ATLANTA (CBS46) -- A new study from the Department of Defense suggests you're less likely to contract coronavirus from the air you breathe on an airplane than what you're breathing at home.

“A plane actually has a better chance of keeping you healthier with their filter systems running all the time,” said Senior Industrial Hygienist Luke Van Oldenburg. Meaning simply that the air in your house is dirtier than the air on an airplane.

Oldenburg added, “the dust on your clothing, on your shoes, builds up and gets in there. The things you drag in from outside, there’s more dust allergens, mold spores coming in with you everyday.”

The researchers -- including airline industry experts and health officials -- say airlines are getting rid of most of that contamination by using high air exchange rates, filtered recirculation and downward ventilation.

“One of the things they’ve done is increase the number of air volume is going through the system so they have greater air changes than they used to have,” Oldenburg said.

The study found the risk of transmission of the virus through the air was reduced 99.7 percent, which is great for those traveling. But how can you improve your air quality at home?

Oldenburg says use this rule of thumb: In any given week keep track of how many people are coming into your home. For every person allowed inside that's how many times you should vacuum per week.

Whether you’re 30,000 feet in the air or on the ground, he reiterates that proper PPE protocol is still critical.

“Experts have been saying it’s a layering system: it’s not just the mask, it’s not just a cleaning, you know, or the UV lights, or the disinfectants it’s a combination of those that help us stay safe,” said Oldenburg.

Copyright 2020 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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