Best Way To Reduce Infection Risk In Hospitals? Open The Windows!

University College Hospital, 235 Euston Road, NW1 - - 671049How often do you see open windows in hospitals? Hardly ever, right? As reported by BBC News, opening those grimy windows could decrease risk of infection fourfold:

Keeping the windows open on traditional NHS wards can dramatically reduce the risk of infection, say researchers.

The University of Leeds study suggests closing windows, for example to cut heating bills, increases the risk of infection fourfold.

The researchers used experiments and computer modelling to map the passage of air and germs through wards.

They say fitting household extractor fans to windows could maintain sufficient air flow in winter.

The study looked at air flow in traditional “Nightingale wards”, built as open wards of around 30 beds with opening windows and named after Florence Nightingale, who set out the principles of ward design in the 19th Century.

Balloons filled with carbon dioxide – to represent an airborne pathogen – were popped and the gas followed throughout the ward using tracer devices.

Smoke sticks were also used to visually track the passage of air and wind streams.

The results showed that while the modern trend to partition wards to increase patient privacy changed the air-flow dynamics within a ward, good ventilation could be maintained if windows remained open…

[continues at BBC News]


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3 Comments on "Best Way To Reduce Infection Risk In Hospitals? Open The Windows!"

  1. emperorreagan | Apr 26, 2013 at 11:38 am |

    I used to suggest opening the windows instead of mechanical cooling on every single job I worked on when I worked at an architectural engineering firm. Especially when they were worried about “green building.”

    How anyone can believe that sealing up your building, delivering a small proportion of outside air, and trying to maintain 68 degrees during the summer is either green or good for you is beyond me.

  2. InfvoCuernos | Apr 26, 2013 at 7:20 pm |

    The easiest way to avoid infection in a hospital? Stay away from hospitals.

  3. Sometimes the simplest solutions elude us.

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