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Air Purifier

In Elemental. More on Medium.

They can help, but there are some things you need to know

Image: NosUA/Getty Images

Over the summer, the owners of Boedecker Cellars in Oregon could leave their doors open to let fresh air circulate while socially distanced customers enjoyed glasses of the company’s prize pinot noir. But now winter is coming.

How to clear the air in your home to protect against airborne Covid-19 transmission

Illustration of a box fan placed by a door blowing air outdoors.
Illustration of a box fan placed by a door blowing air outdoors.
Illustration: Matija Medved

Efforts to prevent Covid-19 infections have focused largely beyond the home, emphasizing crowded indoor public spaces. But after our son attended an event where he could have been exposed to the coronavirus, and we were told it could take a week to get test results, I began a quest to understand what to do if someone brings the virus home without knowing they are infectious, and how to create a sustainable defense for the “just in case” scenario, amid so many uncertainties.

Illustration: Kieran Blakey

The Nuance

What they can and can’t do, and why some air purifiers may come with risks

During the back half of the 19th century — a time when tuberculosis was widespread in smog-choked cities across the United States and Europe — fresh air was thought to be a potent elixir for diseases of the mind and body. This was the golden age of the spa town, and the unwell flocked to mountain, desert, or seaside resorts — often at the direction of their doctors — in order to recuperate in the clean, salubrious air.

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