Over the summer we published this blog post discussing existing research on heat and humidity in relation to COVID-19. (Hint: it was good news for Bikram Yogis!)
A new study came out this month which has even more to say on the subject. Where back in May, scientists observed that areas with higher temps and humidity experienced less spread of COVID, the recent findings suggest it's not quite that simple.
Wait... can we still do Bikram Yoga??
Before I dive in any deeper, I'd like to point out that in no way am I claiming that being in our yoga room will guarantee that you do not catch the novel coronavirus. The truth is that any time you leave your home or are around other people, you are at some risk of catching COVID. This post is addressing the scientific findings that some environments pose more risk than others.
Here is what the science says:
"Our research shows that the viability of coronavirus is higher at low air temperature values below or equal to 75 F (25°C) and at high relative humidity values greater than or equal to 65%," says Prof. Dimitris Drikakis, one of the new study's authors.
"Therefore, countries with the above weather conditions or indoor places with the above environmental conditions (at those conditions) are more at risk."
Check out this chart (circle added for reference) from the study showing the concentration of airborne contaminated droplets:
The study found there was less risk of catching COVID at temperatures above 75 and humidity below 65%.
Hooray: that's US! (See the red circle on the image above.)
We keep our hot room at a perfectly sweet spot for sweating: 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40 Celsius) with 40-60% humidity (In most classes, especially now with our limited capacity, humidity actually remains between 40-50%.)
Scientists now understand that how well COVID spreads in the air is due to a combination of factors which include not only heat and humidity but also (when outdoors) wind and (when indoors) ventilation.
For indoor spaces, proper ventilation is advised, as well as the use of air purification systems to help reduce concentration levels of any contagions in the air.
Here at Home we've always been fans of good air quality.
Yogis who've practiced in stuffier hot studios often remark at how much better they breathe in our room! That's in part because of our Demand Control Ventilation system.
The DCV maintains indoor air quality by automatically adjusting the amount of outside air coming into the hot room when the CO2 reaches a specific level.
In order to further increase the flow of outside air in keeping with current recommendations, this setting is currently at “0” which means we are bringing in the maximum amount of outside air (around 50%) during class. The air which is recycled is constantly cleaned by the iWave air purification system.
"We should also avoid places of low temperature," says Drikakis.
We've been saying that for years! ;)
Check out this post for a rundown of the many benefits of heat for all kinds of reasons. And read this if you have any concerns about "handling" the heat. Most importantly, join us in Home's hot room: we're here 7 days a week.
Click here to book your class!
I feel pretty confident about spending 90 minutes in a hot room breathing with you during a global pandemic. There are a few reasons for that:
Ok... but what's an iWave?
The iWave is the air purification system we've installed in the hot room's duct system! When air passes over the iWave, ions produced by the device reduce pathogens, allergens, particles, smoke and odors in the air, without producing harmful byproducts.
How does it work?
iWave uses a fancypants technology called "needle-point bi-polar ionization" to create equal amounts of positive and negative ions. When the ions are released into the air, they break down passing pollutants and gases into harmless stuff like oxygen, carbon dioxide, nitrogen and water vapor.
When the ions run into pathogens like viruses, bacteria or mold, the ions remove their hydrogen molecules. Without these molecules, the pathogens have no source of energy- so they die.
The ions also attach to tiny allergens like pollen, causing them to stick together until they are large enough to be caught by our ventilation system’s hospital-grade MERV-13 air filters.
Is it safe?
Nature generates the same ions that the iWave’s technology does- with lightning, waterfalls and ocean waves. These natural processes break apart molecules, naturally cleaning the air. The difference between the iWave’s technology and what nature does is that the iWave does it without producing ozone!
Does it work on Coronavirus?
Yep! This system has actually undergone independent lab testing on COVID-19 and shown to deactivate 99.4% of the virus in just 30 minutes, in addition to significantly reducing a wide variety of other pathogens in the air and on hard non-porous surfaces.
Tools for you
Short answer: constantly!
We want Home to feel like... home! That means it's got to be super clean and super safe, so you can focus on your yoga practice and connecting with your community. We've always cleaned a LOT, and you can expect us to keep doing that.
Our Home team does routine cleaning at the start, middle and end of every shift-- plus, we're now bringing in the pros for regular deep-cleans. Following weeks of tireless research into the best practices supported by science, we've up-leveled how we clean and the products we use! Our standards for choosing products or processes are:
Below are a few of the main tools we're using to keep our safety levels top-notch.
Force of Nature
Force of Nature is the multi-purpose cleaning product on EPA’s List of Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19. It's totally natural and super cool if you're into science!
This product uses electricity to change the chemical composition of salt, water and vinegar into a powerful cleaner & disinfectant. There are no harmful ingredients, residues or fumes. We love that.
At Home, we spray Force of Nature multiple times a day on all high-touch surfaces (including hard floors) until wet, let sit for 10 minutes, then let it air dry or wipe it with a clean cloth.
Flotex flooring is an antimicrobial, non-porous waterproof specialized flooring. Unlike carpet, the fibers are plastic fibers which stick straight up rather than loop. This means there is nowhere for germs or viruses to hide, and nothing soaks in! Everything sits on the fibers where it either evaporates, dies in the heat, gets sucked up by our vacuum, washed out by our water extraction cleaner-- or destroyed by our new hydroxyl generator.
Newaire Hydroxyl Generator
Hydroxyls (HO•) are molecules created naturally outdoors when the UV rays of the sun react with oxygen and water vapor. It's a natural process that constantly occurs in our atmosphere, cleansing the air.
Hydroxyls don't appear naturally indoors, so the Newaire machine mimics nature by safely generating hydroxyls, which find and kill a wide range of bacteria, mold and viruses both on surfaces and in the air. Hydroxyl generators are safe to use in occupied areas, while still being effective against a wide range of bacteria and viruses.
Studio leader, yoga-doer and life-lover, Kay D.