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Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Canadian Seniors Health Alert- Increase Your Ventilation!

Canadian Seniors Staying Indoors Implored to Increase Ventilation! 

Whether you are a Canadian senior who has just returned home from a snowbird destination, or you are a Canadian senior who has been on a staycation, there is some important news that you may wish to peruse posted by Health Canada on the importance of increasing your ventilation to avoid contamination. 
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Health Canada Advises Canadians to Increase Ventilation Carefully! 

Health Canada updated their website on April 12th with advice about the importance of improving ventilation, Perhaps this advice is new to you too. Here is a truncated selection on their advice for avoiding infection by airborne diseases by increasing ventilation. 
Many Canadians are spending more of their time at home indoors, therefore improving indoor air quality is very important.
The recommendations below will help to improve the overall air quality in the home, as well as help reduce the risk of aerosol transmission of COVID-19 by reducing the number of viruses suspended in the air. This is particularly important when people from outside your immediate household are present. 
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Green Blobby Space Alien Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

To reduce the risk of COVID-19, it is recommended not to have visitors inside your home. The following activities should also be avoided inside your home:
  • Singing, 
  • Partying, 
  • Shouting or 
  • Heavy breathing 
Keep away from people you do not live with, and wear a well-constructed, well-fitting mask to reduce the risk of infection.
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Your Choice - 6 Feet Apart or 6 Feet Under

Important Ventilation Considerations for Canadian Seniors 

If you have a forced-air heating or cooling system ensure that it is properly installed, maintained and operated. Check the owner's manual for instructions on operation and maintenance, for example, how often do you need to replace filters? If possible, get a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) professional to make sure your system is running properly.  Operate the forced air system more often (e.g., set to Fan On position) to filter or dilute indoor particles, including aerosols that can carry viruses. Unfortunately, running your forced air system more frequently can increase your electric bill. so you may want to find other ways to save money through tips like these.
Use the highest efficiency particulate filter your forced-air system can handle, without impeding the airflow. Look for an air filter with a higher MERV.
Did you know the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) indicates a filter's ability to capture particles? There are pros and cons to using a filter with a higher MERV. 

Pros and Cons of Higher MERV Filters

While upgrading to a filter with a higher MERV rating can help reduce the number of small particles in the air it can lead to costly repairs for your forced-air system. Why?  Higher MERV-rated filters can reduce airflow through the forced air system, which can lead to mechanical damage, less filtered air, or air bypassing the filter. This is why it is important to consult the forced air system manual or an HVAC professional to check what filter the system in your residence can handle. Make sure the filter on your forced air system is properly sized to prevent air leakage around the filter. The owner's manual will provide the proper size for replacement filters. Replace filters according to the manufacturers' instructions. 

Ventilation Solutions for Canadian Residences without Forced Air Systems

Does your residence rely on a hot water or radiant heating system? Use natural ventilation, by opening windows and doors, especially if someone from outside the household is entering the residence, and depending on outdoor weather and temperature. Opening multiple windows can increase ventilation by promoting a cross-breeze through a room. Note: Before using natural ventilation, check that there are no air pollution advisories in your area and that allergens are at safe levels for occupants. Make sure that opening windows and doors do not pose a security or safety risk either

Ventilation Solutions for Muti-Unit Buildings

Do you live in a . multi-unit dwelling? If so you'll want to pass this next tip on to the building super. , In multi-unit buildings, it is important to ensure that all plumbing traps remain full at all times to reduce the possibility of cross-contaminants being passed through shared drainage systems that become dried out from lack of use. 

Ventilation Tool Precautions

If your ventilation cannot be improved with what you already have, Portable or ceiling fans, or single unit air conditioners may be useful for circulating air within the room. However, fans do not exchange air. Fans can also blow infectious droplets and particles further from their source. This is one thing that may have contributed to some COVID-19 infections. If you do need to use a window air conditioner unit or a fan,try to reduce the possibility of spreading potentially infectious particles by not blowing air directly at or between people in the room.

How to Use Fans to Improve Ventilation

 A box fan in a window, or bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans that are vented to the outside can help remove potentially contaminated air, where appropriate. To make up for the air being vented to the outside, consider opening a window so that contaminated replacement air is not being drawn indoors from crawlspaces, or combustion appliances.

HEPA Filters and Portable Air Cleaner Precautions 

High-quality, high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are effective in capturing airborne particles, including some viruses. To date, there is no direct evidence that portable HEPA air cleaners are effective in reducing SARS-CoV-2 transmission in closed spaces. As such, they should not be seen as a replacement for adequate ventilation, physical distancing and hygienic measures, but could be considered as additional protection in situations where enhancing natural or mechanical ventilation is not possible and in rooms that are not crowded. 
Even when a portable air cleaner is being used, it is still important that interactions between individuals are as few, as brief, and occur from the greatest physical distance, as possible. 
If used, portable air cleaners should be run continuously and positioned to allow unimpeded airflow. Position the air cleaner to avoid blowing directly at or between people in the room, which may increase infection risk. Ensure the device's air intake is unobstructed by furniture or walls. To ensure quality, be sure to look for certification by a recognized body such as the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM). Select an air cleaner with a Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) high enough for the size of room where it will be located. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for operating, maintaining and cleaning the unit. Replace filters according to the manufacturer's instructions. Some portable air cleaners can produce by-products that are a health hazard. In particular, ozone-producing air cleaners should be avoided.

Improving Ventilation Using HRV and ERV Systems 

Heat recovery ventilation (HRV) and energy recovery ventilation (ERV) systems can help improve ventilation. HRV systems exchange stale indoor air for outdoor air while transferring the heat between the expelled indoor air to the incoming outdoor air. In cooler weather, the heat is retained in the home, while in the warmer months the heat is expelled outside. This improves indoor ventilation while maintaining energy efficiency. ERVs transfer humidity, in addition to heat. Check that HRVs and ERVs are properly installed, maintained, and operational. Unless being serviced, the HRV or ERV should be running continuously and at the highest settings for fresh air ventilation. 

Using Humidifiers to Improve Ventilation

While humidifiers do not remove SARS-CoV-2 virus from the indoor air environment, they could impact the length of time that particles containing the virus are suspended in the air, and how long they remain infectious. It is therefore important to maintain an optimal humidity level, between 30% and 50% in indoor settings. Lower humidity levels can cause droplets to shrink, and smaller particles (e.g., aerosols) can stay suspended in the air for longer. However, increasing humidity too much can lead to condensation on surfaces, as well as inside walls and building areas where it cannot be seen. This can lead to mould growth and the proliferation of mites.  

Canadian Seniors Cautioned About Garage Parties 

Gathering with those who live outside your household in a garage? 
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Imagine Outsiders Like This Skunk -Image by Vicki Roberts from Pixabay

It is important to remember that garages are not ventilated in the same way as houses. Open windows or leave the garage door open to ensure adequate ventilation. If you heat your garage with a combustion device like a wood-burning stove, propane or kerosene space heater, make sure it is properly vented to the outside. Install a carbon monoxide alarm in your garage with a digital display.
Gasoline containers and items that use gasoline stored in the garage and can cause breathing problems for people too. So it's best if your garage is not connected directly to your house. Idling gas-powered equipment in a garage is very dangerous. 
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Canadian public health guidance related to COVID-19 is constantly changing as the Canadian ministry of health learns more about the disease, so it is a good idea to stay up to date by following the Health Canada Twitter Feed or checking the Health Canada website regularly. Do not believe everything you read.

About This Author

Sister Su is grateful to God for keeping her alive. She writes on a number of blogs, has a YouTube channel and is most easily reached through Twitter @Sister_Su

This post was proofread by the free version of Grammarly

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