As the rise in Flu, Covid, RSV, and other respiratory viruses hit schools across the country, the CDC (Centre for Control and Prevention) is looking into a worrying rise in invasive Strep A infections that are also taking place.
This article discusses the threat of rising Strep A infections, what that could mean for schools, and how air purification technology can help reduce bacteria and viruses on surfaces and in the air to protect faculty members and students.
Group A streptococcus (GAS) is a common bacterium that can be found in the throat and on the skin and, in most people, won’t cause any symptoms. It can, however, be responsible for various illnesses of the throat, nose, and lungs, like strep throat and scarlet fever.
Mostly, Strep A infections aren’t serious and can be successfully treated with antibiotics. Although rare, the infection can sometimes cause serious illness, resulting in toxic shock syndrome and death. This is called invasive group A strep (iGAS) and is behind the rise of infections in the US and worldwide. In the UK, at least 24 children have died, with some schools being temporarily closed due to major infection outbreaks in staff and children.
Strep A infections occur most commonly in children and can be easily spread. Children who develop strep A infections can also often start out with a viral respiratory infection. Like respiratory viruses, Strep A bacteria can be easily spread by sneezing, coughing, or skin-to-skin contact. Those carrying the bacteria may have no symptoms but are equally as likely to pass on the bacteria as those who are ill. This makes stopping transmission between children extremely difficult.
This news is even more worrying with a reported shortage of antibiotics due to supply chain issues.
As schools reopen from winter break, they’ve already dealt with the effects of the rise of flu, RSV, and respiratory viruses. This has meant higher absenteeism amongst both pupils and staff, meaning in some cases, schools have had to close temporarily.
This is yet another obstacle for schools trying to return to normal after the devastating closures of the pandemic. Adding a rise in Strep A to the mix means schools can’t be on track when it comes to providing as safe an environment as possible for both pupils and faculty members.
In most cases since the pandemic, new and improved safety measures and procedures have been implemented, such as improved cleaning practices and clearer sanitation guidelines for pupils and staff regarding handwashing and staying away from the classroom when sick.
Although these measures have gone some way to helping - as we have seen with the recent rise in Strep A infections - harmful bacteria and viruses can be spread by people who aren’t displaying symptoms. Hand washing is often imperfect, and it’s easy to miss germs when cleaning surfaces.
As well as continuing to implement best practice cleaning processes introduced during the pandemic, one of the most effective things schools can do to help prevent and reduce harmful bacteria is to install safe and effective air filtration systems.
Without clean air for children and faculty to breathe for most of their day, schools can find themselves firefighting waves of infections instead of actively preventing the spread of illness. Achieving good sanitation levels within schools is impossible without good air ventilation and filtration systems.
With the right air purification technology, school administrators can create a healthier classroom environment and help prevent the spread of viruses. For example, ActivePure is an active purifier that uses oxidizing molecules to reduce viruses, bacteria, odors, and VOCs. ActivePure is available in various systems that can be customized and scaled to your building, such as the ActivePure Induct, which can be easily integrated into any existing HVAC ductwork.
Not only will ActivePure help mitigate the risk of COVID-19 and reduce the level of absenteeism in general by reducing the spread of other seasonal coughs, colds, and viruses. ActivePure doesn’t just reduce SARS-CoV-2 (the virus which causes COVID-19) and protects against E.coli, Avian Influenza, Norovirus, Swine Flu, Staph Bacteria, and more.
Schools that have improved air quality have recorded noticeable decreases in absenteeism and positive contributions to the health and safety of staff and pupils.
For unbiased advice and support to find the best air filtration solution for your HVAC system, contact us at Sanalife to help you figure out what your ideal solution looks like for your school or district. We offer the best long-term indoor air quality solutions designed for your specific needs. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you improve the air quality within your educational facility.
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