A recent report found that over 2,000 UK health centres are located in areas with dangerously high levels of air pollution.
Air pollution can have a severe effect on hospital staff and patients. The risks are particularly high for patients from vulnerable groups, such as children and elderly people, and for patients suffering with respiratory and cardiovascular conditions.
But are these risks any higher in the colder months of the year? Is air pollution worse in winter?
Is Pollution Worse in Winter?
Air pollution levels can change on a daily and regional basis based on a number of factors. Temperature can make a difference to air pollution. Hot air rises but cold air sinks, because it’s denser. And because it’s denser, any gases or particles in the air won’t travel very far. So in the winter, any hazardous air pollutants in the atmosphere can get trapped in the slow moving blanket of cold, dry air at ground level.
Because of the effect of low temperatures, even if pollution levels are lower in the winter than they are in the summer, any pollution will stay in the air for much longer. So even if pollution isn’t necessarily worse in winter, the exposure risks can be much greater.
For a brief introduction to the factors that can affect pollution levels, take a look at our guide to the best and worst areas in the UK for air pollution.
Air Pollution Risks for Hospitals
Every winter, health trusts across the UK are pushed to breaking point as seasonal colds, flus, and other viruses make the rounds. At the same time, up to 20,200 respiratory and cardiovascular hospital admissions each year can be linked to air pollution.
So UK hospitals struggle with a huge influx of patients every winter. Any measures that could free up staff and hospital capacity can make a huge difference in ensuring that the most critical patients can get the help they need, when they need it.
And when it comes to air pollution, there are many measures that hospitals and other healthcare settings can adopt that will make a noticeable impact in the short-term, and a significant impact in the long-term.
How to Improve Indoor Air Quality in Hospitals this Winter
However, if your hospital’s situated near a major road, or near any construction, industrial, manufacturing or agricultural centres, then onsite air pollution will remain a problem.
So you should instead focus on improving the indoor air quality in your healthcare setting:
- Start an air quality monitoring scheme to measure pollution levels across your hospital, so you know which areas to prioritise.
- Invest in a high quality air filtration system to help you significantly improve the air quality in your hospital, and fast.
Our Blueair HealthProtect™ air purifiers are fitted with advanced HEPASilent technology. They can catch 99.97% of particles down to 0.1 microns, including all hazardous and toxic air pollutants that can cause such a health risk for staff and patients. And crucially for a hospital, they can also capture and kill 99% of viruses and bacteria.
Get Expert Advice
Get in touch with the team at Cairn Technology, who have been developing cutting-edge products and services for hospitals for over 20 years.