The indoor air of a home can be completely inundated with various airborne pollutants that will include odors, chemicals, and even pathogens in the air that will ultimately compromise the air quality in this space and impact the health of all occupants. Pathogens such as bacterium, viruses, and other microorganisms that will float throughout the air of a home will be easily ingested/inhaled into the human body of the inhabitants that are exposed to these germs in the air. During different times of the year viruses and bacteria will be swirling within the environment, such as the flu, the common cold, and other germs that travel in the air waiting to infect its next victim.

These viruses and germs will become released into the air through transmission that will either result in coughing, sneezing, or emission of bodily fluids into the air space. When these various pathogens enter into your personal indoor environment, such as your home, it can lead to the potential for human exposure to occur to those in this space. Therefore, the integration of air quality solutions into the air space of an environment may be the best option for removing the various airborne germs in these air spaces.

In this article we are going to learn more about the effects of airborne germs in an indoor environment, how long these germs can last in the air of your indoor space, and how to disinfect and purify the air in your home naturally.

What are Germs?

When it comes to germs, they can be anywhere throughout the environment including on surfaces, clothing, fabric materials, and even in the air that you breathe into your body. Germs are a menacing, invisible pollutant that will have no boundaries when it comes to spreading and latching onto a person in a pursuit to infect them and elicit health effects quickly within an individual. Depending on the specific germs, each type of germ will have their own favorite places they live and various ways they will spread and cause a unique way of causing infections. Once germs settle into an environment where they can thrive, they will begin to multiple rapidly within the space – therefore, increasing the risks of exposure for humans.

Germs are classified into four different categories; bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa – according to the Michigan State University (MSU). Each of these various germ categories will all produce different effects and work in specific ways when it comes to how they function in the environment. Below we are going to break down these various categories of germs and discuss the differences between them all in the environment and to public health.

  1. What are GermsBacteria: Bacteria are single cell organisms that are both beneficial and hazardous to the human body. This type of germ can be found nearly everywhere in the environment and may be easily spread without proper precautions and health practices in place. When it comes to bacteria it can cause illnesses such as infections in the body, some of which can be significantly dangerous. Protecting yourself against bacteria will begin with good hygiene and eating thoroughly cooked food that will remove bacteria from these surfaces/items.
  2. Viruses: A type of germ category that is not capable of living on its own, viruses survive on a food source like a living cell. The life span of viruses can be alarming, as they can live on surfaces for a long period of time until they find a new host to inhabit (such as an individual) that they are always on pursuit for in the environment. When it comes to the amount of time that a virus can survive without a host, it will vary based on the amount of disinfection that is occurring in this space.
  3. Fungi: Fungi is a plant-like organism that contains multiple cells that can be seen without a microscope. These fungi germs can grow on a variety of items such as plants and animals usually in dark environments where they can get their source of nutrients. This type of germ category will not be dangerous to healthy people; however, it may be dangerous to those with compromised immune systems.
  4. Protozoa: This germ category is comprised of single-celled organisms that will thrive on moisture. Typically, contaminated water is the main source of protozoa, and this germ can cause intestinal infections.

Where Do Germs Come From

Have you ever stopped to consider where germs come from and how they make it into your personal indoor environment? Germs, as we discussed previously, will settle within a host (usually inside of a human body) and as it develops and multiplies it will be spread into the environment through transmission such as sneezing, coughing, or even breathing – which are the main forms of transmissions that people try to avoid when they are sick or around those who are sick. In addition to these main methods of transmissions, germs may also be spread in sweat, saliva, and blood that will be passed when a person touches something that has been contaminated by these bodily fluids/liquids.

After germs have invaded the human body it will prepare for a long stay, as it will consume nutrients, energy, and can even produce toxins that can cause symptoms of common infections such as fevers, sniffles, rashes, coughing, vomiting, and diarrhea, according to Mayo Clinic. When it comes to identifying if an individual has been compromised by germs, they will test a person by looking at samples of blood, pee, and other fluids under a microscope or having them lab tested.

Germs vs Bacteria

Germs vs BacteriaThe comparison between germs and bacteria are often interchanged and thought as the same, however, there are key differences between both of these microbes. Germs is the broad term for harmful microorganisms that may be found, produced, and spread throughout an environment. Whereas bacteria are a category of germs that can be either good or bad in the environment and/or in the human body. Bacteria are unicellular organisms that get their food from their surroundings, and when the bacteria enter into the human body it will cause infections such as sore throats, ear infections, pneumonia, and a lot more illnesses. These germs will become airborne in the air and spread rapidly throughout the confined space of an environment, and this will lead to major health concerns and air quality problems within impacted indoor spaces.

How Long Does It Take for Germs to Die

As we have discussed previously, germs are bacteria, viruses, and other microbes that can cause infections when present in the environment and when they invade a human host. These pathogens will thrive in the environment in certain conditions, and when they house themselves inside of a human body it will continue to progress and grow. Some pathogens will die almost instantly when they are outside of a human host, while other pathogens can potentially persist and live outside the host for hours, days, and even centuries. The lifespan of the germs will live for an ambiguous amount of time depending on the nature of the organism and the conditions in the environment – which will all influence the germs ability to progress on outside of a human body.

For example, when it comes to how long germs can live outside of a human body a 2008 publication found that influenza A stayed infectious for up to three days on paper currency. A cold or flu virus will rapidly decrease in viability outside of the human body and this is due to the enveloped structure, environmental conditions, and how much mucous surrounds the germ.

Does Heat Kill Germs?

Does Heat Kill GermsThere is an old myth that says that extreme heat will help to facilitate the destruction of germs in the environment, however, is this myth true or is it simply a fallacy? When it comes to the destruction of germs, heat will be an effective solution in eradicating them from the environment. According to the University of Illinois, many germs will fall apart when they are too hot and even when they are too hot and wet. Boiling water will kill most germs and that is why often times when washing linens and other materials they recommend washing them in hot water to kill the germs. Additionally, when you cook food that may contain germs on them, cooking the food thoroughly will provide the killing ability to the germs on these food items.

How to Disinfect the Air in Your Home Naturally

The process of cleaning the inside area of a home from airborne pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, and other germs in the air can be a detailed and extensive process. When it comes to removing germs from the indoor space of your home or other personal environment, often times the inhabitants of this space are taking the proper precautions to mitigate and remove germs from a variety of sources in this space such as from clothing, countertops, flooring, and other surfaces that may contain pathogens on them. These practices are the most widely recommended when battling and fighting off germs that may be present in your home from a sick child or spouse, or that may have been brought in by heightened exposure to such as the flu during flu season or a contagious virus that may be sweeping your environment and others around the world. However, when it comes to disinfecting the air of your home this is the area that most indoor spaces will be lacking and have less protection against.

Cleaning and disinfecting the indoor air of a home naturally is something that is critical to nipping germs in the bud and preventing the spreading of these pathogens in the environment that may risk human exposure. What can be used inside of a home to clean and disinfect the air naturally of a variety of germs that may come into this air space?

What Kills Germs in the Air?

What Kills Germs in the AirWhen it comes to killing airborne germs that are present in the air of your home, the solutions will be limited because various methods used to kill germs in the air may be potentially dangerous to the human occupants and even pets in the environment. However, there are other types of methods that can be used safely inside this indoor space to help remediate and ultimately eliminate these germ collections in the air. Two of the most popularly used solutions to removing airborne germs is the use of air filtration devices and UV lamps – and sometimes both of these methods used together.

Air filtration is important when it comes to high concentration of pollutants in the air space, especially pathogens like germs (bacteria, viruses, etc.). There are a variety of different air filtration technologies that can be used to mitigate the air space of hazardous pollutants, and some of these will be effective when it comes to capturing the fine particulate matter of germs – while others will simply be ineffective in this pursuit. In addition, UV lamps will suck in the air and also allow the air to be exposed to the germicidal light to eradicate these pathogens that come into contact with this light source. When you are looking for a solution to eradicating germ pollutants from the air, an air purifier that utilizes both air filtration and UVC lights will be a double threat against these airborne germs.

Air Purifier for Germs

Does an air purifier help with germs and their removal from the air? An air purifier that uses UV-C light as their technology can help to expose microbes in the air to the ultraviolet light, this will kill or inactivate germs and bacteria that come into contact with the light source. The UV-C light when used in conjunction with other technologies such as a HEPA filter will help to capture the microorganism (bacteria, germs, and mold spores) and allow for long exposure times to the germicidal UV-C light. The EnviroKlenz UV Air Purifier uses both a UV-C lights and a HEPA filter to provide this type of removal of airborne bacteria and germs in the air of your indoor environment.

Air Purifier for GermsHEPA filtration are certified filters that are able to trap 99.97 percent of particles 0.3 micrometers in size, so this filter can reduce the number of small particles that carry bacteria and viruses in the air. However, not all viruses and bacteria will be removed in the HEPA filter as some of the particles are smaller than what can be captured by the filter. Also, there is a potential for these germs and bacteria to grow and cultivate on the filter if there is not a control mechanism such as UV-C.

Ultimately, fighting off airborne germs is possible particularly with different preventative measures that can be taken. Considering the different factors that can contribute to the development of germs and bacteria such as the indoor air quality, having an effective air purifier will help you have a better chance at fighting off these airborne illnesses in your personal indoor air.

Article Sources:

  1. Michigan State University (MSU): What are ‘Germs” Anyway? (link)
  2. Mayo Clinic: Germs: Understand and Protect Against Bacteria, Viruses, and Infection (link)
  3. American Society for Microbiology: Survival of Influenza Virus on Banknotes (link)
  4. University of Illinois Department of Physics: Q & A: Killing Germs (link)

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