Flu season is an inevitable fact of life. With the arrival of the colder months incidents of respiratory illnesses typically rise, so how can we combat the risks?
Respiratory viruses are a common issue in autumn/winter. Some prominent threats include influenza, Coronavirus, and respiratory syncytial virus (RVS). These viruses are airborne, which means that they spread through infected droplets and aerosols1. A cough or sneeze, even a breath, from an infected person could be enough to pass the illness on to others who are nearby.
Most of us know the symptoms of flu – a high temperature, aching and exhaustion, and a harsh cough, to name a few. It can, though, be a serious problem for older people, pregnant women, and those with a weakened immune system2.
A seasonal problem
The UK Health Security Agency tracks flu season between the months of October and May when influenza rates are usually at their highest3. During this period, flu can be especially prevalent because of the weather’s effects on an individual’s actions and immune system.
The winter months bring more people inside to escape the cold. Larger indoor gatherings especially in venues with poor ventilation can increase the rate of viral transmission. This is because people are likely to breathe the same air as someone with the virus4.
Lower outside temperatures can also diminish our immune response5. The cold air causes vasoconstriction of the respiratory tract, weakening the immune system6. Infected individuals are then more susceptible to the virus’ effects.
A breath of fresh air
Managing the transmission of airborne illnesses could be possible with effective air hygiene protocols.
Businesses and healthcare providers should consider their current ventilation setup, as implementing effective systems can help to reduce the chance of airborne transmission7. By introducing clean air into a room and removing aerosols it is possible to minimise risk by refreshing the area consistently8.
Air purifiers are another efficient option for removing suspended airborne particles, including viruses9. They work by supplying clean air, and specifically filtering out harmful particles from the air circulating in the room. This could mean the removal of viruses such as the flu, as well as airborne bacteria and mould.
The flu season ahead
There is no crystal ball to predict the heights of this upcoming flu season. However, you can help to prepare your business for any eventuality by implementing a powerful air purifying system now.
Initial offers an effective solution with the VIRUSKILLER™ air purifier range. These units can kill 99.9999% of viruses in a single air pass, including Coronavirus*. VIRUSKILLER™ units improve indoor air quality by delivering clean, healthy air and removing particulates to help create a safer breathing space. The options can scale with your business, with coverage from 20m2 with the Hextio unit, to 165m2 with the VIRUSKILLER™ 102.
*When independently tested against Coronavirus DF2 (a surrogate for Coronavirus), Adenovirus, Influenza and Polio, the unit was found to kill 99.9999% of viruses on a single air pass.
1 Wang, C. C., Prather, K. A., Sznitman, J., Jimenez, J. L., Lakdawala, S. S., Tufekci, Z., & Marr, L. C. (2021). Airborne transmission of respiratory viruses. Science, 373(6558), eabd9149.
2 UK Health Security Agency, NHS England, Department of Health & Social Care, (2023). National flu immunisation programme 2023 to 2024 letter, GOV.UK (Online) Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-flu-immunisation-programme-plan/national-flu-immunisation-programme-2023-to-2024-letter [Accessed August 2023]
3 UK Health Security Agency, (2023). Surveillance of influenza and other seasonal respiratory viruses in winter 2021 to 2022, (Online) available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/annual-flu-reports/surveillance-of-influenza-and-other-seasonal-respiratory-viruses-in-winter-2021-to-2022#:~:text=Influenza%20in%20the%20UK,-Surveillance%20of%20influenza&text=Weekly%20outputs%20on%20influenza%20are,period%20when%20influenza%20typically%20circulates. [Accessed August 2023]
4 Neumann, G., & Kawaoka, Y. (2022). Seasonality of influenza and other respiratory viruses. EMBO Molecular Medicine, 14(4), e15352.
5 Neumann, G., & Kawaoka, Y. (2022). Seasonality of influenza and other respiratory viruses. EMBO Molecular Medicine, 14(4), e15352.
6 Mecenas, P., Bastos, R. T. D. R. M., Vallinoto, A. C. R., & Normando, D. (2020). Effects of temperature and humidity on the spread of COVID-19: A systematic review. PLoS one, 15(9), e0238339.
7 Wang, C. C., Prather, K. A., Sznitman, J., Jimenez, J. L., Lakdawala, S. S., Tufekci, Z., & Marr, L. C. (2021). Airborne transmission of respiratory viruses. Science, 373(6558), eabd9149.
8 UK Health Security Agency, (2022). Ventilation to reduce the spread of respiratory infections, including COVID-19, (Online) Available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/ventilation-to-reduce-the-spread-of-respiratory-infections-including-covid-19 [Accessed August 2023]
9 Heo, K. J., Park, I., Lee, G., Hong, K., Han, B., Jung, J. H., & Kim, S. B. (2021). Effects of air purifiers on the spread of simulated respiratory droplet nuclei and virus aggregates. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(16), 8426.
10 UK Health Security Agency, (2023), National Influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report, Week 29 report (up to week 28 data), 20 July 2023, (Online) Available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1173054/Weekly_Flu_and_COVID-19_report_w29-5.pdf [Accessed August 2023]