Identifying and Controlling for Bacteria and Viruses

We are going to keep our discussion of bacteria and viruses very narrow as they relate to keeping your home healthy. Bacteria are everywhere. Some good, some bad. We want to understand the bad ones, and figure out how to limit their impact on us in our homes.

Bacteria cause infections- viruses are different but cause nasty things like influenza- the flu, and the common cold. Viruses run you down and certain bacteria take advantage. Catching a common cold can take you through a sore throat- a bacterial infection and even sinus infections and pneumonia which is of course an infection caused by the bacillus pneumococcus.

 Bacteria and viruses also can make some diseases, like asthma, worse.

Studies have shown that co-infections with viruses and bacteria are linked to children’s asthma and cold symptoms. Researchers with the  National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases have found that combined viral and bacterial infections are associated with the increase in asthma symptoms that many children experience during the fall.

So what can we do to protect our family from bad bacteria and viruses?

OK, the biggest factor with spreading viruses and bacteria are our own behaviors. Sneezing or coughing into your your hand, or into a folded elbow can help us all protect each other from  airborne viruses and bacteria.

Controlling the humidity of the Home can help protect us from bacteria and viruses.

The humidity level of the house is another critical battleground of control. Damp, humid air can increase the survival rate of viruses and bacteria indoors. Humid air in your house helps these droplets of mucus last longer floating about in the air and give them more opportunity to get sucked up a family members nose.

Keeping the house at a level of humidity lower than 50% can help minimize the eficacy of these little disease droplets to survive and thrive in the next host… maybe you.

Controlling moisture indoors can limit the spread of these infectious diseases and also limit mold, dust mite and cockroach growth. We put humidity into perspective here.

Effective Ventilation can help control bacteria and viruses.

Effective ventilation may also help keep bacteria, viruses and other pollutants out of the indoor air. Research shows that air flow and ventilation can affect how diseases spread indoors. The more stagnant the air is, the more likely diseases are to spread.

Have you ever thought about where your indoor air comes from? High rates of air exchange with the outdoors reduces air infiltration and conditioned air loss and reduces the humidity load but also makes the air potentially more stagnant. The idea of where our indoor air comes from and the concept of active ventilation are discussed here.