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Bacteria. Viruses. The Flu. These all represent potent threats to our health--and since they are mostly transmitted by particles floating in our indoor air, that makes our indoor air quality (IAQ) something to seriously think about.
There are always tons of tiny particles floating through the air-dust, pet dander, pollen, smoke, other particles. Dust and pet dander particles are generally loaded with bacteria, viruses, even many strains of flu virus. Any time the amount of moisture in the air is higher than normal, these larger particles become a breeding ground for bacteria & viruses. Some of these bacteria & viruses are serious human pathogens and others, especially the gram negative bacteria produce toxic compounds that have been implicated in what's known as 'sick building syndrome'.
Indoor airborne bacteria are usually associated with water-damaged building materials, though it doesn't take very much water or obvious damage to create a suitable growth enviroment for these bacteria. Bacterial pathogens are capable of causing severe diseases in humans if inhaled, ingested or if they come into contact with the skin. The most important airborne bacterial infections in indoor environments are tuberculosis, nosocomial pneumonia, and legionellosis. Look them up on Google--it's not pretty. And these infections are primarily caused by breathing indoor air where these bacteria are present.
Flu or 'influenza' viruses are no better. In the past couple of years, flu outbreaks have reached epidemic proportions, many with fatal results for children, the elderly, or those with weakened immune systems. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, thousands of flu viruses are released into the air. Many of these viruses float in the air on other particles and can remain suspended for hours, waiting for us to breathe them in. Once enough are inhaled, an infection can occur. Want to know what's floating around in your air? Test it and see! (see Air Test Kits above).
Much of this threat can be eliminated, however, by the use of a serious HEPA air filtration system in the home, office or other space where human contact occurs. A true HEPA system will remove 99.97% of particles (down to 0.3 microns) from the air that these bacteria and viruses float around on.
With the addition of UV light, any DNA present from bacteria / viruses is also destroyed, rendering them unable to reproduce. Here are some top-notch air purifiers that we sell and highly recommend for protection against bacteria, viruses, and the flu (wherever possible, we recommend adding the UV option for added protection--the Blueair models filter down to 0.1 microns so they are highly effective at removing this type of contaminant as well):
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