November 17, 2022

Does Opening Windows Reduce Germs?

Opening Window
Does Opening Windows Reduce Germs?

It is in our homes that we find rest. It is in our homes that we spend most of our time. We believe that we will get re-energized if we spend our nights at home. This is where we are used to getting a peaceful environment after a busy day of work. But did you know that where we call home can turn out to be a dangerous place harboring millions of micro-organisms causing diseases?

According to a 2009 report by the World Health Organization concerning illness transmission and air ventilation, it shows that, when we cough or sneeze, we expel microscopic saliva droplets into the air. This also happens when we are talking and exhaling. The droplets evaporate over a short time, leaving light airborne particles suspended on the air. The particles can have micro-organism causing diseases which can move freely in our houses as we move around. WHO also found out that a poorly ventilated house encouraged the multiplication of this pathogen with increased rates of infections.

We have always been told to keep our windows open, especially in the winter season. You may wonder why someone tells you to open your window when all is outside is ice and cold. But there are great benefits behind opening your windows. It is in this period that most of us fill like creating more warmth in our houses by closing the doors and the windows. Far from our perception, we are creating the right conditions for the multiplication of germs. Opening windows directly helps in reducing bacteria and viruses.

Airing your house helps in the following.

  1. Renders the contaminants in your house less effective by diluting them. A lot of gases are produced in an average home from various sources. Gases produced from the heaters and the furnace can turn out to be toxic if contained within the house. Other things that pollute your indoor environment without your knowledge include furnishings, air fresheners, malfunctioning stoves, paints, personal care products, and some cleaning products.
  2. It clears out gastro bugs. A person may come in with colds or the gastro bugs that can only be cleared in free-moving air.
  3. Air works as a drying agent of moisture in our houses. Things that could create moisture include breathing, sweating, and heat from various heaters. If you leave your home and come back months later, you may find molds and dust on surfaces. Opening your windows on a daily purpose will dry out the moisture and prevent the mold build-up.

This benefit of airing our houses helps in combating germs. Researchers have found out that opening windows can remove germs up to 30%. Apart from that, opening our windows also brings us other health benefits.

Health Benefits of Opening Windows

  • It provides for an abundance of fresh air for the family members and your pets
  • It circulates air smoothly in your house without the need for an air conditioner.
  • It allows sunlight in. If you have positioned your windows well, you can get that vitamin D in the morning from your couch. Sunlight is also an excellent mood booster.
  • It offers an easy way of pollutants to escape when doing some cleaning in the house.

These are the common benefits that we can easily understand and relate to. If someone told you that drowsiness and poor concentration that you could be having in particular times at home are caused by poor ventilation, could you believe that person? Researchers have found out that accumulated carbon IV oxide is responsible for such symptoms. This can be a result of staying in a poorly ventilated room.

Poorly ventilated houses also create the right conditions for the growth of mold. Mold is linked to various conditions such as wheezing, nasal congestion, chest tightness, coughing, reduced lung function, as well as throat irritation. These conditions can even be worse in allergic individuals.

BMJ Infectious Diseases study conducted in 2019 tuberculosis transmission can be reduced by 72% through open windows and other natural ventilation. If you lack effective AC, you can always turn to your windows. The authorities have always emphasized the importance of opening windows. The fresh, clean air replaces the contaminated air indoors, keeping you safe. This is seen as the cheapest means of reducing infections in our world today.

The study also showed that when you open two windows to encourage cross-ventilation leads to increased air circulation. The study recommendations were used in the hospital waiting room, which significantly led to reduced tuberculosis transmission rates.

If a member of the family has contracted an infectious disease, it is recommended to open the windows. It may reduce the chances of the infections from spreading to the other members of the family. The air coming in from outside will also dilute the contaminated air and reduce the chances of the spread of the particles to other members.

Besides, opening windows may as well promote the quick recovery of an airborne disease patient. By diluting the air, the patient will inhale a reduced amount of pathogens. The dose which the patient has to take will be of significance to his/her health.

Practice Doing It

You could be the kind of person who generally likes staying indoors, and you want it when windows and doors are closed. Maybe you rely on your AC. This is a good idea, but the importance of fresh, natural air cannot be refuted. Some have no idea of the dangers of staying behind closed doors and windows. Now that you know, you can begin practicing slowly. Make it a habit; eventually, you will be used to opening your windows regularly.

If you are worried about the cold in the winter, we got a good idea for you. What if you took open your windows and took a 5 minutes lap outdoors? This can make a difference. Health experts say even a few minutes of open windows and doors is enough for the exchange of air to take place. Remember we are aimed at getting rid of polluted air in our houses.

Experts also recommend opening windows early in the morning after sunrise. Throughout the night, there are a lot of gases released indoors.  Respiratory gases, gases from the heating sources aimed at warming our cold nights are always released to our indoor environment. These gases can accumulate; especially if your house is poorly ventilated. When you open the windows in the morning, the gases will be released to the atmosphere and get fresh air back.

If you can’t stand the cold, especially in the winter, you can practice, opening your windows for a few minutes at least twice a day; in the morning and late in the evening. For the good of the health of your family, you can decide to take a walk or ride to the market instead of using public transport. It will give you a chance to treat your lungs before you return indoors. During the winter season, there is also an increased flu infection. Avoiding using public transport can prevent you from contracting these infections and transferring germs to your home.

What if the Outside Air is Polluted?

There are cases of air pollution in our environment. Especially if you live in an urban area, there could be fumes from industries, cars, and the burning of garbage. This renders opening your windows unpractical. In case you are under this circumstance, using an in-room air purifier is recommended.

You may also be reluctant to opening your window if it is immediately adjacent to a pedestrian path or in an area with heavy traffic. You will be right to do so, but pathogens will rarely travel into your house if an infected person sneezes or coughs near your window. If the air outside is clean, this pathogen will be dilute within the outside environment. Provided your window is strategically positioned above the ground, you don’t need to worry about opening it.

Lastly, you can decide to move on to a better environment. If you are in the capacity of living in a clean environment free of outdoor air pollution, do it. Ensure you get into a well-ventilated house or room, with easy to open windows.

What about Diseases We may get from the Winter Cold?

Some people completely stay indoors with closed windows in fear of getting pneumonia or any other cold-related diseases. In as much as we can’t deny the possibility of contracting such conditions, it is also essential to know the dangers of staying behind completely closed doors and windows. It is not necessary to open your windows all day. Health experts note that even 10 minutes of open windows is enough for air to circulate in your room. In case a member of your family is suffering from pneumonia, ensure the person follows the doctor’s prescription.

Conclusion

Opening your windows is an excellent way of getting rid of germs from your house. The norm of increased flu infection rates in the winter explains the practice of several people staying in inadequately ventilated space for long hours. During the summers, we open our windows by default. We can adapt this practice throughout the year to enjoy a healthy life with less to no germs in our homes.

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