Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Opening windows can reduce the spread of infections

Some infections, such as tuberculosis, and other bacteria diseases, are disseminated via the air. Airborne bacteria can be spread from person to person. Health care establishments, such as hospitals and nursing homes, are at risk. In one reported case a mother and child with undiagnosed tuberculosis in a hospital ward resulted in a positive skin test for TB from a previously negative one in 6.7% of patients and 1.9% of pediatric health workers.

A new study done in Lima, Peru compared 70 rooms with natural ventilation from open windows with 12 mechanically ventilated rooms. The researchers, led by Roderick Escombe and reported in the February, 2007 edition of PloS Medicine, found the risk of infection spread to be lower in rooms ventilated with open windows. Natural ventilation dilutes the bacteria in the air more effectively than mechanical ventilation, by changing the air in the room more frequently per hour. The researchers showed that “Rooms with open windows showed a 6 – fold greater absolute ventilation than that calculated for mechanically ventilated rooms.”

Dr.'s Conclusion:
It appears as though “grandma"s remedy” of opening the windows in a sick person"s room might not only make the person feel better, but may reduce the risk of the infection spreading to others as well.
Tags: Fresh Air

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