Viruses can linger for a long time on surfaces in your home, which is why regular cleaning and dusting can make a huge difference to your family’s health and wellbeing.
But some viruses are airborne, which means they spread via pathogens in the air. This means you can catch certain diseases simply by breathing.
In this post we’ll list some examples of airborne viruses, before discussing how you can effectively kill viruses in the air.
Examples of Common Airborne Viruses
- Influenza and the Common Cold – There are many strains of flu each year, and many viruses that can cause the common cold. COVID-19 is largely spread via droplets from coughs and sneezes, and these droplets are too large to become truly airborne. However, there are some situations where COVID-19 can behave like an airborne disease.
- Chickenpox – The varicella-zoster virus that causes chickenpox can become airborne. People with chickenpox can carry an infection risk even before they develop the rash, and it can take up to three weeks following exposure for the disease to develop. Though most people only get chickenpox once, some people can get it again in the form of a skin condition called shingles.
- Mumps – Though vaccination has significantly reduced instances of mumps infections across the world, we still see outbreaks from time to time. And as it’s an airborne disease, outbreaks are more common in densely populated areas.
- Measles – The measles virus can survive in the air or on surfaces for up to four hours. The most prominent symptom is a rash, but you can still transmit the disease days before, and days after, this rash appears.
- Pertussis – More commonly known as “whooping cough”, this airborne disease affects nearly 25 million people each year.
- Tuberculosis – Also known as TB, and originally known as consumption, tuberculosis is a bacterial infection that’s usually spread via close contact with a person who’s had it for a long time. You can contract TB without becoming ill, and even without transmitting it to others, though people with weak immune systems have a greater risk of developing serious symptoms.
Symptoms of Airborne Diseases
Each of the above viruses can cause slightly different symptoms. But regardless of the underlying virus or bacteria, an airborne disease will usually result in at least one of the following symptoms:
- Breathing difficulties.
- Coughing and sneezing.
- Congestion and a runny nose.
- Sore throat.
- Body aches and feverishness.
- Fatigue and a loss of appetite.
- Skin rashes.
How Long Can a Virus Survive in the Air?
Different viruses have different lifespans in the air. Environmental factors can also affect a virus’s airborne lifespan, including humidity levels and the amount of ventilation in the area.
Invariably, though, the longer a virus spends in the air, the less infectious it becomes. For example, one study found that Covid-19 can become up to 90% less infectious within minutes of getting exposed to indoor air.
Read our full guide to how long viruses can survive in the air.
How to Kill Viruses in the Air
Keeping your home clean will help remove viruses and bacteria from surfaces. But good ventilation is the only way to kill viruses in the air. A good air purifier can trap and kill many viruses in the air before they have a chance to settle on any surfaces, significantly reducing the risks of airborne infection.
Our Blueair home air purifiers are fitted with advanced HEPA filters that can effectively remove over 99% of particles from the air. When viruses are trapped in a HEPA filter, they have no host to sustain them. This means that they won’t survive for long, which means they’ll be far less likely to infect you or your family.
At the touch of a button, an air purifier can quickly and quietly filter the air in a room of up to 17m² in as little as 12.5 minutes. Find out how the Blueair home air purifiers can help you quickly and quietly kill viruses in the air.