Aerosols are to blame for any second infection: Airing helps – on one condition

The Coronavirus is tiny and can stay in Mini-droplets longer in the air. These so-called aerosols will therefore increasingly in the focus of the research. How you can reduce the risk of infection via the airborne particles in the best possible way.

In the study of Corona Infection, scientists take more and more the so-called aerosols under the magnifying glass. Thus, a mixture of solid or liquid suspended particles is referred to – like particles of Sars-CoV-2 – in the air. “We are pretty sure that aerosols are one of the ways that Covid-19 widely used,” says the former President of the International society for aerosols in medicine, Gerhard Scheuch. Smear infections, by contrast, had less of a role.

Christian Drosten the virus transmission through the suspended particles in the air, in the meantime, as a very relevant for the spread of Sars-CoV-2. Previous research on the novel Coronavirus suggested a significant Aerosol component of the Transmission. “There are even direct measurements of the Aerosol formation, not just one, but several studies,” explains the virologist already the end of may in the NDR Info-Podcast “The Coronavirus-Update”.

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Aerosols, probably similar to to be relevant for contagion, such as droplet infection

“The best of these studies remains for me from Hong Kong that tells me that probably 50 percent of the infectious agent, the infectious Virus, the one of particles, in Aerosol-and not in the larger droplets,” adds Drosten.

At the beginning of the pandemic, it was assumed, in contrast, especially of a contagion via larger droplets, which is held in close contact directly from person to person. However, the data situation had now changed, he says. Accordingly, the droplet transfer games certainly still have a role. “Yes, this is the Transmission, when you think of this one and a half meters distance,” explains the Director of the Institute for Virology at the Charité hospital in Berlin.

The influence of the aerosols on the infection of the Professor of Virology, rating of events, in the meantime, however, as similar in size: He was now based on the fact that nearly half of the Sars-CoV-2 infections is due to aerosols. The proportion of droplets and aerosols is estimated to be 45 per cent, ten per cent of the infections decreased in virus-infected surfaces.

Find out more:

  • Office, Restaurant, school: Where aerosols float, not also helps the distance control
  • Pulmonologist to the Aerosol hypothesis: "Virus clouds in a confined space hochinfektiös"

What helps against aerosols in the air

To protect yourself from the floating particles in the air, however, is even more difficult than from infection by the classical droplet infection, which is often the Transmission path of the conventional cold viruses. The most effective lever to move the particles out of the air to distribute, is regular and effective Ventilation.

Without draught, the viruses remain in the air in the room

“If it is so, that a Virus is in the air in a room, then this room air of course moves and carries needs to be,” says Drosten, compared with the “Germany radio”. “That is, if you open the window, since a large cooling fan inside, which blows the air to the outside, and the door makes a gap. Then you can vent, of course a room like this and certainly can also decrease as an aerosol component.“

What’s important here is that an actual exchange of air takes place, i.e., air from the inside to the outside flows, and Vice versa, experts stress. No Wind or draft exists, this is only partially the case. The Air can then remain ineffective, viruses in the air in the room remain. Especially for offices and schools, where many people meet, recommends Drosten, therefore, the support by means of a fan. 

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Mouth and nose coverings to reduce the risk

In addition to an effective ventilation of rooms, the mouth-nose-coverings against airborne particulates in enclosed spaces, for example when shopping or in the Bahn help. “They offer resistance to flow. Rather than particles the far outside of the blow, keep you close to the head,“ explains Christian Kähler by the Institute of fluid mechanics and aerodynamics at the Universität der Bundeswehr München, the mechanism behind it. This reduces the risk of Infection also.

Aerosols can remain for hours infectious

How long is a potential danger of the aerosols in the air runs out, researchers have already been investigated in the first studies: A Team from the USA has measured for example, with laser light, the service life of the small droplets in the air produced when Speaking. Thus, they disappear in a closed environment with a stationary air after eight to 14 minutes. In the conclusion of the study, it is stated, “that there is a significant probability that to Speak normally created in limited environments, Transmission of viruses in the air”.

According to Gerhard Scheuch of the International society for aerosols in medicine, leads a company for organic-Inhalation, could keep aerosols in closed spaces, even over hours, and can be infectious. Outside experts estimate the risk of Infection by aerosols is, however, very low. Virus particles were distributed very quickly.

A hundred percent protection against infection, none of the measures provides, however, neither outside nor inside. The combination also further protection measures against the Coronavirus wash as regular and thorough hand and the Respect of at least one and a half meters distance to the other, therefore, remain essential.

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