Standard heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in healthcare facilities are designed to maintain air temperature and humidity at comfortable levels for HCP and patients; to control odors; to remove contaminated air; to facilitate air-handling requirements to protect susceptible HCP and patients from airborne pathogens and allergens; and to minimize the risk of healthcare-related reactions to aerosolized allergens.1
Malfunction of any component of the HVAC systems (e.g., outside air intake; filters; dehumidifiers; heating and cooling equipment; fans; ductwork; air exhaust or out-takes; registers; and diffusers or grilles) can contribute to unacceptable indoor air quality and the spread of healthcare-associated airborne pathogens and aerosolized allergens. Recommendations to maintain acceptable indoor air quality in healthcare settings are summarized in Table 1.1,2
Table 1. Recommendations to Maintain Acceptable Indoor Air Quality in Healthcare Settings.
Areas in healthcare settings that require special ventilation include: (1) operating rooms (ORs), (2) protective environment (PE) rooms, and (3) airborne infection isolation rooms (AIIRs).1 However, community-based oral healthcare facilities are not expected to maintain areas that require special ventilation (e.g., ORs, PE rooms, and AIIRs).2
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