Staying Safe During COVID-19
When I opened Feldman Physical Therapy and Performance in 2013 I had a goal of creating a different kind of physical therapy practice, one focused on health, and prevention. Less reacting to things after they occur, and more keeping them from occurring. Never did I think that would translate into helping people stay safe and healthy during a global pandemic, but here we are!
We know these are difficult times, and as always we want to be a resource for everyone to stay healthy and safe. We feel we have developed some of the best practices in keeping people safe, and as we see the virus numbers increasing we would like to share our practices, so that they may help everyone. To us these are very simple and important things that everyone could be implementing.
We need to start with air quality, and how to measure it. We are all well aware by now that this is an airborne virus, and while we are wearing masks and keeping distance from others there is more we can be doing. We have set our HVAC systems to constantly be bringing in fresh outside air into our offices. This could obviously also be accomplished by opening windows, but this alone is not enough to ensure a safe environment. We need to measure the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. This is a simple and easy way to understand how much air in the space is air that someone else has exhaled. For reference, 400ppm is the level found in normal fresh air, up to 1000ppm is the standard allowed amount for most indoor ventilation systems. At 800ppm about 1% of the air you breathe will be air someone else in the space has already breathed (you or another individual). We are keeping our spaces at 700ppm or under. If we see the level increase we simply move and switch areas and let the air cycle through. Once we remove the humans expelling air the levels fall relatively quickly as fresh air comes in. This has been widely shown to be an effective way to mitigate transmission by ensuring that we are not rebreathing air someone else has expelled. If you would like to do a deep dive into the research you can find a lot of it here. The carbon dioxide monitors are easy to purchase and usually cost less than $150 on amazon. This is the one we use. These are things that can be placed in offices and other public interior spaces that would allow people to know the quality of the air they are breathing in real time.
The next step in our system is accomplished with simple smart watches from Garmin. The same ones used by many runners, cyclists and exercise enthusiasts. The watches are constantly monitoring our heart rate, resting heart rate, heart rate variability, respiratory rate, as well as blood oxygen level. They then report all of that information to a system that analyzes it against each of our normal values, and good research has shown changes in these values, along with changes in sleep and activity patterns will provide an early warning sign of illness, even before we feel any signs or symptoms. We review this information each morning before we leave for the office to ensure that we don’t only feel good, but that our data proves we are healthy and safe. This is a service we are offering to provide for others, whether you want it for your workplace, or just yourself. We are able to create a unique dashboard for your company and monitor your employees for you. We can help you get the devices for yourself or your employees, and ensure that all the data is monitored daily. This is a similar method to the one used by the NBA in their bubble, as well as the PGA tour, and recently the United States Navy is looking to start a similar program (read more here). If you would like more information on using this for yourself or in your workplace fill out this form, and we will reach out with the best way for you to get started. I have included a brief graphic below to explain this in more detail.
We know there are vaccines on the way, but they will not be able to help us all stay safe and healthy this winter. If you have any questions about how you can implement any of these procedures into your business, please email me Justin@feldmanphysicaltherapy.com. None of these solutions are unique, and all are well based in science, but are simply not being talked about enough.