Air Quality in Hospitals
Air quality in hospitals is a matter that needs to be taken very seriously. After all, hospitals mainly deal with healthcare. There are other factors why air quality should be strictly and constantly be maintained:
- Patients are at risk. Hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities have many persons with increased vulnerability to infections and other respiratory ailments that could worsen through air contaminants.
- There’s a high density of occupants. A high number of people enter the hospitals, so patients are more exposed to people with infectious diseases.
- Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are aging. Many hospitals were built years ago, so HVAC systems are outdated or are in need of repairs and maintenance.
If indoor air quality (IAQ) in hospitals is not addressed properly, mold and fungal growth can occur which can affect people’s health. Bacteria and virus can spread more quickly and easily, making patients, whose immune systems are suppressed, highly at risk. Some cases even result to deaths.
Mortality or deaths can occur faster if air borne contaminants are not controlled or removed. For example, it was reported that in 1996, a high number of bone marrow transplant patients resulted to mortality due to aspergillosis, or infection with a fungus named aspergillus. This gets transmitted to immune-compromised patients through inhalation of airborne contaminants or surgery using contaminated tools.
To minimize risks, hospitals and other healthcare facilities must limit the spread of airborne contaminants and improve IAQ (see What is Indoor Air Quality?). Installing air purifiers are a good way to minimize airborne contaminants, but those with high-efficiency particulate (HEPA) filters like Sanyo Air Washer Plus are best recommended. Effective HEPA filters can capture up to 99.9% of micro-particles.
Moreover, intensive cleaning must always be done. HVAC systems must constantly be maintained and repaired. Humidification and dehumidification systems must always be cleaned and kept dry to prevent fungi and bacteria growth. And, all patients must be diagnosed and dealt with accordingly so that those with infectious diseases can quickly be isolated. In doing so, mortality rates due to airborne particulates and pathogens can be decreased.