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Photo: Beatriz Vera (Shutterstock) When talking about the ways to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission among the people in your own home, public health experts often mention the importance of keeping your home “properly ventilated.” But the instructions end there. Is ventilating your home as simple as opening a window, or is there more involved? How does ventilation help stop the spread of viruses? And how does this work in the winter? Here’s what to know ahead of any holiday gatherings you may still decide to attend or host. How does ventilation reduce the risk of COVID spreading? The idea that fresh air is key to stopping the spread of infectious illness was around long before germ theory emerged and was understood. The early science was murky, but the overall concept is the same: Flush out bad, diseased air with fresh, clean air from outside (or later on, via an HVAC system). COVID is airborne , meaning it can spread when someone inhales aerosol particles exhaled by an infected person. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), these particles can travel far more than six feet; in fact, they can move throughout an entire room or indoor space (though the risk of inhaling the particles decreases with distance). Not only that, but the EPA says that the particles can also linger in the air after an infected person has left a room—sometimes remaining airborne for hours. And while indoor ventilation (whether from an open window or through an […]