Covid-19: the rules to respect with air conditioning and fans
The warm climate rhymes with the search for freshness. But can the use of air conditioning or fans encourage the spread of the coronavirus?
With rising temperatures, many people have only one idea in mind: cool off at all costs. To achieve this, air conditioners and fans can be real allies. Problem: Its potential role in the spread of the coronavirus is questionable.
In late April, Chinese researchers identified a chain of transmission of the virus in a restaurant and estimated that air conditioning was the cause. "A strong flow of air from the air conditioner could have spread the drops," they suggested. A scenario questioned by other experts, such as Daniel Camus, infectious disease specialist at the Pasteur Institute in Lille: "Aeration, ventilation or air conditioning systems have not been shown to present a particular danger. Viral loads are probably insufficient," he explained to Ouest France.
Covid-19: does ventilation promote the spread of the virus?
In a notice published in early May, the Superior Council of Public Health (HCSP) explained that the use of these devices was not a problem when a person was alone in a room. "But in the case of a group of people in a common room, many hypotheses and questions start from the principle that there is a risk of associating contaminated people and healthy people in the same room due to the possible asymptomatic nature reached by Covid-19 "said the document. The dreaded scenario? That these devices cause the aerosolization of the viral particles, thus promoting contamination.
Are the risks of spreading the virus the same with air conditioning and a fan? In his opinion, the HCSP indicates that "if ventilation is supported, good-sized individual air conditioners equipped with high-performance filters, if well maintained, make it possible to obtain 'filtered' air which significantly reduces the viral load of the room". The risks of contamination are therefore low.
Regarding the fan, the HSCP explains that its use by a single person in a room is not a problem. But if several people are in the same closed space, the movement of air generated by this device can "project the respiratory drops emitted by people at a certain distance from the room and make the safe distance between people ineffective."
Air conditioning and fan: how to limit the risk of contamination?
To limit the risks of spread of the coronavirus through fans or air conditioning, follow these recommendations:
Ensure maintenance compliance and find the most efficient filter in terms of health if you use an air conditioning system;
If you are using a fan, stop the device when someone else enters the room;
Do not use a fan in small collective spaces without air conditioning, even if people in the room wear a mask;
Regardless of the type of device used, ventilate your interior at least twice a day for 10 to 15 minutes.