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The one coronavirus safety measure you're probably not doing

Wednesday, October 28th 2020, 4:00 pm - An important reminder as we transition into cooler months

Everyone's familiar with the big three coronavirus safety measures by now - wear a mask, keep distance, wash hands. But with the weather getting colder in some places, another one should be added to the list: airing out rooms.

Poorly ventilated rooms increase the probability of transmission through aerosols suspended in the air, explains medical specialist Emil Reisinger from the German city Rostock.

"In addition to droplets, the far smaller aerosols are considered the main path of transmission for the coronavirus, though to a lesser extent," says Reisinger.

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While the heavier droplets quickly fall to the floor, the lighter aerosols can float around in the air for a longer period of time - and thus spread in closed-off rooms.

Fears about catching a cold from opening the windows and cooling down the room are unfounded, say medical professionals.

If aired properly, nobody should fear coming down with a cold. "Airing the room for just a few minutes barely changes the temperature," says Reisinger. The room's objects and walls retain the room's temperature and will release stored heat.

The German Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommends airing rooms for three to 10 minutes at a time depending on how long people have been sitting together - for meeting rooms, it's 20 minutes, in offices, after one hour.

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Thumbnail image courtesy of Getty Images

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