What Does a Ventilator Do to Help Fight COVID-19?

A ventilator is a medical device that helps people breathe when they are unable to do so on their own. It pumps air with additional oxygen into the airways of patients who have suffered severe lung damage due to an injury or illness, such as COVID-19. This device can be used to support breathing during surgery, as well as to help save the lives of those with COVID-19 by maintaining their lungs until their bodies can fight the virus. In addition to using a ventilator, there are other preventive measures that can help reduce the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses. Ventilating your home by introducing fresh air, filtering the air that is already present, and improving airflow can help reduce virus particles in your home.

Professionals operating school, office, and commercial buildings should refer to the guide from ASHRAE (formerly known as the American Society of Heating, Cooling, and Air Conditioning Engineers) for information on ventilation and filtration of air to help reduce risks from the virus that causes COVID-19. Increasing ventilation is an important approach to reducing concentrations of indoor air pollutants or pollutants, including viruses that may be in the air. Most schools, offices, and commercial buildings have heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems with filters. Opening windows and doors (weather permitting), operating window or attic fans, or operating a window air conditioner with the ventilation control open increases the rate of outdoor ventilation in a home. Good ventilation also benefits indoor air quality by reducing exposure to products used to clean and disinfect potentially contaminated surfaces.

However, it is important to avoid outdoor air ventilation when outdoor air pollution is high or when it causes your home to be too cold, hot, or humid. Local bathroom or kitchen fans that blow outside air and remove contaminants directly from the room where the fan is located also increase the rate of outdoor ventilation in a home. See ASHRAE for more information on ventilation rates for different types of buildings and other important engineering controls for controlling ventilation, humidity and temperature in a building. In the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak, mechanical respirators were considered essential for patient care while everyone prepared for the unknown. With good ventilation, the concentration of virus particles in the air will be lower and they will leave your home faster than with poor ventilation.

Researchers have not yet found an effective treatment for COVID-19, but ventilators can help save lives while we wait.