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Clearing Germs with the Portable UV Sanitizer
The number of COVID-19 cases is yet to hit its peak, and personal protective equipment (PPE), such as N95 masks are running out. Consequently, medical communities are urgently looking for reliable solutions for disinfecting masks that healthcare workers have to reuse.
UV light, heat, humidity, and vaporized hydrogen peroxide are the best-known mask sterilization practices. While these are not long-term solutions, they can be useful in emergencies if used correctly. Portable UV sanitizers offer a potential option that can be a safe and cost-effective way to sanitize masks.
If the right amount of light, for the proper length of time, is dosed by a well-functioning optical device, you can eliminate 99% of germs on your surfaces or masks. This makes portable UV sanitizer wands versatile in use since they are easy to carry around.
Chemists with expertise in using a UV light for disinfecting water and surfaces are working closely with medical practitioners and first responders nationwide looking for facts on the most effective way to use the UV lights. UV radiation is currently used in hospitals and hang in ambulances allowing EMTs to effectively sanitize surfaces on the go.
Portable UV Sanitizer or Vaporized Hydrogen Peroxide Sanitizers?
Many large vaporized hydrogen peroxide systems are being set up in cities around the country to help sanitize masks. However, the experts have opined that UV sanitizer machines are a more feasible low-tech and low-volume option for first responders and individual healthcare workers often found in rural areas. Therefore, using a portable UV sanitizer on masks is a good option
How Does UV Sanitizer Light Work?
UV sanitizer light penetrates the mask and works by damaging the molecular bonds that hold together the nucleic acids (DNA or RNA) of the viruses or bacteria and stops them from infecting and/or replicating within a human cell. The light from a portable UV sanitizer or a UV sterilization lamp is shortwave. The human eye cannot see it, so to kill the virus effectively requires an understanding of the irradiance—the amount of light energy or UV intensity—the length of time the mask is dosed and knowledge of the UV optics of the disinfection device.
Types of UV Light
Ultraviolet light falls into three categories, according to the World Health Organization:
- UVA: This is the lowest-energy form of UV, and is responsible for about 95% of the ultraviolet light that strikes the Earth from the sun. It can penetrate intensely into the skin’s layers, making it responsible for the early tanning effect. It also contributes to skin aging, wrinkling, and possibly skin cancer.
- UVB: This higher-energy type of ultraviolet light can permeate the skin’s superficial layers. UVB is responsible for delayed tanning (and burning), and is a significant contributor to skin cancer and aging. Most of the UVB that comes our way is absorbed by the Earth’s ozone layer, so it only makes up about 5% of the solar UV that reaches Earth.
- UVC: The highest-energy category of ultraviolet light — any higher and you’d be in X-ray territory — is also the most damaging form of UV light. Luckily, the ozone layer and atmosphere completely absorb it. UV light used in medical disinfection devices is a particular wavelength of UVC.
UV Sanitizer vs. Black Light
The term black light refers to a specific kind of lamp, typically fluorescent, with a special luminous coating that emits UV radiation in the UVA range. The best UV sanitizer wands are created to emit UVC light, which is of high energy and is more effective in the sanitization, and is thus used in hospitals.
Are UV Sanitizer Wands Safe for Everyone To Use?
We can’t underestimate the importance of training, and reputable UV disinfection lighting will require at least some exercise before its operation. Did you know that different spaces and surfaces need precise and differing amounts of time to disinfect effectively?
Again, what if one person is holding a wand up to a surface for ten seconds and another person is doing the same for three minutes?
Understanding the workings of the wands not only eliminates this problem, but so does the automatic controls and disinfection cycles that are included with popular fixtures and units. Good germicidal UVC lighting comes with preset timed cycles, auto on/off controls, sensors, etc.
Portable UV sanitizer systems come with the auto on/off controls that turn the lights off if someone enters the space when a disinfection cycle is occurring. Wands do come with some safety controls, but if not properly used, you could easily expose yourself to UV.
Are UV Sanitizer Wands Effective?
A UV wand can only cover a small surface area, so if you were to try and disinfect a whole room, you’d probably be at it for a while. However, if you are using your UV sanitizer on an N95 mask, for instance, the tool will be more helpful than if you’re using it for an entire room. According to a UNH expert, if you sanitize your N95 masks properly with a UV light, it works.
If They Are Using Them In Hospitals, Can’t I Use Portable UV Sanitizer Light At Home?
Yes, you can. Nonetheless, it is essential to note that using UV sanitizers on masks is not as straightforward as it might seem. It’s much easier to sanitize smooth, flat hospital surfaces with ultraviolet light, such as floors and medical equipment.
Since UV can only disinfect what it shines on, any shadows cast by a mask’s tiny folds might prevent those spots from being decontaminated. All the same, any place that UV light shines upon is sure to be sanitized provided the wavelength is right.
So, if you find a UV sanitizer somewhere for sale, ensure that it has proven functionality.