The No. 1 Way to Reduce Your Coronavirus Risk Indoors

Make your home safer by doing this one simple thing.

By now you're probably up to speed on how the novel coronavirus spreads: through our coughs and sneezes in the form of droplets, and sometimes through a contaminated surface. But as Scientific American has recently pointed out, research points to another possible form of transmission: aerosols. These smaller, airborne particles are harder to avoid—especially when we're indoors. The good news? According to a new study published in the journal Environment International, there's something we can do about it. The research found that improving ventilation in a person's home—as well as in public and shared spaces—can reduce their risk of infection significantly.

According to the study, which comes from scientists at the University of Surrey's Global Centre for Clean Air Research (GCARE), ventilation systems that are enhanced by particle filtration and air disinfection systems, and those which avoid recirculating air, are the most effective at keeping people safe. "An improved indoor ventilation is an important step that can be taken to reduce the risk of infection," Prashant Kumar, director of GCARE, said in a statement.

Kumar and his team go on to advocate that these strategies be incorporated into a range of public settings—"hospitals, shops, offices, schools, restaurants," and more—as part of a broader effort to keep the virus at bay. "Ventilation plays a critical role in removing exhaled virus-laden air, thus lowering the overall concentration and therefore any subsequent dose inhaled by the occupants," the authors write.

At home, you can make little changes in your own home that will improve air flow. Consider investing in a portable air filter, and keep your windows open whenever possible. It's not a silver bullet solution, but it's a piece of the puzzle that might just make all the difference in terms of your health. And to keep vigilant about the symptoms that could signal COVID-19, check out these 13 Coronavirus Symptoms That Are More Common Than a Sore Throat.

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
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