Heat Kills Virus – Stanford Medicine Study 25MAR 2020 Page 6
As of today, the Covid-19 virus is still on an upswing and infections and deaths continue to climb worldwide.
The virus is forcing the worlds most talented and ingenious people to switch gears from whatever they were doing before the outbreak to come up with creative ways to “flatten the curve” of infections.
Once the curve is flattened there will need to be global efforts to make sure that if the virus mutates, we are not faced with a follow-on pandemic.
Entire industries are adapting and retooling so they can manufacture medical equipment required to protect our first responders and medical personnel, save lives and vanquish this deadly foe.
Since the start of the pandemic in the US and Canada I have fielded numerous phone calls from our hotel and lodging customers who are faced with a real challenge.
These customers are receiving requests from their public health departments to house not only the front line Covid-19 health care workers but also individuals who need to be quarantined, like the homeless, who have been identified as having been exposed to the virus through contact with infected people.
These customers are calling to ask if their electric bed bug heaters, typically used to kill bed bugs and other pests, will get the hotel rooms hot enough to kill the Covid-19 virus.
Until just a few days ago I did not have an answer to this question and am still trying to remain careful in what I communicate around this specific topic.
On March 25th Stanford University’s School of Medicine released the results of a study they performed. They were trying to confirm at what temperature you would need to heat N95 protective masks to kill Covid-19 and not degrade the mask so they could be safely reused.
Although this study is specific to decontaminating medical face masks the conclusions carry over into other areas of discussion given they have determined what temperature and length of time will kill the virus.
The study concluded that exposing the N95 face masks to 158° F for 30 minutes will most likely kill the virus while preserving the structural integrity of the masks so they can be used again.
Other methods were tested and determined to degrade the masks too much and were therefore not recommended for decontamination. See the red areas on page 5 of the study.
PestPro Thermal Systems manufactures and sells electric bed bug heaters to its customers who use them primarily to kill bed bugs and other insects which tend to die quickly when exposed to temperatures of around 120° F.
The heaters have automatic thermostats installed that are pre-set at the factory to top out at 145° F. This is the temperature that will penetrate furniture and personal items most effectively without damaging low cost items like budget vinyl blinds and cheap particle board, glued furniture.
We have helped customers reprogram their automatic thermostats to achieve temperatures of as high as 160° for non-standard uses like commercial scale pottery and ceramic curing rooms, fire and flood remediation and municipal buses and trains.
Completely decontaminating living areas like hotel rooms of the Covid-19 virus before someone new can safely and confidently move-in will take multiple tools and methods.
One of these tools for hard, non-porous surfaces, like table tops and bathrooms, will of course be spray disinfectants and moistened wipes. For porous, not-hard, fabric covered items another tool can be whole room heaters that can raise the temperature of a living area to 158° F for as long as needed.
One advantage a whole room heater offers is the ability of heat to penetrate all the nooks and crannies and fabric covered items like furniture and bedding.
You cannot spray Lysol or Clorox bleach inside a mattress, box spring or upholstered chair.
Consider your whole-room bed bug heaters as another arrow in the quiver against Covid-19 and please be careful out there.
One important item to mention before treating your rooms with these higher temperatures: fire sprinkler lines need to be turned off during treatment and sprinkler heads need to be covered using a styrofoam, outdoor faucet cover, available in any lawn and garden department.
We can be reached directly at 970-221-1036 if you have additional questions about our equipment including how to reset your thermostat to the higher temperatures mentioned in this post.
If you are an existing customer, the video below will walk you through how to reprogram your automatic thermostat to enable your heater to achieve the higher temperatures mentioned in this post.