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What does fresh air have to do with staying healthy?

(NC) Many of us have heard that fresh air is good for us, but what does that mean and why is it important?

Basically, fresh air is when the particles of air around you are regularly replaced; it’s the movement of air. Outside, this happens naturally when air is moved by a breeze. Inside, you need good ventilation to improve air quality, by letting fresh air in and preventing stale air from being trapped inside with you.

Respiratory viruses may be transmitted from person to person through the air by small respiratory particles called aerosols. For example, when someone who has COVID-19 breathes, talks, sings, shouts, sneezes or coughs, they can release respiratory particles with the virus into the air and spread it to others. The smaller and more crowded the room, and the longer that others stay in the space, the higher the risk that COVID-19 may spread. Good ventilation helps to reduce the levels of potentially infectious particles in the air, by letting fresh air in, which is especially important when you're with people from outside your immediate household.

Some easy tips to help you improve the ventilation in your home:

  • Open windows and doors whenever possible. Even if it’s cold outside, a few minutes of fresh outdoor air can still help.
  • Run a kitchen or bathroom exhaust fan continuously at low speed and open a window - even if it’s in a different room - to provide replacement air.
  • Consider using an air purifier with a high-efficiency particle filter (known as a HEPA filter), that’s sized for the room.
  • Regularly clean or replace filters in your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system.

These steps are especially helpful before, during and after having guests in your home. Combine ventilation with other important public health measures, such as keeping up with vaccinations, hand washing, wearing masks in crowded indoor spaces and staying home when sick to help keep you and others protected against respiratory viruses, like COVID-19 and the flu.

Find more information at canada.ca/coronavirus.

 
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