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The Importance of Air Quality in Health, Safety, and Pandemic Preparation

The Importance of Air Quality in Health, Safety, and Pandemic Preparation

It’s safe to say that most people and places were not prepared for a global pandemic. Now that we’re approaching the later half of 2021, it’s a great time to reflect on all the important information we’ve learned from surviving Covid-19. More than ever, people are hyper-aware of the transfer of germs and bacteria, self-hygiene, and how businesses, public transportation, and other high-traffic areas need to maintain clean spaces. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce notes that one of the largest pandemic-related impacts on businesses is the significance of cleanliness standards—expectations are, and will continue to be, at an all-time high.

With the knowledge we now have as a society and as individuals, we can make smarter, healthier, and safer decisions about the places in which we spend our time. Being properly prepared for the worst is relatively easy and always a good use of time and energy.

Knowing Your Resources
When something goes wrong, whether it’s a documented outbreak of the flu or simply some strange symptoms you’re having, it’s easy to use that information to quickly find some answers. Typing a few keywords into a search engine will likely produce some helpful (or not-so-helpful) resources on which you can base any next action. Taking preventive action, however, makes finding the right resources a little more difficult if you don’t have a specific keyword or scenario to fuel your search.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has an unparalleled amount of accurate and up-to-date information on virtually anything related to health and safety. Not many people realize that the CDC has a National Pandemic Strategy and several related reading sources that can provide extremely useful information regarding large viral outbreaks.

There are also guides, such as the Planning Guidance and Checklists, that can help individuals as well as businesses and public areas prepare for any kinds of illness outbreaks, especially those that target the respiratory system.

The World Health Organization is also a fantastic resource for information related to health and safety, extending globally. This can help individuals or companies prepare for global outbreaks, anticipate travel and border restrictions, and much, much more.

Keeping it Clean

Hygiene is always an extremely important concept to keep front-of-mind for individuals as well as businesses and public areas, but getting into a good hygiene habit starts before any outbreak or illness occurs. Knowing the CDC’s standards of hygiene in various areas will save you a lot of time if something should happen in the future.

Hand-hygiene (which, you’ll note, is not simply hand-washing) is pivotal in preventing the spread of bacteria, germs, and/or disease. While always important, hand-hygiene is one of the key factors in reducing risk during an outbreak or emergency, along with other aspects of personal hygiene that you may not think about until it’s too late. Proper coughing and sneezing etiquette is equally as important, especially knowing that many harmful illnesses are passed via airborne particles.

Moreover, it’s always useful to know about the other ways to stay hygienic aside from personal hygiene—taking a vested interest in the hygiene of your local water sanitation and environment can help you stay safe during a crisis. Food safety is also critical to keep track of as well, especially when considering common bacterial outbreaks like Salmonella or E.coli.

Additionally, if you’re wondering about the quality of the sanitation of your home, the CDC offers a great guide to household cleaners and sanitizing your living space.

Educating Yourself and Others

Teaching kids, especially school-aged ones, about the importance of hygiene is more preventative than you think. According to the CDC once again, “handwashing with soap could protect about 1 out of every 3 young children who get sick with diarrhea, and almost 1 out of 5 young children with respiratory infections like pneumonia.” Be sure to have smart conversations with your kids about what good hygiene looks like and how they’re doing their part to protect themselves and others.

Keeping up on local and regional news (like this recent Salmonella outbreak, for example) is a great way to stay informed about what’s going on in your area, including any warnings about public water sources, food outbreaks, or environmental concerns. Sharing this information with family and friends is also encouraged (using credible sources, of course) to have as many informed people as possible. Information is power when it comes to being prepared.