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We may think of late spring and early summer as prime times for allergies. That’s when trees, grass, and other plants produce the pollen that causes so many people so much discomfort. With symptoms similar to those caused by the coronavirus, it can be difficult for people to tell the difference between allergies and COVID. This is a concern for business owners and building managers who want to protect against both.
“When ragweed allergies start, it’s a signal that the fall allergy season has arrived,” says Dr. Rajiv Sahay, Director of Environmental Diagnostic Laboratory. “We have also seen some overlap between allergies and COVID,” Dr. Sahay notes, “it’s important to protect against viruses as well as allergens that impact IAQ.” While ragweed is the trigger for many allergy sufferers, mold and weed also play a role in the fall allergy season which begins in early August and lasts until mid-October.
Ragweed includes several species found throughout the U.S. Symptoms of ragweed allergies include stuffy, running nose, itchy watery eyes, and sneezing. Allergies and COVID can be difficult to tell apart for some. COVID symptoms include congestion and runny nose, but also coughing, fever, chill, headaches, muscle aches, and more. In short, the symptoms caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus are much more severe.
Exposure to an allergen such as ragweed triggers a response from the body’s immune system which releases antibodies to defend against the threat. These antibodies release histamine causing the blood vessels to expand which in some cases produces a rash and itching, watery eyes. Treatment for allergies includes both prescription and over-the-counter antihistamines. A severe allergic reaction may produce symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, difficulty breathing, and fatigue. These symptoms make it difficult to tell the difference between allergies and COVID.
Protecting Against Allergies and COVID
While symptoms of allergies and COVID has some overlap, the coronavirus is much deadlier. That said, building managers use similar methods to protect against both of these IAQ issues. For facilities managers with the health and safety of all building occupants in mind, proper ventilation is critical. Regular cleaning and inspections of HVAC systems are important as is around-the-clock tracking of environmental conditions to provide the data needed to identify and resolve IAQ issues.
Pure Air Control Services IAQ Guard is a system that monitors indoor conditions remotely. Using sensors placed throughout the building, the Building Sciences team tracks indoor environmental conditions which include:
- Temperature and relative humidity
- Total volatile organic compounds (TVOC)
- Particulate matter
- CO2 and other gases
This monitoring system provides real-time data to help managers react quickly to environmental changes that impact the health of building occupants. It also helps them meet standards set by ASHRAE, LEED, OSHA, and other organizations and sets the IAQ standards to protect everyone in the building.
Air Purifier for Allergies and COVID
Air purifiers are another useful tool in the fight against allergies and COVID. These air-cleaning devices work around the clock to clean the air in classrooms, offices, spas, restaurants, and healthcare clinics. For example, the AeraMax Professional 2 is a wall-mounted unit that cleans the air in rooms up to 150 and 300 square feet. This makes it ideal for restrooms, classrooms, and conference rooms. It uses a true HEPA filter to capture 99.97% of airborne contaminants as well as a carbon filter to reduce odors and VOCs. The AeraMax PRO AM 3 PC cleans rooms up to 700 square feet while the powerful AeraMax PRO AM 4 PC unit works in rooms up to 1,400 square feet. Using a combination of air purifiers along with monitoring helps protect building occupants against both allergies and COVID.
Protect Against Viruses and Allergens
Protect your workers, students, patients, customers, and clients from allergies and COVID. Call Pure Air Control Services at 1-800-422-7873 or email us here.