such as older residents who are often immune-system compromised.

“Humidity makes people more comfortable even
if they’re not aware of why,” Bradt says.

Delivers long-term benefits

While there is a short-term, day-to-day “set
it and forget it” benefit to a commercial humidification system, there is also
a long-term “get it and keep it” benefit, as the system can last for up to 20
years. And with health benefits beyond COVID-19, that long-term benefit
delivers a valuable return on investment year after year after year.

“Hopefully we’ll see an eventual end to the
pandemic,” Bradt says. “When we do, the humidification system will still hold
its value protecting against other infections and common discomforts caused by
dry air.”

This
article is sponsored by DriSteem. To learn more about DriSteem and how
humidification can work to improve the safety of your senior living community,
visit
DriSteem’s
resources on Humidification in Senior Living
.

The post How Humidification Delivers Hands-off Virus Protection appeared first on Senior Housing News.

Source: For the full article please visit Senior Housing News

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