Ozone as a Disinfectant – Fighting the Coronavirus
The world is going through some uncertain, trying times; most of us have access to the internet and the news that keeps popping up every day. We’re clearly talking about the current coronavirus pandemic, also known as COVID19, which is currently affecting the entire world. Spain is currently set as one of the worst cases, alongside China and Italy. During these past few weeks, many hospitals in various countries have begun to take action and certain measures towards disinfecting waiting rooms and patient rooms, using ozone as a disinfectant which has turned out to be incredibly effective.
What is Coronavirus?
Technically, coronavirus is a term used to cover a wide range of illnesses, from the common cold to the SARS virus (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). This particular coronavirus has been officially named COVID-19 by the WHO, and it’s a new coronavirus that had never been found in human beings before.
We already know that many types of coronavirus are easy to treat, however during the last 20 years we have seen two other outbreaks of coronavirus; SARS-CoV in 2002 found in China, and MERS in 2012, first discovered in Saudi Arabia. Both of these instances showed a much lesser contagion rate than COVID19.
The most frequent coronavirus symptoms are a dry cough, feeling tired and a fever, although other symptoms include a runny nose, a sore throat and diarrhea. These symptoms can be incredibly mild, and some people may become infected without even presenting symptoms.
COVID19 is transmitted via micro-drops that are expelled from the body when coughing or sneezing, and these drops can stay active on surfaces for an undetermined amount of time. It has a lower mortality rate than the previous outbreaks of coronavirus, although there are various at-risk cases that must be taken into account:
- Older people over the age of 65
- People that suffer from lung-related illnesses and asthma.
- Immunocompromised people, as well as those undergoing treatment for cancer.
- Severely obese people or people with certain underlying medical conditions such as diabetes or renal issues.
- People that are pregnant are also considered at-risk due to the increased chances of viral disease, however there has been no evidence in increased infections among pregnant individuals to date.
Coronavirus in Spain
At the date of publication, Spain is currently in an official state of alarm in order to fight back against the spread of COVID19, being one of the most affected countries alongside China and Italy. This state of alarm implies various measures that must be taken, which can be found on the Spanish governments’ official online journal.
We’re working hard to stop the infection curve; if this situation isn’t controlled, the health system will easily crumble under the weight of all of the infected, and many health workers have already been infected. One of the measures being taken by many people in order to disinfect various establishments, including hospitals, is ozone disinfection.
Ozone as a Disinfectant | Fighting COVID19
It has been known for a very long time that ozone (O3) is capable if disinfecting large rooms; the WHO themselves have confirmed that ozone is one of the most efficient disinfectants for any type of microorganism; ozone works by essentially destroying the molecules that it comes into contact with, including virus and bacteria molecules which can linger on surfaces.
Ozone as a disinfectant has been used for years in various different sectors such as the food industry; it’s used to disinfect water and red meats, as well as food processing equipment and entire storage units. This is thanks to the fact that this natural gas is capable of oxidizing and destroying bacteria and virus of all kinds in a matter of minutes, making it incredibly efficient.
Right now the demand for ozone generators has shot up, with fire fighters and police units scrambling to disinfect their cars, as well as taxi drivers after transporting health workers or at-risk individuals. Ozone generators are also being used in Italy to disinfect waiting rooms in hospitals as well as patients’ rooms ever since the virus began to spread majorly and the country went into lock-down.
Ozone as a Disinfectant | How Does an Ozone Generator Work?
O3 (ozone) is a natural gas that contains three oxygen atoms (O3); ozone generators work by passing oxygen from the air through two electrodes. This delivers an electric shock to the air sort of light a lightning storm, breaking the link between the two oxygen atoms. This causes them to create a third atom, thus creating ozone gas.
Ozone molecules are incredibly unstable, so they tend to try and attach on to other molecules, attempting to take their electrodes in order to become stable again. This essentially destroys the molecules that they attach to, slowly oxidizing their electrodes until they are too unstable to stay together, destroying them in the process. With a high enough concentration of ozone for log enough periods of time, you can disinfect any closed space.
This process destroys any microorganism that it comes into contact with, although it’s not toxic for human beings in low quantities – when directly breathed in, it can cause an itchy throat and eyes, although this passes after breathing fresh air for a few minutes. Keeping this in mind, it’s important to keep in mind that this product is damaging and destroys molecules, therefore it must be used in a controlled manner, with the correct precautions in place.
How to Use Ozone Generators to Disinfect Homes and Vehicles
In order for ozone gas to be effective in any area, it must be used in a totally enclosed area without any people inside; you’ll have to funnel the ozone into the room through a sealed inlet or by using a generator in the room itself.
You’ll need to calculate the exact amount of ozone that you need for your room and for how long you’ll need to use it. Various institutions have different recommendations on how much to use. The WHO states that it should be at a rate of 120µg/m3 or 0.6ppm over a period of 8 hours; make sure that the room or vehicle is closed and there is nobody inside. Ozone can linger for 20-60 minutes, depending on the concentration and environmental conditions. Afterwards, it simply reverts back to normal oxygen.
As we said previously, ozone can be used to disinfect and destroy virus and bacteria molecules. It’s also used to get rid of all types of odors by oxidizing their molecules. Ozone generators have been used for years; now they seem to play a fundamental part in our on-going battle with COVID19 in many establishments and lines of work.