Why Healthcare Professionals Use Air Purifiers

Woman Doctor in her practice. Air Purifier essential for healthcare featured image


Medical facilities like doctor’s offices and dentist’s offices benefit from using air purifiers. Any area that is frequented by people with illnesses has a high concentration of contaminants in the air. As air purification technology has improved, it has made it possible to create highly portable, unobtrusive products that can purify the air in a waiting room, exam room, or dental operatory. This decreases the spread of sickness and reduces airborne and surface pollutants, contaminants and germs.

Air purifiers in doctor’s offices and air purifiers in medical facilities are essential for people who are immuno-compromised or are sick. There is a significant body of research that proves the effectiveness of multi-process air purifiers to reduce bacteria and kill viruses. High-quality air purifiers can create a safer, cleaner environment in a medical office.

More healthcare professionals are using air purifiers than ever before. This article will review the many benefits that air purifiers bring to a medical facility and the functions and features that make them the optimal choice for an environment like this.

Read on to learn about:

Air Purification in Medical Offices

Effective air purification in medical offices must work to reduce contaminants and eliminate disease-causing airborne particulates. This means purification down to very small microns. A multi-system approach is most commonly used, as various technologies can address different aspects of indoor air quality.

First, a bit of history and the reasoning behind the installation of air purifiers in medical buildings.

VOCs and Indoor Air Quality at the Doctor

Recycled air and air ventilation have long been a topic of discussion among medical professionals. This is because sanitization is a vital element of routine hygiene. Any facility that offers medical services, such as hospitals or doctor’s offices, may have a higher concentration of something called Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs. These have numerous sources and can negatively impact health.

VOCs in a regular building and medical facility come from:

  • Acetone, found in things like wallpaper and furniture polish
  • Ethanol, found in glass cleaners, detergents and many commercial grade cleaners
  • Alcohol, used as a disinfectant or solvent
  • Formaldehyde, found in plastic and lacquers
  • Methylene chloride, also known as dichloromethane and found in paint removers, aerosols and flame retardant chemicals

Many factors determine how dangerous a VOC is. Some of these factors include things like how concentrated they are and the rate of evaporation. All of the ones listed above are common in buildings. It’s essential that a building be properly ventilated for so that exposure isn’t detrimental to someone’s health.

Case Study of VOCs in a Hospital

In one study in a hospital in France, samplings were taken from six different locations within the building over the course of three days.

Those locations were:

  • Reception hall
  • Nursing care
  • Patient room
  • Post-anesthesia care unit
  • Flexible endoscope disinfection unit
  • Parasitology-mycology laboratory

Air samples indicated a high concentration of alcohols, especially ethanol, ethers, isopropanol and ketones/acetone. Aromatic and halogenated hydrocarbons were variable based on the age of the building and products present at the sampling location. Other compounds included anesthetic gases, butane and organic acids.

They found that the samples did not indicate the presence of VOCs at overtly harmful levels. However, there were definitive conclusions of all experts conducting the research that regular patients and hospital staff were at the highest risk. Due to the wide variety of VOCs, these people especially were at risk for symptoms like conjunctivitis, allergic reactions, rhinitis and contact dermatitis as a direct result of the indoor air quality. Those researchers went so far as to say that regulatory attention should be mandated to monitor the acceptable indoor air quality for a hospital.

Is Indoor Air Quality Worse in a Medical Facility?

When someone goes to the doctor, they assume that their health will improve with the treatment offered. Based on reliable research, the indoor air quality at that doctor’s office, if not treated with an air purifier, could actually complicate health issues.

There may be two dynamics in play.

  1. First, medical facilities have a higher concentration of people with contagious diseases. This is because people go to the doctor or hospital when they are sick. When airborne particulates are released into the air through coughing or sneezing, those droplets circulate, threatening bystanders with contamination.
  2. Second, medical facilities may themselves become breeding grounds for secondary infections or issues. In a building that sees traffic from medical patients, there is a higher incidence of nosocomial infections, also referred to as healthcare-associated infections. These are issues that arise as a direct result of compounding factors in play in a medical setting, such as a hospital or doctor’s office.

Understanding the source of these contaminants is vital to applying the right solution.

Certain areas of a hospital or medical facility will have even higher concentration of particulates. These will benefit from highly effective air purification and ventilation systems. They include:

  • Burn units
  • Data centers
  • Intensive care units
  • Bone marrow transplant rooms
  • Surgical centers
  • Emergency rooms
  • Microbiology labs

Reduce Exposure to VOCs at the Doctor’s Office

The EPA provides several actionable steps that people can take to reduce their exposure to VOCs when indoors. These include:

  • Increased ventilation
  • Observe or exceed all precautions listed on product labels
  • Have strict protocol for reducing exposure to formaldehyde
  • Integrated pest management procedures should be enforced
  • Only use products according to the manufacturer’s directions
  • Don’t store large quantities of supplies that let off high quantities of VOCs
  • Always store chemicals and cleaners in a safe way, where they can’t be accessed or inhaled by pets or children
  • Don’t mix cleaners or chemicals

The EPA recommends that people make every effort to reduce their exposure to methylene chloride, benzene and perchloroethylene.

In non-industrial settings, there are no federally enforceable standards for IAQ. There are numerous guides and measures in the way that textiles, chemicals and other hazardous materials should be handled. Doctor’s offices and hospitals have strict hazard disposal processes that should reduce the presence of VOCs. That, however, is just the first step. Air purification is an essential next step.

Air Purifiers to Reduce VOCs

Numerous case studies have shown that air purifiers reduce VOCs. For example, Air Oasis air purifiers were studied at West Texas A & M University’s Department of Life, Earth and Environmental Sciences. This series of seven case studies found a significant reduction in all kinds of bacteria, mold spores, fungus, pollen and allergens.

In one three-hour test of the Air Oasis Nano Induct, there were dramatic results of:

  • Formaldehyde (HCHO) reduced by 98.5%
  • Respiratory Suspended Particulates (RSP) reduced by 35.5%
  • Ammonia (NH3) reduced by 73.3%
  • Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) reduced by more than 97%

The net result was a reduction of more than 99% in Total Volatile Organic Compounds (TVOC). The bottom line? Air purifiers reduce harmful contaminants in the air and can improve indoor air quality at a medical facility or doctor’s office.

Air Purifiers in Medical Facilities

Some issues with indoor air quality in a medical facility have to do with the age and structure of a building. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and numerous other architectural and construction organizations contribute to standards about ventilation and air quality in newly built structures. Indoor air quality can be improved through practices in design, construction and operation.

ASHRAE created an epidemic task force to address the COVID-19 pandemic. During this current season of the novel coronavirus, and to address future epidemics, they are researching new ways to optimize ventilation and air systems in buildings. The goal is that disease transmission in healthcare facilities and recreational environments will be reduced.

Air Quality and COVID-19

The Collaborative Drug Discovery company has created a comprehensive guide on COVID-19. This helps clarify the way in which the virus is transmitted. While it is not inherently an airborne illness, the transmission rates are alarming. This has led doctor’s offices to take preventative measures such as installing air purifiers, which are proven to kill viruses. Once a virus is in the air, it can be captured and neutralized by the right air filters.

Benefits of Healthcare Air Purifiers

Air purifiers help to remove VOCs. But, that’s not all. They improve indoor air quality by greatly reducing viruses and bacteria, which reduces disease transmission. Here are some of the global ways that an air purifier can benefit a medical facility or doctor’s office:</p/>

  • Air purifiers can remove the particulates that cause asthmatic or allergic reactions
  • Air purifiers remove asbestos particles from the air
  • Air purifiers remove mold spores
  • Air purifiers can improve airflow, which makes a facility feel and smell fresh and clean
  • Air purifier remove radon gas and other gases from the environment
  • Air purifiers eliminate pollutants and fumes
  • Air purifiers reduce the carbon dioxide level in the air

Respiratory health and even mental health can be improved with cleaner indoor air. If you want to know how an air purifier can benefit your medical practice or experience as a patient, read the following sections on air purification to eliminate viruses, bacteria, diseases and improve overall health.

Healthcare Airflow and Ventilation

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has environmental recommendations for healthcare facilities. They outline numerous steps, including that buildings should be assessed and monitored for indoor air quality:

  • Clean and replace air filters
  • Use airborne-particle sampling tool
  • Evaluate barrier integrity
  • Assess newly-installed HVAC systems
  • Ensure proper ventilation for operating rooms, patient rooms and waiting areas
  • Collect samples to identify airborne fungal spores

There are a variety of ventilation standards as well. These include things like:

  • Maintaining airflow patterns
  • Monitoring airflow patterns
  • Locating and cleaning air supply and exhaust grills
  • Directing flow of air to flow across patient beds and exit room
  • Take care for air balance relationships and the exhaust of contaminated air
  • Using a HEPA filter in an exhaust duct for circulating air

Healthcare Air Purifiers and Viruses

High quality air purifiers can reduce the presence of viruses. For example, the aerosols and droplets that carry the seasonal flu can be effectively filtered by air purifiers using HEPA filtration. Many diseases are spread through the exhalation and inhalation of particles, also known as aerosol transmission. The influenza A (H1N1) has been tested using various systems, including HEPA and ionic air purifiers. 

The method that would be used to filter specific particles out of the air will be determined by their size. On average, the virions or particles of a virus measure between 0.06-0.14 microns. That means that these particles are relatively large, which means that they can be removed by HEPA. While some people may refute this, a study by NASA confirms that HEPA can filter down 0.01 microns.

In addition to HEPA, there has been much discussion around the role of different technologies to remove viruses like COVID-19. These discussions have centered around ionic air filters and UV light. Both of these technologies have a powerful capacity to clean indoor air. Ionic air filters do so by blanketing an environment in ions that deactivate contaminants. UV light air cleaners can disinfect surfaces and the air. Viruses are literally deactivated and changed on a DNA-level by both UV light and effective forms of ionization.

Air Purification and Bacteria

Bacteria and viruses are unique kinds of pathogens with distinct characteristics. In contrast to viruses, bacteria can reproduce on their own. On average, bacteria are actually larger than viruses. This means that they are even more susceptible to being captured and removed by air filters in a doctor’s office. When considering whether an air purifier is needed in a doctor waiting room or patient room, the first question many people ask is, “do air purifiers work for germs?” When people talk about germs, they typically mean either viruses or bacteria. 

Bacteria cause a wide variety of infectious diseases. These organisms multiply rapidly, which can accelerate contagion. Bacteria causes illnesses that include:

  • Sinus infection
  • Skin infections
  • Respiratory tract infections
  • Urinary tract infections

Exposure to bacteria in the air can increase the prevalence of these and other conditions. While they are treatable, the risk of quickly spreading bacterial infections in a doctor’s office is high. This risk can be diminished by capturing and reducing bacteria in the air with air purifiers. Bacteria are relatively simple to neutralize with air purifiers like those that use HEPA, UV light, ionization or activated carbon.

Air Purification and Disease Transmission

Measles, TB and other airborne pathogens can be reduced by air purification. The risk of any infectious disease becoming an epidemic or pandemic is high when people are in close proximity. Photocatalytic oxidation, ultraviolet germicidal irradiation and plasmacluster ion technology have all been analyzed according to the principles of air distribution. Their effectiveness to promote circulation of purified air is well-proven. 

Protecting people in a building is a high priority. There are numerous aspects of air purification related to disease transmission. 

  1. First, airflow determines the placement of droplets. This is complicated in a dynamic environment. The air around a person’s body is disrupted when they cough or sneeze. This displacement can elevate the concentration of pathogens. 
  2. Second, particles vary in the length of time in which they are suspended in the air. Whether they suspend or settle can be the difference between exposure for a body. The sooner they can be taken out of the air—weighted down, converted or filtered out—the better.
  3. Third, ventilation can be used to control or displace air. If an air filter is attached to an HVAC system, this could filter purified air through that space.

There are a variety of ventilation and air purification options. The kinds of air filters that may be effective in a doctor’s office will vary. For example, the capacity of a waiting room may be 30 people. There are equations that can be performed to predict the risk of transmitting airborne illnesses based on the number of people and square footage of the space.

Any air purifier you buy online should have product specifications that include the square footage range that they effectively cover.

For example:

Product

Process

Square footage

SMALL iAdaptAirⓇ HEPA Air Purifier

HEPA filter, carbon filter, UV, AHPCOⓇ and Bi-PolarⓇ

Small size: up to 250 square feet

MEDIUM iAdaptAirⓇ HEPA Air Purifier

HEPA filter, carbon filter, UV, AHPCOⓇ and Bi-PolarⓇ

Medium size: up to 550 square feet

LARGE iAdaptAirⓇ HEPA Air Purifier

HEPA filter, carbon filter, UV, AHPCOⓇ and Bi-PolarⓇ

Large size: up to 850 square feet

As doctors, dentists and other healthcare providers buy air purifiers, they will want to be cognizant of the extenuating factors that will determine which systems are best for which space in their building. A waiting room, patient room or exam room may benefit from a portable air filter. An entire wing or office building may benefit from a purifier installed in the HVAC system.

Need to discuss your specific scenario with an expert? Go here to contact Air Oasis for more information and insight into the best choice for your practice.

Air Purification and Health

Air purification in a doctor’s office may stop the spread of disease. There are additional health benefits to having an air purifier. 

  • Studies have shown a vast improvement in the health of children who suffer from allergies or asthma by using air purifiers at home.
  • Air filters have been proven to have pulmonary and cardiovascular health benefits.
  • Air ions have an impact on mood, which can mean that NAIs directly improve mental health

Go here to read about how air purifiers can boost your immune system.

Air Purifiers in Hospitals

The standards for air purifiers in hospitals is high. Most commercial retailers do not make hospital-grade air purifiers. There is benefit in understanding the value of air purifiers in a hospital and how indoor air quality impacts patients.

Indoor Air Quality in a Hospital

Indoor air quality in a hospital is related to thermal conditions, chemicals and contaminants in the air and the outdoor air quality. The American Hospital Association explains that there are some mechanical improvements that impact air quality, such as building pressurization, filtration, moisture control and exhaust.

IAQ issues have relevance in a hospital but also in nursing homes and all healthcare facilities. Air purifiers for healthcare facilities are standard practice, as the incidence of nosocomial and other infections is most prevalent in ICUs. Bacteria in a neonatal word, post operative ward and dialysis ward can be life-threatening to at-risk patients.

There is also the issue of sick building syndrome (SBS). This is controlled by the existing ventilation and air conditioning systems. These systems must be installed and operated correctly to avoid SBS. Air purifiers in a hospital should remove mold spores, fungus, viruses, bacteria and all VOCs.

Air Purifiers in the Operating Room

Hospitals in China have studied the impact of air purifiers in the operating room. In one body of research, 154 participating hospitals analyzed the air cleaning technology. This technology includes functions like UV sterilization. A reduction in healthcare associated infections was found when air purifiers were being used. Patients coming out of surgery are at a high-risk for infection. By controlling and sanitizing the air in an operating room, there is a decreased risk of cross-contamination and bacterial infections.

Air Purification for Hospital Patients

Hospital patients may suffer chronic or acute conditions. The prevalence of pathogens and contaminants in the air of a common emergency room or intensive care unit creates ample precedent for improving air quality. There are available technologies to address these issues and reverse the negative impact of spreading disease through the air.

Air Purifiers in Doctors’ Offices

The best air purifiers for doctor offices will protect both the staff and patients. This includes:

  • Air purifiers for health clinics
  • Air purifiers for doctor waiting rooms
  • Air purifiers for patient exam rooms
  • Air purifiers for medical offices

Topical sanitization procedures are insufficient to stop the spread of disease. Because of what researchers understand about disease transmission, installing air purifiers at a medical clinic or doctor office adds a layer of protection. 

Medical staff—physicians, nurses, support staff and specialists—are all at the highest risk from poor indoor air quality at the doctor.

Indoor Air Quality at the Doctor

Indoor air pollution can be high at a healthcare facility. This is because VOCs are released from the outside, common objects in the building and because of the concentration of bacteria and viruses. 

Particulate matter comes in from outdoor air, which is typically mandated by a state law to dilute the CO2 and CO gases. This does mean that as much as 20% of the air in the building could be fresh air from outside, where there are unfiltered allergens, particles from vehicles and other pollution.

Common objects in a healthcare facility or doctor office that release VOCs include cleaners/disinfectants, aerosol sprays, paint and varnish.

Bacteria and viruses may be more common in a healthcare facility because people come to the doctor when they are sick.

Go here to read more about air purifiers in the doctor office.

Air Purifiers in Dentists’ Offices

The best air purifiers for a dentist office will address the unique needs of the facility and protect staff and patients. These include:

  • Air purifiers for a dental waiting room
  • Air purifier for a dentist exam room
  • Air purifiers for a dentist office
  • Air purifiers for a dental operatory

The release of saliva and sheer fact that people sit with their mouths open means that transmittable bacteria and viruses are constantly being emitted into the air. While many of these particles land, where they can be manually wiped away, many also circulate through the air. To intercept them, an air purifier should be installed in the dentist office.

Indoor Air Quality at the Dentist

Chemical pollutants are a common feature in the air in a dentist office. These lurk in waiting areas, instrument washing rooms and operatories. The regular culprits of bacteria, viruses and VOCs are joined by bioaerosols, which are released from many common dental procedures. Suspended particulate matter can quickly spread disease. To combat this, high-quality, high-powered air filters should be installed in every area and run continuously.

Go here to read more about air purifiers at the dentist’s office.

Medical Air Purifiers

Medical-grade air purifiers may be the only option for certain hospitals or operating rooms. These will have the general functions of a commercial air purifier with the added benefits of mist collection, fume extraction and downdraft tables. This level—and cost—of air purification is only necessary for environments that must be sanitized. Driven by medical necessity, these kinds of units are available from limited manufacturers and accessible through a hospital procurement department.

Medical Air Purification Systems

Medical-grade air purification systems utilize some commercial elements, such as HEPA, and also use ULPA filters and ASHRAE filters. They filter down to 0.1 microns to eliminate chemical fumes, VOCs and have filters that absorb chemical vapors. There are a variety of patented devices that a medical facility or hospital will use, some of which will have specialty filters to address specific chemicals.

Sanitizing Air Purifiers

Outside of medical-grade equipment, there are many commercial air purifiers that can sanitize the air. Ultimately, sanitization simply means to eliminate germs and bacteria. This process can be achieved using any of a number of processes, including:

  • Ionic air purification
  • UV light
  • HEPA filtration
  • Activated carbon
  • Cold plasma technology

Sanitizing air purifiers are antimicrobial and can remove bacteria and deactivate viruses. The best air purifiers for a doctor office or dentist office will sanitize with a multi-system process that leverages one or more of the above technologies.

Medical Office Air Purification Systems

At Air Oasis, we frequently have customers in the medical field who purchase air purifiers for their entire facility. The models and units you need will vary based on your building. You may wish to buy wither whole building air purifiers or portable air purifiers for each room.

Individual air purifiers can be installed to clean every part of the building:

  • Waiting room
  • Behind the reception desk
  • Office areas
  • Triage area
  • Patient exam rooms
  • Procedure rooms
  • Hallways

Essentially, you want to create clean air everywhere. This is the only way to truly protect your patients from the spread of disease and unwanted health issues.

At Air Oasis, we partner with healthcare professionals to improve the environment of their practice. If you are interested in more information about this partnership, click here.

Best Air Purifiers for Healthcare Settings

Here are some of the best healthcare air purifiers on the market:

Air Purifier

Made by

Air purifying process

Maximum available square footage/coverage

Price

Blue Pure 121

BlueAir

HEPA

620 square feet

$439.99

Air

Molekule

PECO

600 square feet

$799.00

MinusA2

RabbitAir

BioGSⓇ HEPA

815 square feet

$599.95

BreatheSmart

Alen

HEPA Pure

700 square feet

$349.00

Healthmate Plus

Austin

HEPA, carbon

780 square feet

$715.00

iAdaptAirⓇ HEPA Air Purifier

Air Oasis

HEPA, carbon, UV AHPCOⓇ and Bi-PolarⓇ

850 square feet

$799.00

Airpura V600

Airpura

HEPA, Carbon with UV upgrade for $300

570 square feet

$799.00

HealthProⓇ

IQ Air

HyperHEPA

1240 square feet

$849.00

G3 Series

Air Oasis

Air ionizer

900 square feet

$549.00

Oransi Max

Oransi

HEPA, activated carbon

600 square feet

$479.00

nano Induct™

Air Oasis

Air ionizer

Whole space

$899.00

LEVOIT Air Purifier

LEVOIT

HEPA, activated carbon

1170 square feet

$384.99

Bi-Polar® 2400 

Air Oasis

Cold plasma/ionization

Whole space

$899.00

Buy an Air Purifier for Your Healthcare Facility

If you run a healthcare facility, it’s important that you take the right steps to protect your staff and patients. Everyone who enters your building will benefit from cleaner air. There are many great products to choose from. Go here to start the process and buy an air purifier online.

Reviews of Air Oasis Air Purifiers for Doctor Office and Dentist Office


For Dentist Offices

Review by Daniel T.

“Makes my dental office smell fresh!”


Physician Recommended

Review by Nancy W. 

“Last month I purchased the small iAdaptAir for the bedroom after my physician recommended it to help eliminate allergens and mold. After a noticeable improvement in the freshness of the air and a great improvement in health, I recently purchased a large one to insure that other parts of our home had fresh and clean air. I am very satisfied with this product.”


Relieve Symptoms

Review by Amy M.

“This unit has some good support from the Mold Illness community. After doing an ERMI dusting cloth test on our home and not being completely happy with a borderline safe score for those with CIRS, I did a deep cleaning of the home as recommended by the lab, but also purchased two of these large units as backup and peace of mind. I am happy to know they can deal with mycotoxins. The air produced is noticeably fresher than our standard Winix HEPA room filters. Those are fine for catching dust, but do nothing to deal with the mycotoxins. That makes this product superior.”


For Chronic Illnesses

Review by Phil D.

“Purchased an iAdaptAir unit for a chronic Lyme patient (son) who is extremely sensitive to airborne pollutants such as voc’s, mold spores, etc. We have been using a brand name hepa air purifier for years, but it wasn’t able to adequately clean and sanitize the room air. After only one day of running the iAdaptAir, there was a noticeable improvement in air quality. Our son indicated that he is sleeping better since running the iAdaptAir. We highly recommend this product!”