While many of us may not have known much about coronaviruses before, the last few months have given us all an unwelcome crash course.  As you probably know by now, coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that can be passed from animals to humans. Coronaviruses can cause anything from mild cold symptoms to severe respiratory issues.

This new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) is especially alarming because it has spread so quickly across the globe (as of March 3, it’s infected over 89,000 people). The good news is that, while the new coronavirus is quite contagious, it’s not nearly as lethal as SARS or MERSA, other coronaviruses which have also made headlines in recent years.

Nevertheless, with a significantly higher mortality rate than the flu (around 1.4% compared to the flu’s .1%) and risk for complications, the new coronavirus is something to take seriously. While we are likely months or years away from medication or vaccines to combat COVID-19, there are some concrete things you can do to avoid it.

As you probably know, a good air purifier can be an excellent way to keep the air in your home and office clean.  But…

Can air purifiers really keep you safe from coronavirus?

The answer is complicated. Most decent purifiers that use true HEPA filters can keep your home free of mold, pollen and pet dander.  A really good air purifier can get rid of bacteria too.  In fact, the CDC recommends that hospitals use HEPA filtration systems when dealing with patients with coronavirus.

But… viruses are roughly 100 times smaller than bacteria and only the very best air purifiers are capable of removing them from the air.

The thing is… even if the air purifier does kill viruses in the air… it still doesn’t do much in preventing you from getting the coronavirus. Viruses typically don’t spend much time in the air before landing on another surface. That means that it’s much more likely that you’ll contract the virus by being in contact with an infected person or contaminated surface than by breathing unclean air.

Unfortunately, health scares provide the perfect opportunity for companies seeking to make profits by playing off people’s fears. At aeris, your health is always our first priority. Before you consider purchasing an air purifier, it’s important for you to know that, while they can help with overall health, there are far more effective ways of keeping your family safe from coronavirus.

Here are some of the best ways to avoid contracting COVID-19

Wash hands! And wash them well!

We know, we know…. It sounds too simple to be true.  But, hand washing is the number #1 most effective method of avoiding the coronavirus. The reason is this: Coronavirus is an “envelope” virus. That means it has a layer of fat. When you wash your hands properly, the fat layer is dissolved and the virus is killed.  But, the problem is, only 5% of people actually are washing their hands the right way.

The CDC recommends the following method of handwashing:

Follow these five steps every time.

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.

  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.

  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.

  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.

  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

For most households, it may be easier to keep a roll of paper towels in the bathroom for hand drying than to constantly refresh towels.

Use hand gel, with caution

Hand sanitizers are often the go-to in disease prevention.  But, the truth is, hand washing is usually more effective. Sanitizers don’t kill all germs (although they do seem to be effective against the Novel Coronavirus) and they’re most effective when your hands are free of dirt or grease.  But, If you are not in a place where hand washing is available, sanitizers are the next best thing.

Make sure to use a hand gel that is at least 60% alcohol, rub over the entire surface of your hand, and leave the gel on until it dries out. This should take around 20 seconds.

Don’t touch your face

Becoming mindful of how often your touch your face is one of the most important ways to prevent the spread of the virus. But it’s not easy.  Your nose gets itchy, there’s something in your teeth, your eyes are watering. There are a million different reasons we touch our face during the day.  The thing is… viruses like corona can only get into your body through mucous membranes. They’re like portals directly into your body.

And, every single time you touch your face you are giving them a free ride through the portal. It’s probably not realistic to think that we can completely avoid touching our faces, but start to get into the habit of being aware of when you do it.  Paying attention to when you touch your face can help you remember to use a clean napkin or wash your hands first.

Clean your phones

Our phones go with us everywhere, from the grocery store aisles to the bathroom stalls.  Just thinking about all the germs they pick up can be enough to make you sick. A quick, effective way to keep your phones clean is to keep a box of sanitizing wipes by the front door with a reminder note that says “When you get home, Wipe your phone.”

Stay home when you’re sick

This one is easier said than done. Many of us don’t have available sick days and can’t afford the loss of income. But, consider the alternative: Working when you’re sick can not only infect others, but also make your symptoms worse, thereby resulting in even greater loss of income.  With a virus as serious as the coronavirus, it’s better not to take the chance.

Keep your immune system strong

Thus far, coronavirus has hit elderly people, especially those with compromised immune systems, the hardest. While there are many things about health we can’t control, there are some things we can do to be at our peak strength. Get plenty of sleep, eat healthy, exercise.  All of these things will keep your body strong enough so that, if you do get infected with the coronavirus, you’ll have a much better chance of keeping the symptoms mild.

This is where air purifiers can be helpful. While they won’t prevent you from getting the coronavirus, they can boost your mental health, help lower your blood pressure,  lessen the effects of asthma, and help keep allergies at bay… all which can aid in the fight to keep your immune system strong and minimize the effects of coronavirus or any other illnesses.