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How Hospital Air Filtration Can Combat the Three Causes of Poor Air Quality Inside Hospitals

By November 8, 2016 No Comments
8 minutes to read

Air filtration may hold the key to alleviating the problem of poor air quality in many hospitals

Despite the fact that hospitals are meant to be places of healing and wellness, multiple studies have shown that the air quality inside many healthcare facilities is poor, which may require hospital administrators to implement an air filtration strategy to combat the problem.

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The very purpose of a hospital necessitates that it maintain a high level of cleanliness to promote the healing of patients, especially those in critical care units. But until hospital administrators and hospital staff understand the causes of poor air quality, they will not be able to address this issue and purchase the air filtration system that best matches their needs.

With that in mind, the following three causes have been commonly identified as major contributing factors to poor air quality inside hospitals:


Patients at healthcare facilities are there for a variety of reasons, but they can also be one of the main reasons that the air quality is less than ideal. Sick patients – especially those who have contracted respiratory diseases – are often stricken with coughs, which can contaminate the air and surfaces within a hospital room or lab. This contamination can adversely affect the indoor air quality, but it doesn’t just stop there.

Some patients who have open wounds or infections can transfer viruses and bacteria from their bodies onto surfaces such as bedpans, mugs, plates and silverware. They can also contaminate drapes, curtains, shutters, clothing and bedding, and once these materials are disturbed, those contaminants become airborne.

Hospital Construction

Many public hospitals in large urban areas were constructed in years ago, when the innovations in ducts and vents were not as highly advanced as they have become in modern times. As a result, the air that is drawn into the hospital may not be properly filtered through ductwork that has not been updated in several decades. That means that common pollutants such as dust mites, dirt, pollen and airborne bacteria more readily circulates through the vents in the hospital.

And that’s not even taking into account, ductwork and pipes that may be the source of leaks over a long period of time. Moisture is a particular problem in ductwork, because it often leads to problems such as mold and spores that can grow into a major health issue, beyond just compromised air quality.

External Air Quality

Much of the air that circulates through a hospital is drawn in from the outside. That means that indoor air quality in many health facilities is largely dependent on the quality of the outside air. This was never more evident that in a December 2015 incident at Beijing’s Children’s Hospital, in which the pollution index inside one of the wards climbed to 440, which is 20 times higher than the standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The poor air quality inside the hospital was a direct result of a red-alert air pollution event in which the city was forced to close schools and factories because heavy smog led to an astounding pollution index of 900.

Poor indoor air quality in a hospital that results from adverse conditions outside, can compromise the health of patients who trust that health care facilities are a safe haven from anything that could make their symptoms worse.

The Need for Air Filtration in Hospitals

There’s an unwritten covenant that patients make when they visit a hospital for treatment: “Don’t do anything to make me worse.” And yet, many hospitals throughout the world violate that covenant with air quality that poses a significant threat to the well-being of patients.

Air filtration is not a luxury in these instances, it’s an absolute necessity. Hospitals must be the last bastion of cleanliness and health, a goal that is not achievable without a filtration system that is effective at removing even the smallest pollutants from the air.

Camfil Meets That Need

For more than 50 years, Camfil has been an industry leader in the design and manufacturing of air filtration systems that are innovative, functional and health affirming. Camfil places a high value on the efficiency of its products, and through rigid testing, has developed solutions to the most complex clean-air problems facing the world. But that efficiency has not come at the expense of affordability, which is why no other hospital HVAC air filtration company can match the value that Camfil offers.

Lynne Laake

Camfil USA Air Filters

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