Posts tagged with "Air circulation"

CDC: People who test positive for COVID-19 are twice as likely to have dined out recently

September 14, 2020

study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that people who test positive for COVID-19 are twice as likely to have dined out in the 14 days before their diagnosis than those who test negative, Business Insider reports.

The study comes as most states allow people to dine indoors again. New York City recently announced plans to resume indoor dining on September 30.

The researchers collected data July 1-29 across 10 states from 314 adults with coronavirus symptoms. About half of them (154) tested positive for the virus.

Participants were asked about possible community exposure in the two weeks leading up to their test and how well they followed social-distancing measures.

The study did not, however, ask whether participants dined indoors or outdoors, and researchers said more studies were needed to establish whether the findings would be similar in a larger sample of people.

Respondents also were asked if they had worked at an office, gone shopping, gone to the gym, attended a church gathering, or used public transportation frequently in the two weeks before the diagnosis. Meanwhile, going to the beach or doing outdoor activities has been deemed low-risk by experts.

Specifically, the researchers determined:

  • 42% of those who tested positive said they had close contact with at least one person with COVID-19, most of whom (51%) were family members, two weeks before their test.
  • A lower proportion—14%—of the participants who tested negative reported having close contact with a person with known COVID-19 during the same time frame.
  • 71% of the people who tested positive, and 74% of those who tested negative, said they always wore a face covering while in public during the two weeks before their test. (The study did not ask participants what type of covering they wore, however.)

According to the Business Insider report, the CDC guidelines currently say that takeout, drive-thrus, or delivery services pose the lowest risk of contracting the coronavirus from a restaurant; while the highest risk would be offering indoor and outdoor dining where tables are neither reduced nor spaced at least six feet apart.

Experts have previously warned that air circulation in indoor spaces and gatherings—such as restaurants—could affect virus transmission.

As of Friday morning, September 11, the United States remains the worst-hit country in the pandemic. The country has reported more than 6.3 million coronavirus cases and nearly 200,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University’s tracker.

Research contact: @businessinsider

Open and shut casements: Is it healthier to sleep with the window cracked?

November 28, 2018

Do you crack the window at night, believing that a little fresh air will promote a good night’s sleep? You could be right.

One recent study—conducted jointly by the Eindhoven University of Technology and Utretch University of Applied Sciences, both in the Netherlands— tested 17 patients across five nights and found those who slept with the window open experienced a better rest. The reason? A lower level of carbon dioxide in the room.

But do the breezes and ambient sounds coming from the outside create ideal conditions for restorative rest? Douglas Kirsch, president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and the medical director of Sleep Medicine at Atrium Health, recently told The Wall Street Journal, ““If you think about sleep evolutionarily, it makes sense that humans would prefer a physical environment that is cool and dark, like a cave.”

Kirsch generally recommends that people sleep in a room that is 65 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit and very dark. “We wake up frequently for brief periods in the night, and if there is light, we are more likely to stay up, than [to] roll over and go back to sleep,” he says.

When it comes to fresh air in the bedroom, Dr. Kirsch says that there is limited science to suggest that it improves sleep, but its impact likely depends, in part, on the external environment. A 2016 study, conducted by the Technical University of Denmark, tested how the air quality in dorm rooms impacted sleep and next-day performance. The students said that their performance was much better when the carbon dioxide was lower, thanks to an open window or the use of a fan. However, Kirsch told the journal that only the participants’ movements and their self-reported, perceived sleep quality and mental state were measured. A larger study with sensitive technical equipment would have given more quantitative results.

Indeed, Kirsch believes, if the weather is right and a bedroom window is available to open, that can be great for circulation of air, pleasant sounds of nature stirring in the morning and sunlight at dawn to align with one’s circadian rhythms.

However, in the dead of winter, in the height of summer, or in an urban setting, he says, “The draft is just not comfortable: The outdoor air will change your body temperature too much or the loud noises may disrupt sleep. Those with allergies may also be better off leaving the windows closed when the pollen count is high, especially in spring.”

He believes an alternative way to achieve a cozy sleep setting year-round is to allow for some air circulation through an open door or a fan. “There is zero scientific data that I know of, but the reason people may like fans or windows open could be the pleasant feeling of the movement of air, the cooling effect or the white noise,” Kirsch told the business news outlet.

This may explain why in certain cultures, people sleep with the bedroom window open no matter the season. “At some basic level, there is a sense of peacefulness that comes from feeling integrated with nature, which can benefit sleep,” he says. “Unless, of course, it’s freezing or there are mosquitoes or ambulance sirens to disturb you.” The comforting thought of being near nature may also explain why popular white-noise machines include settings with the sounds of birds chirping, waterfalls, and rain.

Research contact: mkasik@lcwa.com