The public health measure that may not occur to you

by | Feb 13, 2023 | Health and Wellness

By now, most of us are probably familiar with some of the basic steps we can take to help us stay healthy. For example, singing the birthday song, twice-over, to help make sure we’ve washed our hands for long enough, wearing a well-fitting mask in crowded indoor places and to cover our coughs and sneezes with the crook of our arm, not our hands. And of course, to stay home if we feel sick.

But there’s something else you can do that might not be top of mind, and that’s improving indoor ventilation.

Good indoor ventilation can help reduce the spread of respiratory viruses like COVID-19, RSV and the flu. These viruses spread from one infected person to others through infectious particles released into the air. Good ventilation helps to reduce the levels of potentially infectious particles in the air, by replacing indoor air with outside air, which is especially important when you’re with people from outside your immediate household.

Simply put: the better ventilated a space, the less likely you are to breathe in infectious particles that can make you sick.

But what can we do to improve ventilation at home in colder weather, when gatherings are often inside?

  • There are plenty of small steps that can make a surprisingly big difference:
  • Open windows and doors whenever possible, even if it’s cold or wet outside. A few minutes of outdoor air can help.

Run a kitchen or bathroom exhaust fan continuously at low speed and open a window – even if it’s in a different room – to provide replacement air.

  • Consider using an air purifier with a high-efficiency air filter (known as a HEPA filter), that is properly sized for the room.
  • Regularly clean or replace filters in your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system. If your home has a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) or energy recovery ventilator (ERV), run it continuously.

These steps may seem basic but they can affect the overall air quality in your home, especially when you’re hosting family and friends.

Find more information on ways to improve ventilation at canada.ca/respiratory-viruses

Related Content

Working outdoors? Here are some key safety tips

Working outdoors? Here are some key safety tips

For many people who work outside, high temperatures and heat waves pose a danger to their health – and their ability to work. Know the risk Heat can hurt everyone’s health, particularly people who work outside, older adults, young children and people with health...

read more
Top tips to keep cool in the heat

Top tips to keep cool in the heat

Heat waves, with their hot temperatures and often high humidity, can harm your health and can even be deadly. To help you stay healthy, here are some tips from Health Canada. Take a break Plan your outdoor activities for the morning or evening when the temperature is...

read more
Know the warning signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke

Know the warning signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke

The hot summer heat is here, and with it comes the risk for heat-related illnesses. Heat-related illnesses can range from mild conditions like heat cramps and rashes to moderate illnesses like heat exhaustion, and more severe outcomes like heatstroke. As the body gets...

read more
4 ways to stay active and safe this summer

4 ways to stay active and safe this summer

Regardless of your preference – be it soccer, pickleball, bootcamp class or tai-chi – outdoor activity is an important part of how many of us maintain a healthy mind and body. But being active outdoors during hot weather can have health risks. Here are four tips to...

read more
6 tips to improve your sleep

6 tips to improve your sleep

Sleep is more than just rest – it’s your body’s ultimate repair session, boosting immunity and revitalizing you from head to toe. And for people living with arthritis and chronic pain, there is a vicious cycle in which pain causes stress, prevents good sleep and leads...

read more