Respiratory infections including Coronavirus (COVID-19): staying well and protecting others

How to reduce the risk of respiratory infections including coronavirus (COVID-19) to keep ourselves and each other well.


Increasing the flow of fresh air in your home is one of a number of steps that you can take to reduce the risk of spreading respiratory infections including COVID-19..

You can play a part in reducing the spread of respiratory infections including COVID-19 by assessing risks as part of your normal routine. You should take account of risks to yourself and those around you when deciding which actions are most appropriate for you.

There are some easy steps you can take to improve the flow of fresh air in your home and reduce the risk of infections spreading:

  • Wherever possible, try to meet others outside or in a well-ventilated space. If this is not possible, try to reduce the amount of time spent indoors and let fresh air into your home before visitors arrive and after they have left, if you can
  • Maintain a regular supply of fresh, clean, outdoor air, when you can. This can often be done by simply opening windows, doors or vents for as long as you can. Always make sure that it is safe to do so and that there is no risk of injury or an increased security risk
  • Check whether trickle vents (small vents usually on top of a window) or grilles are open and not blocked. Air that flows in from these vents will mix with warm air in the room as it enters, which helps keep the room at a comfortable temperature
  • If you can, open more than one door and/or window to allow more fresh air to move inside and circulate
  • If your home has a mechanical ventilation system, make sure this is working and maintained in line with manufacturers’ instructions. Setting ventilation systems to bring fresh air into your home rather than just recirculating indoor air will help

In colder or windy weather, where it is not comfortable to leave windows or doors open fully, even a small opening of a window, vents and doors can help increase a flow of fresh air indoors. Windows, vents and doors do not need to stay open all the time. They can be opened for a short time, particularly when you have visitors or are socialising with others at home.

Organisations and workplaces should follow the safer workplaces and public settings guidance on ventilation.

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