If you want a coronavirus germ to survive a long time, lower the temperature and dry out the air, says a new research study.
Obviously, what we want is exactly the opposite! We want to kill those germs as quickly as possible and make sure they stay gone.
While this study is eye-opening in terms of specifically studying the life cycle of the new novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, it isn’t actually new knowledge.
After all, it is the same cold, dry air that gives winter its nickname of “cold and flu season.”
As we get more and more calls from worried customers who want to upgrade their indoor air quality right now, we feel it is vital to help you understand exactly which indoor air quality tips and aids actually work to protect you and your family.
Humidity, heat and light are three of them. Read on to learn more.
Humidity, Heat, Light and Coronavirus
Did you know that the term “coronavirus” is not specific to this new virus everyone is so worried about right now?
If you read last week’s blog post here, you already know that this new (novel) coronavirus is actually a close relative of the SARS virus that plagued Canada back in 2003.
What you may not yet know is that both that SARS virus and this new one, which is being called SARS-CoV-2, are also relatives of the common cold and flu!
Yes, you read that right – the very same family of germs is responsible for our reliable winter cold and flu outbreak.
The reason more people catch colds and the flu in the winter season boils down to these two facts:
- Cold, dry air.
- Short days with little sunlight.
What is the link between increased illness, dry and cold air and less sunlight?
Cold, dry air lowers immune system function
When it gets cold and dry outside, it also gets colder and drier inside your body.
Your respiratory and body tissues dry out. The mucus required to trap suspected pathogens, toxins, bacteria and viral germs is not as plentiful. So the germs can rapidly gain a foothold and spread throughout your body.
Less sunlight means less air purification
Ultraviolet light is the most powerful purification agent we have. With less light, airborne toxins and viral matter can proliferate and spread at a faster rate.
A 2011 study proved that as the temperature rises and humidity increases, what is called SARS virus “viability,” or ability to stay alive to spread, is drastically decreased.
This is a very good thing and it is exactly what we need!
So now let’s take a closer look at this power trio of humidity, heat and ultraviolet light and how to use each to fight coronavirus.
Heat and Coronavirus
You now know that heat can potentially be a powerful ally in the fight against coronavirus.
One recent survey of 23 different research studies revealed that once a coronavirus germ lands on a metal, plastic or glass surface, it may survive anywhere from two hours to nine days.
That is a pretty broad window of time!
What increases the virus’s chances of survival? Landing on a surface kept in a dry, temperature-controlled space.
In various research studies, scientists learned that coronavirus survives for long periods of time in temperatures of 20°C to 30°C (68°F to 86°F) as long as the air is very dry.
However, when the temperature is increased to above 30°C (86°F), the survival rate drops. When the temperature is increased to 56°C (132°F), the virus is inactivated within 15 minutes or less.
When air temperature is increased while humidity also is increased, the greatest rate of virus die-off is produced.
Humidity and Coronavirus
At very low levels of humidity, such as what Canada’s long, dark winter season often produces, coronavirus can survive quite well for extended periods of time.
At less than 30 percent humidity, the new coronavirus is well able to survive for many days either in the air or on a surface.
But when the humidity reaches 50 percent or higher, and is combined with an increase in heat, the coronavirus does not cope well and dies off much more quickly.
Light and Coronavirus
As we talked about in last week’s blog post, ultraviolet light from the sun is still the most powerful sanitizer we have to fight back against airborne and surface toxins.
This is why one of the confirmed treatments for mould is to lay the affected items out in the sunlight to bake.
Ultraviolet sunlight has a similar effect on coronavirus. The germs simply cannot withstand the sanitizing impact of the sun.
Putting Them Together to Kill Coronavirus: Humidity, Heat & Light
While we don’t have a vaccine against the new novel coronavirus yet, we do have some powerful weapons we can use to protect ourselves inside our homes and workplaces.
Here, we will need to take active measures to upgrade our indoor spaces to be less welcoming to coronavirus.
Keeping our homes warmer and more humid may be especially important where a family member is already infected with SARS-CoV-2 and showing symptoms of COVID-19.
Raising the thermostat and adding a portable or whole-home humidifier can help to achieve the higher heat/humidity balance that coronavirus most dislikes.
Installing a portable or whole-home ultraviolet light purifier to work with your HVAC system can then provide an additional layer of protection by purifying your indoor air on a continual basis.
Get in Touch
Right now, save $50 on the installation of a whole-home humidifier and 10 percent on indoor air duct cleaning.
Contact us online or give us a call at 905-544-2470.