Ventilation – Fourth Component of ‘Hands, Space, Face’  

Fresh air, also described as “forgotten weapon” by the Science editor of BBC news David Shukman, can help reduce coronavirus risk spreading in stuffy rooms. Many leading engineers and medical experts are now worried that the government’s new slogan “hand, space, face” should also emphasise the importance of fresh air. Surgeon and ‘Doctor Fresh Air’ Eilir Hugues for his campaign, adds the fourth word in the government slogan “hands, face, space, replace”, believes that replacing the uncirculated air by fresh air can tremendously help reduce the risk of getting infected. In Wales, a council has already started to display Dr Hugues’s four-word slogan to spread awareness across the UK. 

Understanding the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, we now know that larger particles called “droplets” are spread by larger particles, the lighter particles called “aerosol” and by touching contaminated surfaces. Hence, the UK government and the World Health Organisation implied handwashing, social distancing, and mask-wearing protocols. However, many new studies have found that there is no guarantee of defence. With lighter particles lingering in the air, it is necessary to ventilate rooms, building and homes to avoid transmission. In a guide by many and Professor Shaun Fitzgerald, a University of Cambridge scientist at the Chartered Institution of Building Service Engineers describes the importance of opening windows. According to Dr Fitzgerald, the research shows the risk of virus can be reduced by 70-80% by bringing and maintaining a good or enough fresh air supply. Furthermore, he also tends to believe and add in the fourth component in the government slogan, “hands, space, face, fresh air”. Since this research, many news distributors such as the BBC UK, Telegraph UK and The Times UK have supported and raised awareness about the fourth component in the government slogan. 

VentilationTo increase ventilation at home, you can; 

  • Open windows throughout the day for the fresh air to replace stale air. If possible open windows around the house to increase ventilation.
  • Use the cross-ventilation method for more efficient and further ventilation. This can be done by placing a fan near open windows to push the stale inside air out and fresh air in.
  • Use bathroom fans at home continuously or when in use.
  • When using transportation such as taxies, make sure the windows are down to push the fresh air in – but still wear a mask!

Understanding and taking action to improve air circulation where possible can help save lives! If you feel like you’re in a position either in a restaurant or a place where the rooms are stuffy, chances are it’s not ventilated enough, in that case, it is advisable to leave. Furthermore, keep yourself and others safe by; washing your hands, keeping strict social distance and wearing a mask when in public.