Besides getting the flu vaccine, one way to reduce the chances of getting the flu (or getting better, if you come down with the flu) is to do a few things with your heating and air conditioning system and indoor air. While it won’t guarantee immunity from the flu, every little bit helps.
#1: Install a Higher MERV Rated Air Filter
HVAC air filters receive special minimum efficiency reporting value ratings, or MERV ratings. These tell the consumer how effective the filter is at removing airborne contaminants, with the higher MERV rating resulting in the ability to remove smaller particles from the air.
In medical or laboratory settings, installing an air filter with a MERV rating of 20 will make spreading the flu virus through the air very difficult. These types of air filters can actually catch viruses! However, the average office or home won't have an HVAC system that can handle this type of filter. Instead, they can use the highest rated MERV air filter possible with a given HVAC unit, as it will remove other contaminants from the air, like dust, which can potentially help spread the flu virus.
#2: Maintain Proper Humidity Levels
If the indoor air is very dry, or has low humidity (such as 20 percent relative humidity), it's easier for the flu virus to spread among individuals. But if the indoor air has a fair amount of moisture in it, such a 45 percent relative humidity level, the ability for the flu virus to spread through the air is lower.
One way to maintain good humidity levels during flu season is to use humidifiers to add moisture to the air and hygrometers to measure the humidity indoors. As good as moisture is in the air, too much can cause mold and other issues.
To learn more about how to tackle the flu season with your heating and air conditioning system, look into discussing the topic with an HVAC professional; our expert team at Wilson Refrigeration and A/C Service is ready to help.