Hospitals and medical facilities are one of the few institutions where hygiene and cleanliness are of utmost importance and cannot be neglected or else that can put both the staff and the patients in danger of diseases, infections, and more.
While it’s pretty common sense for hospitals to clean their facilities and equipment, many people wonder if anything is done about the air in the hospital.
At the end of the day, polluted air full of dust, fur, mites, and other solid particles that can lead to complications with a patient’s health must be eliminated at all costs.
And most modern hospitals are actively doing something about it by using air purifiers.
For example, I visited the hospital to see a friend not so long ago and noticed an air purifier in his room.
And since I have an air purifier in my room, too, it got me thinking, what types of air purifiers do hospitals use?
Could they be different from those that regular people use?
To find the answer to this question, I went out and did quite an extensive amount of research.
And in this article, I want to share all of my findings with you.
Types of Air Purification Machines Used in Hospitals
My research led me to believe that hospitals don’t use one standard air purifier to clean the air.
Each hospital may use a different brand or model of air purifier, depending on their needs.
Different areas of the hospital may also require different air purifiers.
With that said, most hospitals use one of two types of air purifiers, which I’ll go into a bit more detail about below.
HEPA Filter Air Purifiers
This is arguably the most recognizable type of air purifier you might find in a hospital.
This is because air purifiers with HEPA filters are considered the industry standard, and there’s a high chance that the air purifier you have at home has the same type of filter.
For example, my air purifier at home has a true HEPA filter.
So, why do hospitals use HEPA filters?
Well, these filters are largely considered your best option when trying to find an air filter that can capture and trap dust, fur, and other solid particles that can easily end up and irritate your respiratory system.
HEPA or high-efficiency particulate air filters are mechanical filters made of fiberglass threads.
These are weaved together to create a complex web that can capture particles between 0.1-3.0 microns in thickness, depending on the grade of the HEPA filter.
With that said, hospitals don’t need just any HEPA filter.
Remember, HEPA filters are graded and the higher the grade, the better they are at catching small particles.
Generally, hospitals may use HEPA filters with an H12 grade or higher to capture any harmful airborne particles that could put the staff and patients in danger.
Additionally, most hospitals do everything they can to ensure that they are using true HEPA filters and not replicas that don’t meet the standards of a true HEPA filter.
This is to ensure that there aren’t any particles that go through the filter that could cause harm to anyone at the facility.
Far-UVC Air Purifiers
Regular HEPA filter air purifiers only capture air that travels through the filter.
However, some hospital areas require even more than that, which is why it isn’t uncommon to find Far-UVC air purifiers in medical facilities.
While HEPA filtration is enough for most homes and offices, hospitals require far more.
With a far-UVC device, hospitals will be able to eliminate some harmful pathogens and particles floating in the air that the typical HEPA filtration system might completely miss out on.
This is a new type of UV light that is good at safely eliminating harmful pathogens and is usually used in conjunction with a HEPA filter.
The far-UVC light is completely harmless to humans unlike other forms of UV light.
However, these lightwaves can still destroy pathogens before they can even get captured by the filter, which adds a whole new layer of protection for the staff and the patients at the hospital.
One of the advantages of using far-UVC technology is that it can target coronaviruses which are highly transmissible and dangerous once a human being inhales them.
Research shows that far-UVC air purifiers are effective at slowing down or even stopping the transmission of COVID-19 in specific spaces within a hospital facility.
Where Do Hospitals Use HEPA Filters?
Sanitation is crucial in hospitals. With many sick and high-risk individuals in the facility, the staff needs to do everything in their power to mitigate the risk of working in a hospital amongst those who are unwell.
This is why hospitals tend to use HEPA filter air purifiers in many different wings and wards, especially areas that require the most protection.
Some of the areas where you may find HEPA filter air purifiers in the hospital include:
Newborns are at a very high risk of catching diseases right after birth. This is because their immune system hasn’t had enough time to develop just yet, which is why they need that extra layer of protection.
Whenever the hospital staff places a newborn in the incubator, there’s a high chance that the child is breathing in filtered and purified air, thanks to the air purifier present as part of the incubator.
When adults and older kids inhale pathogens and viruses, their body’s immune system may be able to fight them off and prevent them from getting sick.
Or, the body could catch the sickness but be able to fight off the infection easily. However, newborn babies don’t have the same defense mechanisms.
This is why the staff ensures the newborns are safe from any particles that can put their well-being in danger, especially in the first few hours after birth.
This is especially important in the Neonatal Intensive Care Units, where the staff has to ensure that the air is always free from microbes and harmful particles.
There may be times that hospitals need to put patients in warming beds to keep them in better condition. But the thing is, there are contaminants in these warming beds that are required to heat it up. And if the contaminants get into the patient’s system, that alone can result in very unfortunate consequences.
This is why there are many hospital warming beds with a HEPA filtration system between the warming system and the bed. This is to ensure that none of the contaminants can escape the warming system and the patient is as safe as possible.
The hospital’s surgical suite is arguably one of the most critical and sensitive areas that must remain free from solid particles, pathogens, and other elements, which can lead to complications for the patient being treated.
A lot of the time, this area requires the most cleaning and sanitation to prevent contamination or protect anyone who enters the suite from developing sickness and infection.
This is why you’re almost sure to find HEPA filter air purifiers in modern hospital surgical suites.
All operating rooms have filtered air that usually goes through a high-grade HEPA filter.
This removes any pathogens, microbes, and contaminants that could infect the patients and the hospital staff. And considering that there are many intricate processes that the staff performs in the surgical suites, patients and staff mustn’t be exposed to any harmful particles in the air.
It won’t be uncommon for a surgical suite to have multiple or one large air purifier to clean the air. In some cases, you’ll even find far-UVC devices that operate hand-in-hand with the HEPA air purifier to keep everyone safe.
Medical labs play a crucial role in keeping humans all over the world safe.
Scientists and medical professionals regularly test and conduct experiments with pathogens and infectious viruses in this lab. So, it should come as no surprise that preventing contamination is a top priority for many medical laboratories.
A leak in the lab or contamination may lead to individuals getting sick or even causing a local outbreak.
This is why it isn’t uncommon for medical labs to have a complex air purification system that fully utilizes the potential of HEPA filters and the most advanced purification technologies to keep everyone as safe as possible.
On top of that, many medical labs are required by law to use HEPA filters to purify the air. This is to ensure that all medical laboratories are functioning and following the highest safety standards as the slightest mistake or slip-up can have severe consequences.
The type of filtration or purification required in these labs varies depending on where the medical lab is.
However, most labs definitely use HEPA filters as they are considered the most effective option if you want to catch potentially harmful solid particles.
Why Do Hospitals Also Use UV Lights?
The thing about air purification is that it isn’t a simple task, especially in a hospital setting.
For most homes, having a simple HEPA filter is more than enough to keep the air as safe and clean as possible.
With that said, keep in mind that hospitals follow completely different standards.
This is because redundancy means safety in this field, so while it might take a lot of time and effort to follow these safety standards, it will all be worth it to ensure that everyone is protected inside the facility.
And one of the ways hospitals do this is by using UV lights to disinfect certain areas.
This isn’t done in all hospitals or areas, but it’s a common practice in the medical field to sanitize a space.
The reason for this is that simply filtering out the particles from the air will not be enough to provide the patients and staff with adequate protection, which is why many hospitals also use UV lights.
With UV lights, not only do you filter out particles, but you eliminate them before they even reach the air purifier.
This ensures that all harmful particles and pathogens floating around are eliminated, and the staff and patients don’t have to worry about potential infections or contamination.
How Do Hospitals Decide What Type of Air Purifier They Need?
When determining what kind of air purifier you need for a hospital, you need to think heavy-duty.
The typical home air purifiers you find on the market simply won’t be strong enough to do the job.
And in many cases, getting these air purifiers means you remain non-compliant with specific laws and regulations.
The first thing hospitals need to look for is a high-grade HEPA filter.
It’s important to research the local guidelines to determine if a HEPA filter is required by law.
But even if there are no requirements, I recommend getting an H12 HEPA filter or greater for hospitals.
On top of that, you may also need an air purifier with a far-UVC system.
This is to make sure that you cover all bases and eliminate pathogens from multiple angles. That way, the risk of cross-contamination is significantly reduced.
Generally, hospital air purifiers are much bigger than the ones you might find at home.
This is because they need to deliver a higher ACH and CADR to make sure that the air is clean at all times.
Most modern hospitals use multiple air purifying systems to ensure the safety of everyone in the facility.
At the very least, the air purifiers need to use high-quality HEPA filters to capture as many solid particles as possible.
From there, hospitals may also have to use far-UVC air purification to make sure that no one in the facility inhales harmful pathogens and that the risk of contamination is reduced to a minimum.