We’ve all been waiting for our summer “break.”
And it’s not just kids seeking some relief from schoolwork. It’s a pause from the COVID-19 infection, too.
Experts have predicted the hot summer weather could give us much-needed relief from the coronavirus. And sure enough, cases and deaths have both dropped as the temperatures jumped.
As a result, many states are starting to ease their coronavirus restrictions. And that means stores and restaurants are beginning to open up again with limited shoppers or seating.
But there’s also a downside to this summertime shift. In many parts of the country, it’s not just warm. It’s HOT.
That means a lot of folks are switching on the air conditioning for a bit of much-needed heat relief. But many experts are worried that the A/C could actually spread the virus around the room, causing MORE infections.
That’s the bad news. Now for the good news.
There is a way to beat the heat and the coronavirus at the same time. And you may not have to give up the comfort of your air conditioning to get it.
CONFIRMED: Air conditioning could spread coronavirus
If you’re at home and healthy… and you and your household members avoid going out and “social distance” when you do… there’s no need to fear air conditioning at home. If it’s a hot day, go ahead and crank it up.
But just one sick person in a room can change everything. That includes an ill person who isn’t showing symptoms yet but could be shedding the virus through talking, laughing, singing, shouting, and even breathing.
Typically, the droplets containing the coronavirus will travel a short distance. That’s usually estimated to be less than six feet. They then settle to the ground where they won’t be inhaled unless you’re sniffing the floor.
But not when the A/C is on.
Air conditioners suck in air and push it back out into circulation. Droplets from a cough or sneeze no longer settle, but instead, travel along the room’s A/C-created currents.
That means an air conditioning system in an office, store, restaurant, bus, library, “cooling center,” or basically any indoor space, could pose a serious risk.
One study in China showed how a single person in a restaurant spread the infection to NINE other diners, including FIVE, at different tables.
The person who spread the coronavirus was sitting right in front of the A/C. And researchers believe the air currents from the unit spread the bugs to those at the other tables.
How to keep cool without getting sick
But let’s face it…
With or without air conditioning, the odds of getting infected indoors are astronomically higher than they are when you’re outside. One study out of Japan found the risk inside is almost 19 TIMES higher than it is outside.
So here’s the deal…
If it’s a hot day and you need some relief, use your A/C at home or open your windows and turn on the fans. And keep your blinds closed, which can lower the temps inside up to 20 degrees.
Cold drinks and snacks are an old fashioned and effective way to stay cool and hydrated. Besides water, I recommend some unsweetened herbal iced tea or, my favorite, iced coffee. And frozen berries are a great alternative to sugar-filled frozen treats.
If it’s dangerously hot, and you don’t have a cool option at home, don’t head to your usual escape options. The air conditioning in those places could place you at a higher risk. Instead, contact local public health officials and see what they have available or recommend. Many communities will be setting some things up to help keep people cool while also stopping the spread of the coronavirus.