Your home may feel like the safest place to be to prevent a COVID-19 infection, but what happens if someone in your household tests positive.

Researchers have found a quick, inexpensive way to reduce the infection from spreading to others in your household.

We’ve seen the stories before. One person gets COVID-19, then the entire household has it. But are there precautions that can reduce the spread of the infection within the home.

“We found it was actually relatively simple to create a homemade isolation space that achieves the same differential pressure target that you might find in a hospital-grade isolation space,” said Eric Martin, Program Director for the FSEC Energy Research Center at UCF.

They tested 17 different isolation room configurations to find the best way to reduce aerosol particles from spreading throughout the house.

The best and most cost-effective configuration they found was using a bedroom with an attached bathroom. Seal off the heating and cooling duct work going into the room. Keep the door to the bedroom closed. In the bathroom, run the exhaust fan.

“If the flow of the exhaust fan is not adequate, people can also use a portable window fan that could pull air from the isolation space to the outside,” said Tanvir Khan, PhD, Post-Doctoral Researcher at the FSEC Energy Research Center at UCF.

So, how can you tell if a homemade isolation zone is working successfully.

“So, if you put that tissue down in front of that opening and you’re in the isolation zone, that tissue should be blowing in towards you,” said Charles Walters, Senior Research Analyst at the FSEC Energy Research Center at UCF.

And not blowing virus particles to other areas in the house.

“What we’ve got here is something that most people on their own can take measure to at least improve keeping others safe in the house.” Walters said.

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