Air quality has been in the news a lot lately. The population, in general, has become more attentive to issues like pollution, climate change, and even increasing wildfires. At the same time, we are over a year and a half into a global pandemic that we know is airborne.
In fact, the COVID-19 virus is spread through exposure to infectious respiratory fluids. According to the CDC, many of the cases in the USA have occurred among older adults living in nursing homes or long-term care facilities. It was always important to properly manage air quality in nursing homes, but with the information related to the pandemic, it’s more important than ever.
Respiratory Health and Seniors
According to the EPA, older adults are especially vulnerable to ozone and particulate matter. Fine particle pollution has been linked to issues like premature death, cardiac arrhythmias and heart attacks, asthma attacks, and the development of chronic bronchitis. Additionally, poor air quality can exacerbate any existing respiratory conditions.
Furthermore, studies have shown that people who have activity limitations, the inability to work, a need for special oxygen equipment, and no engagement in social activities tend to be at risk for respiratory illnesses like COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Unfortunately, many of these traits are present in the elderly population.
Nursing Home Indoor Air
Based on these facts about air quality and senior citizens, both residents and staff should be concerned about keeping the air as clean as possible in any senior living situation.
One medical journal, the European Respiratory Journal, has become an important reference regarding air quality in senior communities. Though the study was not conducted in the United States, the findings are relevant to any nursing home and senior community leaders should seek to understand them. The study found that small particles were found to be responsible for bouts of wheezing, coughing and loss of breath. The effect of these pollutants on lung health were seen with even low levels of particles and were more pronounced in environments with poor ventilation and air cleaning. Furthermore, gases such as formaldehyde were shown to increase the cases of COPD, while carbon dioxide was shown to cause breathlessness. Yet another study linked particulate air pollution with cognitive decline in seniors.
Simply put, an environment with low air quality can cause significant discomfort and lead to increases in sickness among elderly individuals living in nursing homes. Low air quality has several short term and long term effects. This fact has always been true, but is even more so in the days of COVID-19.
Improve Air Quality with Air Purifiers
One of the most important solutions you can use to address these concerns is a commercial air purifier. A high quality air purifier with a HEPA or better air filter will remove fine particles, gases, and respiratory matter that can spread illness, as well as other common irritants like mold and mildew particles.
Medify offers several air purifiers that are a perfect fit for residential senior communities. Choose from a large, powerful unit that can clean up to 3,700 feet within an hour, or a series of smaller units for each resident’s room. There are many reliable and efficient air purifier models to choose from, based on your senior living community’s needs, space, and budget. All units come with HEPA H13 filtration among other features. If you’re ready to improve your nursing home’s air quality, contact our friendly team to get your questions answered.