School Air Filtration in Canada - Camfil Canada Clean Air Report 2021
Canada Camfil School Air Filtration Experts Release Web Resource Explains - Quarantine and Our Immune Systems - How Will Canadian Children Be Affected by the Return to School?
As public spaces in Canada, including schools, reopen, there is widespread concern about the potential impact that quarantine and social distancing measures have had on our immune systems. In particular, Canadians worry that due to the lack of close contact with people outside of their households over the past year and a half, their immune systems may have forgotten how to combat common pathogens.
Fortunately, this is not how our immune systems work, but the impact of quarantine on the population’s ability to fight disease is more complicated than a simple “true” or “false.”
In this article, learn about the facts and myths behind this idea, and hear from industry experts about how premium air filtration can prevent a range of illnesses from spreading around Canada schools.
(Related Article: What Should We Be Doing to Protect Our Children’s Lungs?)
How Does Quarantine Affect Our Immune Systems?
What is The Hygiene Hypothesis? How Quarantine May Have Affected the Immunity of Infants
The “hygiene hypothesis” posits that the more microbes an individual is exposed to in early childhood, the stronger their immune systems will be throughout their lives. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that early exposure to more pathogens decreases the likelihood of developing allergies. In essence, exposing a young immune system to a range of potentially harmful stimuli teaches the immune system what is harmful and what it can ignore (1).
Consequently, it is a possibility that infants and very young children’s still-developing immune systems may have been affected by quarantining periods, particularly in regard to allergies. As long as children receive all of their regular vaccinations as per the recommendations of medical professionals (source), disastrous consequences are unlikely. However, no conclusions can be drawn about the effects of social distancing on infant immune systems until more specific research has been conducted.
The Impact of Stress and Loneliness on Immune Function
Adults and older children with healthy, functioning immune systems are unlikely to have been affected in the same way. In short, once the human immune system develops immunity to a particular pathogen due to exposure (which includes vaccination), it does not forget how to fight that pathogen. So while it’s true that you will be exposed to pathogens that your body hasn’t been exposed to since March 2020, you won’t get any sicker than you would have before quarantines took effect.
However, there is some truth to the idea that adults and older children may be experiencing reduced immune system function as a result of isolation and social distancing causing stress and loneliness.
The relationship between stress and the immune system is well-documented, with robust evidence showing that both acute and chronic stress are linked to suppressed immune system function (2). Chronic loneliness is likely to have a similar effect because it triggers a similar physiological and hormonal response (3, 4).
Ongoing overall uncertainty and individual stressors such as grief, job loss, or taking care of sick loved ones, caused by COVID-19, as well as periods of long-term isolation and lonelines are likely to have had an impact on the immune system function of many Canadians.
Allergy Sufferers’ Symptoms Increased As a Result of Quarantine
Protecting Canadian School Children with HEPA Filtration
The spread of airborne illnesses, including COVID-19, can be limited with the use of high efficiency air filtration. This is of particular importance as we approach the cold and flu season.
The Government of Canada stresses the importance of adequate ventilation in public spaces for reducing COVID-19 transmission risks, and recommends HEPA filtration to supplement ventilation and hygiene measures (5).
The Canadian government also highlights the following three reasons why it is essential to consult an experienced air filtration professional in the process of selecting the right premium air filtration device for any application:
to assist in identifying ventilation needs.
to explain the steps for proper maintenance.
to ensure that the unit has a high enough clean air delivery rate and is installed properly.
Read more about the benefits of HEPA filtration in schools from an air filter expert: https://cleanair.camfil.ca/school-air-filtration-update-by-camfil-air-filter-expert-berni-baier-resource-by-camfil-ca/
Camfil Canada’s team of air filtration experts recommend the City M Air Purifier for use in Canadian classrooms. The City M is a standalone unit, meaning that it functions independently of the building's HVAC system. This is advantageous because:
Most commercial HVAC systems do not have the capacity to accomodate air filters with high enough efficiency ratings to filter out infected particles. For Canadian public school systems, the financial burden and time associated with replacing entire HVAC systems to house deeper, higher efficiency filters is not accessible.
The City M supplements ventilation and filtration provided by the HVAC system, providing a high level of protection to students.
The City M targets both gases and particulate pollutants thanks to a combination HEPA and gas/odor removal filter, addressing multiple sources of poor indoor air quality (IAQ), and ensuring cleaner air for school children to breathe.
About Camfil Canada Clean Air Solutions
For more than half a century, Camfil has been helping people breathe cleaner air. As a leading manufacturer of premium clean air solutions, we provide commercial and industrial systems for air filtration and air pollution control that improve worker and equipment productivity, minimize energy use, and benefit human health and the environment. We firmly believe that the best solutions for our customers are the best solutions for our planet, too. That’s why every step of the way – from design to delivery and across the product life cycle – we consider the impact of what we do on people and on the world around us. Through a fresh approach to problem-solving, innovative design, precise process control, and a strong customer focus we aim to conserve more, use less and find better ways – so we can all breathe easier.
The Camfil Group is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, and has 33 manufacturing sites, six R&D centers, local sales offices in 30 countries, and about 4,800 employees and growing. We proudly serve and support customers in a wide variety of industries and in communities across the world. To discover how Camfil Canada can help you to protect people, processes and the environment, visit us at www.camfil.com/en-ca/.
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