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Using an Air Purifier when a Family or Household Member is Sick

If a family member or roommate in your household is sick with a contagious respiratory illness, a HEPA purifier at home can help prevent transmission of the virus or bacteria to other family or household members.

Since having close contact with a sick person is one of the main routes of disease transmission for contagious respiratory illnesses, place the air purifier unit three feet from the person who is sick. It is advisable to place the air purifier unit on low speed close to the sick person, rather than further away.

Keep the air purifier running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on the highest setting that won’t disturb the sick person’s sleep. It is important to keep the air purifier away from items that can obstruct airflow, such as furniture, or curtains. Keep the door to the sick person's room closed. Used correctly, the air filter machine can intercept floating virus particles before they reach a care giver who enters the room

It is important to take precautions when handling the air purifier and changing the HEPA filter, as particles may remain active on the filter and the machine itself.  Don’t touch the air purifier while it’s in use. Use gloves and a surgical mask when it’s time to change the filter, and take the air purifier outside. Be sure to clean and disinfect the exterior surface of the air filter using a germicidal agent. After that, remove the filter and dispose of it in a sealed bag. If your air purifier has a fabric prefilter, wash it.

In addition to using an air filter, it is important to follow Center for Disease Control recommendations for disease prevention, such as hand washing after touching items in the sick person's room.