Indeed, hospitals and other healthcare facilities provide critical care to patients. It takes a lot of effort and resources to make sure that everything is streamlined. In healthcare facilities, humidity is one of the major factors that cause varied problems, which can lead to unnecessary risk if not controlled at the right time. Excess humidity makes the environment unpleasant for patients and causes structural damage to expensive healthcare equipment and lenses.
Expensive and sensitive equipment used in hospitals requires protection against external agents, temperature, humidity, contaminants, etc. While temperature control is achieved through air- conditioning but the importance of humidity control is often overlooked, especially in small hospitals. The backbone of most hospitals is an array of ‘Radiology Equipment’s’ used for multiple purposes. Equipment like Endoscopy equipment, PET Scans, Echocardiography, MRI machines, X-ray machines, medical gas equipment, ENT workstation, ECG machines, etc entails heavy capital expenditure and requires safety measures.
All such machines demand intensive care because if moisture gets in touch with the machine surface, it leads to micro-corrosion related damage. For example – moisture corrodes electronic circuits and components in these Equipment leading to frequent malfunction and breakdowns. Also inaccurate display or readings can lead to wrong diagnosis and treatment.
So, to avoid detriment to sensitive equipment and surgeon/patient discomfort – moisture must be controlled within the various premises, be it the OT, ICU, Clean Rooms, Research & Testing Laboratories, Diagnostic Room etc. This phenomenon is particularly true in warm and muggy climates wherein surgical staff discomfort adds to the overall misery.
Multiple layers of clothing, face masks, hair covers and protective gloves trap the body heat and exacerbate perspiration. To provide a conducive environment and prevent the biological contaminants from spreading and multiplying, Dehumidifiers have proven to be the ideal solution to meet the stringent humidity requirements in hospital areas as per the international standards. Even during the COVID-19 times wherein the protective gear (PPE) kits were a mandate and necessity; dehumidification solution helped enable comfort and conducive environment to the rescue of the doctors and medical staff across various leading domestic and international hospitals and medical care facilities.
If the humidity is not controlled then there are high chances of bacteria flourishing in the humid air. Desiccant dehumidifiers have proven themselves as an all-time solution for humidity control at low temperatures. Installing a desiccant dehumidifier has its own advantages, such as:
- Eliminates high RH in ductwork, allowing the HVAC systems to comply with ASHRAE STD-62 Guidelines to maintain RH below 70% to avoid microbial contamination.
- At higher temperatures, the central system chiller runs more efficiently, providing additional sensible cooling.
- RH can be maintained at 45% RH or lower even at a temperature below 64 °F
Humidity is one of the factors that contribute to a safe and sterile environment in healthcare facilities. Thus, having a dehumidifier solves multiple problems in one go. Hospitals are the backbone of the health care delivery system. Hence, the necessity of having dehumidifiers ensure smooth functioning, which should be placed in every hospital and lab. The author is Dinesh Gupta, Director, Bry-Air (Asia).