ASCP Skin Deep

JULY | AUGUST 2020

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26 ascp skin deep july/august 2020 beautybuzz ASK DR. TESSA As Safely as Possible Epidemiologist Tessa Crume offers advice for working in a windowless treatment room Q: MY TREATMENT ROOM DOESN'T HAVE WINDOWS. WHAT'S THE BEST WAY TO KEEP MY SPACE SAFELY VENTILATED? A. The stone-cold answer is that if either you or your client are infected with COVID-19, the risk of transmitting the virus via close contact for greater than 20 minutes in a windowless treatment room is high. To mitigate the risk of transmission, consider reducing potential exposure from respiratory droplets and virus suspended in aerosols in the air and on surfaces. Following are four strategies to reduce or mitigate risk of viral transition. OPEN THE TREATMENT ROOM DOOR Simply leaving the door open will let in fresh air and help dilute virus particles. Consider whether there's a way to maintain privacy in the room while keeping the door open by using a curtain or barrier that still allows for airflow. Depending on your office layout and if you share your space with others, you can also place a fan in the doorway with the flow of air directed out of the room to create a bit of negative pressure. USE A HIGH-EFFICIENCY PORTABLE PARTICULATE AIR (HEPA) PURIFIER HEPA air filters have not yet been proven to reduce the transmission of COVID-19; however, recent research in the Journal of Infectious Diseases1 and BMC Infectious Diseases2 suggests they can reduce the risk of transmission of other viruses like measles and influenza. Thus, in theory, if an air purifier removes viruses from the air, it reduces concentrations in the room and the potential for exposure. HEPA filters are very effective, certified to capture 99.97 percent of particles that are precisely 0.3 microns in diameter. COVID-19 is smaller at 0.125 microns, but the droplets it usually travels in when people cough, talk, or breathe are larger—around 1 micron, a size easily captured by HEPA filters. The problem is that for the virus to be captured by the filter, the air needs to be circulated through it. This is why you would want to select an air purifier with a higher CADR (clean air delivery rate) number on the packaging (ideally over 240) and use it at its highest setting (which can be quite loud). Place the air filter away from anything that can obstruct airflow such as furniture or curtains. Consumer Reports did an article on HEPA air purifiers with a higher CADR rating, and identified some that were less than $200.3

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