The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic has brought widespread awareness to the risk of airborne disease transmission. Most Americans now understand the possibility of passing certain infections through large respiratory droplets or through aerosolized particles from the lungs.
Given the fact that many individuals who have become severely ill due to COVD-19 are treated at the hospital, how do hospitals prevent staff and other patients from contracting the illness? One answer is airborne infection isolation rooms, or AIIRs, which have several safeguards in place to prevent the spread of germs through the air. One method is to maintain negative air pressure, which means air is being removed from an area faster than it is being supplied. Other common precautions include portable room air cleaners and ultraviolet germicidal systems.
Hospitals and healthcare facilities have certain standards to prevent the escape of contaminated air from AIIRs and to minimize the spread of airborne disease through a building. However, these standards are only useful if they are properly followed.
The Indoor and Built Environment journal published a review of studies related to AIIRs which stated that there is a lot of variation and a lack of definite background data in national AIIR guidelines. Because of expense and incomplete facility mapping used by traditional air balance tests, some hospitals do not meet the standards to which they agree.
According to the Indoor and Built Environment review, the most important factor in the proper functioning of AIIRs is preventing contaminated air from escaping, both through utilizing negative pressure and checking for leakage.
In short, AIIRs can be very effective in mitigating the spread of disease, but only if conditions are monitored and standards are met. According to the review, this requires continuous updating.
Life Balance Technologies helps hospitals and other companies easily analyze air quality conditions and effectively manage their HVAC systems. By streamlining the process for compliance, auditing, and reporting, we help reduce costs and save lives.