Ultraviolet (UV) Light

Ultraviolet (UV) light is one of the most effective methods to reduce and control airborne pathogens. When air containing bacteria, viruses, mould spores and other microbes is passed under a germicidal UVC lamp, it damages their DNA and renders them unable to reproduce. Due to the short life span of most micro-organisms, once they lose their ability to replicate, their population diminishes rapidly.

UV light has been used for decades in hospital and medical facilities to sterilize surfaces and instruments, and in environments such as laboratories and clean rooms to keep them germ-free. It is also commonly used in water purification systems to eliminate harmful viruses and bacteria. In addition, the US government now requires that UV light be used in all heating and cooling systems in government buildings to improve indoor air quality by controlling airborne and surface microbial growth.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the combined use of UV light and HEPA filtration in air purifiers to help control the spread of airborne pathogens. The HEPA filter helps to trap larger micro-organisms and provide a long enough exposure time from the UVC lamp to effectively eradicate them. Viruses and other pathogens small enough to pass through the HEPA filter are sterilized as they circulate around the lamp before exiting the unit. Since the UV light is only directed inside the unit, there are no potential harmful side effects.

UV light

Infectious diseases can be spread by the transfer of viruses and bacteria, not only by direct and indirect contact, but also through the air. Germs are disseminated through the air either by droplet transmission or by airborne transmission, with colds and flu typically spread by both means.

Pneumonia, scarlet fever, mumps, rubella and meningitis are diseases that are typically transmitted through larger droplets expelled as an infected person breathes, speaks, coughs or sneezes. Depending on their size, droplets can travel through the air for 3 to 6 feet before falling to the ground. In these cases, close contact with someone who is infected is necessary to become ill.

Of greater concern, particularly for people who live in retirement homes, are admitted to the hospital or have children in day care, are diseases that are spread through airborne transmission. Tuberculosis, chicken pox, shingles and measles are among the diseases that are transmitted in this way. These diseases are carried through the air by smaller particulates, for example, by dust particles, or by smaller droplets formed when larger droplets evaporate or are aerosolized. These tiny particles hang in the air like invisible smoke and can travel on air currents and through ventilation systems over considerable distances. Read more.

Direct contact is not necessary to catch a disease that is spread through airborne transmission. For this reason, the transference of diseases like tuberculosis within hospitals has been increasingly recognized as a hazard for hospital workers and patients alike. In fact, the CDC is currently recommending that UV lights be installed in homeless shelters and drug treatment clinics to prevent the spread of tuberculosis.

According to the Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee, air purifiers are an important and necessary technology for decreasing the concentration of airborne infectious pathogens in a room, and for preventing the spread of diseases such as tuberculosis, chicken pox and measles.

biological contaminants

Modern Alchemy Air Purifiers strongly recommends the use of air purifiers with germicidal UVC lamps in retirement and nursing homes, hospital rooms, medical offices and day care centres to reduce the spread of airborne pathogens and diseases. People with elderly parents and young children at home are also likely to benefit from air purifiers with UV capabilities, as these groups are at higher risk from diseases caused by airborne microbes.

See our most popular UV air purifier: the AllerAir AirMedic Pro 5 Exec UV, or visit our Airfree Air Sterilizer page to see another way of protecting yourself from airborne microbiological contaminants.

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