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How UV light can be used to combat Covid-19 in education

Much like almost everyone else this year, the education sector has had to make some serious changes in the last few months to adapt to the ever-present threat of Covid-19. The challenge of making schools safe for staff and students is one that’s been dominating recent headlines, and while social distancing measures can provide some limited reassurance, schools, colleges and universities are understandably on the lookout for measures that can provide more concrete peace of mind.

That’s where we can help here at Askews. With decades of expertise in heating, ventilationair conditioning, and other forms of environment control, we’re now offering a range of UV Air and Surface Sterilisation products capable of fully disinfecting a surface from Covid-19, and rendering it safe to use again. Here’s a quick explainer about what these devices do, and exactly how they work.

How can UV light be used to fight Covid-19

As far as the general public are concerned, UV light might not be amongst the most well-known weapons against the virus right now, but that’s steadily changing. It’s long been a mainstay of hospitals and other controlled environments, and has typically been used to disinfect rooms that have accommodated particularly contagious patients.

Now, it’s worth us noting at this stage that we’re talking specifically about UV-C light. In other words, it’s not the UVA light you’d typically find in tanning beds, or the UVB you’d endure while sitting under direct sunlight. UV-C is even more directly hazardous to human health, specifically to the skin and eyes, but it’s useful at fighting viruses.

So, how exactly does UV-C kill viruses and other microorganisms? Well, to give you the short answer, it basically damages their DNA (or RNA, depending on the type of virus), and breaks them down on a molecular level. You don’t necessarily need a science degree to know that’s a pretty comprehensive way to destroy any kind of organism, and after a long enough period of exposure, survival becomes impossible for the virus.

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Recent studies by several institutions (such as Boston University in the US) have focused on achieving more precise figures for how much time and energy this process requires, which means that modern portable UV-C devices can be even more energy-efficient than they have been in the past.

We can supply several types of these UV-C products here at Askews, including the UV-C Sterilon Flow and the UV-C Sterilon Square. Various schools and educational facilities in the UK are already trialling the best methods of implementing these products in their premises.

Some are choosing to strategically place them at fixed locations within a certain room or corridor, or using them for room-by-room disinfection. Others are looking at positioning them at entrances, exits and bottlenecks, where they can be used to systematically screen bags and possessions for any sign of infection.

A quick introduction to our UV Air and Surface Sterilisation products here at Askews

UV-C Sterilon Flow (72W and 144W)

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The Sterilon Flow is a mobile light source and disinfection device, and serves as a highly effective means of removing viruses, bacteria and fungi. It has two key modes of operation: air flow disinfection, and direct surface disinfection.Air flow disinfection is the preferred mode for when the Sterilon Flow is placed in a fixed location within a room. It uses forced circulation to draw air through the interior of the lamp, where it’s disinfected through exposure to the UV-C light inside. Then, the air is pushed back out into the room. The UV-C light is shielded by a cover, protecting anyone nearby from its hazardous health effects.

However, this cover can be manually removed to facilitate its direct surface disinfection function. This allows for short-range exposure to an infected surface, effectively neutralising the virus. Obviously though, it requires particular care from the user to avoid exposing themselves to the harmful effects of the light.

The UV-C Sterilon Flow is available in a 72W version, and a 144W version.

UV-C Sterilon Square P

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The Sterilon Square P luminaire essentially acts as an overhead light source, with the added bonus of being able to effectively disinfect an area. Much like the Sterilon Flow, it has two main modes of operation: surface illumination, and direct surface disinfection.

For surface illumination, the Sterilon Square is capable of lighting an area using high-efficiency energy saving LED modules. This makes it a suitable main source of light, more than sufficient for students and staff to maintain their concentration in an educational environment.

For direct surface disinfection, the Sterilon Square utilises built-in UVC fluorescent lamps, which are directed straight at the infected surface to enhance effective disinfection. As we’ve noted above though, users need to stay out of the direct beam when the luminaire is operating in this mode, as it can be hazardous to their health.

This is where the Sterilon Square’s other key safety feature comes in – it uses an inverted RCR motion sensor to detect when something moves in range of the light. When it detects any motion, it will immediately deactivate the UV-C light. Once a period of 10 minutes elapses without any further motion, the sensor will reactivate the UV module.

If you’ve got any questions, or you’re considering any of these systems for your own premises, don’t hesitate to get in touch by giving us a call on 01282 863 825, or dropping us a quick email on sales@askewsltd.com. Our friendly experts will be only too happy to help!

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