Health Canada headquarters in Ottawa. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Health Canada headquarters in Ottawa. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Health Canada releases guidelines for reducing COVID-19 transmission at home

Improve indoor air quality by opening up your windows and doors, among other encouraged ventilation measures

Canadians can reduce COVID-19 transmission at home by bettering air quality, according to new guidelines released from Health Canada.

The respiratory disease – which has escalated to pandemic levels – is spread through virus particulates suspended in the air.

“Improving indoor air quality is particularly important at this time because Canadians are spending more of their time at home,” the public health agency said.

For this reason, Health Canada recommends promoting natural ventilation during the spring and summer months by opening up windows and doors.

This is especially important “if someone from outside the household is entering the residence.”

READ MORE: Canada updates COVID-19 guidelines to include airborne transmission

Be wary of portable, ceiling fans or single unit air conditioners, the agency said – as they circulate air within a given room but do not exchange air.

“Fans can blow infectious droplets and particles further from their source, which may have contributed to some COVID-19 infections,” the agency said. 

“If the use of a window air conditioner unit or a fan is necessary, aim the air stream to avoid blowing directly at or between people in the room.”

Additionally, the use of high-quality, high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters could prove effective in capturing airborne particles, including some viruses.

If used, portable air cleaners should be run continuously and be positioned to allow unimpeded airflow.

Other Health Canada ventilation considerations include:

  • Use the highest efficiency particulate filter a home’s forced-air system can handle without impeding airflows.
  • Heat recovery ventilation (HRV) and energy recovery ventilation (ERV) appliances should be running continuously and at the highest settings.
  • Avoid ozone-producing air cleaners.
  • Maintain a humidity level between 30 and 50 per cent indoors to help neutralize virus particles.
  • In multi-unit dwellings, ensure plumbing traps remain full at all times to reduce the possibility of cross-contaminants being passed through shared drainage systems.

RELATED: Researchers look at humidity as a weapon in the fight against airborne viruses



sarah.grochowski@bpdigital.ca

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