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Ahead of Virus Season, ASHRAE Publishes Information on Standard for Indoor Air Quality
With cold and flu season on the way, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has published new information about its standardization work in infectious aerosols.
Last year, ASHRAE and the White House COVID-19 Response Team met to discuss the critical issue of indoor air quality standards and their effectiveness for mitigating risk from respiratory pathogens. Shortly after, the organization announced its goal to support the expedited development of a national indoor air quality (IAQ) pathogen mitigation standard with a balanced team of internationally recognized experts.
Among its other standards work to support IAQ, ASHRAE’s recently published standard, ASHRAE Standard 241, Control of Infectious Aerosols, establishes minimum requirements for control of infectious aerosols to reduce risk of disease transmission in the occupiable space in new buildings, existing buildings, and major renovations to existing buildings, including requirements for both outdoor air system and air cleaning system design, installation, commissioning, operation, and maintenance. The standard also includes recommendations for ventilation rates, filtration, and air cleaning technologies, along with a building readiness plan that documents procedures for assessing existing or new HVAC systems to determine if they are working properly.
“With the fall and winter virus season approaching, mitigating the spread of airborne infections will be of even greater importance and incorporating the guidance in standard 241 can be a major step forward in addressing clean air flow goals,” said 2023-24 ASHRAE president Ginger Scoggins in a recent statement. She added: “The importance of improved indoor air quality and ventilation became topics of mainstream concern during the pandemic and ASHRAE remained committed to prioritizing the health and well-being of building occupants. Standard 241 is a blueprint for building designers, owners, and operators with long-term benefits.”
Access more information about the standard on ASHRAE’s website.
A Mayo Clinic Expert Weighs In: Can We Get COVID and the Flu at the Same Time?
A new Mayo Clinic video has shed light on virus season, emphasizing that contagious viruses cause similar symptoms, making it difficult to differentiate between them. Common sick symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, and body aches.
With that information in mind, can we contract more than one illness at a time? Matthew Binnicker, Ph.D., director of the Clinical Virology Laboratory at Mayo Clinic, says it is possible.
"We've seen patients that are unfortunate enough to contract COVID-19 and influenza," says Binnicker. "There are patients who have COVID-19 and other viruses as well, that are not infected with influenza. They typically have similar symptoms. Some of the cases have been more severe because they're infected with multiple viruses. It’s not a high occurrence, but it does happen."
Access the Mayo Clinic video for more information and to hear Binnicker’s recommendations for staying healthy.
See more ANSI member efforts in the ANSI COVID-19 Resource Webpage Highlighting the Standardization Community’s Response.