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The Importance of a CO2 Meter for the Prevention of Coronavirus Infection

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Un CO2 meter It will become your main ally to avoid coronavirus infections in the work environment. It can help you establish the concentration of CO2 in the air as a result of people breathing.

Since in exhalation, in addition to CO2, particles carrying the virus are produced, with these meters you can prevent it. Find out how they are used and how they will help you below.

What is a CO2 meter?

A CO2 meter is an instrument that measures the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) where it is located. It records in ppm (parts per million), that is, the parts of CO2 existing per million units of air.

Usually this measurement It is necessary in closed and poorly ventilated spaces, because they can concentrate a greater amount of this gas. Although CO2 is not toxic, in high concentrations it displaces oxygen and makes breathing difficult. 

Depending on its concentration, it can generate different discomforts in the workplace. For example, at concentrations of 30.000 ppm it causes: headaches, lack of concentration, drowsiness, dizziness and respiratory problems. 

In addition to the above, currently the use of a CO2 meter is recommended for the prevention of COVID-19. This is because the CO2 concentration is an indicator of poor ventilation in closed spaces where there are crowds of people.

Measuring carbon dioxide in closed places for the prevention of coronavirus
Different investigations carried out during the last year have shown that the main route of contagion of the coronavirus is airborne. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), it is spread by microparticles, small respiratory droplets, called aerosols.

Although it is also transmitted by large droplets, when talking, shouting, coughing, etc. These fall at a distance of less than 2 meters. If you respect the distance measures between people, the probability of contagion due to this cause is lower.

The main problem is aerosols. They also originate when talking, coughing, sneezing, etc. but they are smaller and remain suspended in the air for hours. If you are healthy and inhale air with these micro particles, you are at greater risk of contagion.

How can a CO2 meter help you prevent the spread of coronavirus due to microparticles?
A CO2 meter records the concentration of carbon dioxide produced by the exaltation that also contains aerosols with COVID.

As you know, the breathing process that humans carry out, specifically exhalation, generates carbon dioxide. It happens that during this exhalation droplets of saliva are also expelled in which COVID-19 can travel.

As with exhaled CO2, in closed places, these aerosols remain suspended, concentrating and accumulating. For this reason, it must be ventilated to reduce its quantity and prevent its circulation in the room.

If a person with the virus is or has been in a closed space, introducing outside air reduces CO2 and clears aerosols.

So, given the lack of specific technologies to detect the coronavirus in the air, a CO2 meter is ideal. As the gas concentration increases with constant breathing, when a certain value is reached the sensor issues an alarm.

This is how a CO2 meter will help you reduce the probability of infection in the work environment. Using the gas concentration in the space as an indicator of ventilation performance.

How does a CO2 meter work?
A CO2 meter can be of different types but the most common and recommended are non-dispersive infrared. Unlike chemicals, infrared is more stable and its life cycle and resistance are greater.

This technology works with infrared light emitters and receivers. As gases absorb energy at a certain wavelength, when passing between the emitter and receiver, they absorb part of that infrared radiation.

This variation in intensity in the emission is detected by the receiver. Thus the concentration will be inversely proportional to the intensity detected or directly proportional to the amount of energy absorbed.

When you turn on the CO2 meter, it automatically shows the concentration of CO2 or other gases that the equipment can measure. As indicated, it is usual for these readings to be reflected in ppm.

An infrared CO2 meter is the most recommended for use in the prevention of coronavirus.

These devices can be configured to an alarm value. That is, when the CO2 concentration reaches a certain range the equipment sends an alert.

These ranges are established based on where the meter is located. For example, for coronavirus prevention it can be adjusted for the following values:

For outdoors, 420-450 ppm is recommended. If air pollution at the site is very high, this range may vary.
In closed places an acceptable value is between 600 and 700 ppm. If it exceeds 800, it is necessary to ventilate.
Something important to avoid reading errors is not to talk and keep people away from the equipment. This will avoid readings altered by the CO2 exhaled when speaking or breathing.

Other important features of the operation of a CO2 meter is that they can evaluate other air quality parameters. Being very useful to also detect possible gas leaks. Likewise, depending on the model, some record other variables such as relative humidity and temperature.

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Jorge Camargo
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