Ultraviolet sanitizing devices have been around for a long time. Although it has proven to be an effective germicidal technology for hospitals for decades, UV sanitization has not been so much in the public spotlight as it is today. Since the beginning of the COVID19 outbreak in early 2020, scientists and healthcare professionals have been searching for solutions that have the capability to slow, or even stop the spread of this deadly virus. Although washing hands, covering the face, and social distancing are among many effective methods, it turns out that something as simple as light might have a say in the matter as well.
Many of us already know the power of ultraviolet rays if we spend too much time out in the sun without protecting our skin. UV rays are merely electromagnetic radiation in the form of particles or waves that come directly from the sun. With that being said, it is easy to see where the use of UV rays could be dangerous and cause significant risks. Although the sun’s rays have been used to disinfect operating rooms and other places in hospitals in the past, they have been empty rooms without people in them. When it comes to disinfecting people with this kind of light, things can get complicated.
Types of UV Rays
There are three basic types of ultraviolet rays that are emitted from the sun. Each type has its own characteristics and energy level:
UVA and UVB are both rays that are able to penetrate the earth’s atmosphere and have an effect on the beings that live on the planet. UVA rays have the longest wavelength and are the most prevalent source of UV rays on the planet. UVB rays don’t have as long as a wavelength so most of the rays are stopped by the ozone layer. UVA rays usually cause suntans and mild sunburns, but the UVB rays have been known to cause more severe sunburns and even skin cancer.
UVC rays have a very short wavelength and never make it to the earth’s crust. However, scientists have been able to create artificial UVC rays that have proven to be beneficial in the germicidal realm.
How UVC Rays Kill Germs
You may see UV germicide as a method that allows the rays to burn away the cells and kill them instantly with their electromagnetic radiation. Most anything, if you lay it out in the hot sun long enough and let it dry out will die. However, when it comes to killing germs and pathogens with UVC rays there is a less direct effect. The UVC rays actually inactivate the pathogens and prevent them from being able to replicate themselves. In order for a virus to live, it has to be able to multiply. Germs only live for a short amount of time, then they die off naturally. If they can’t reproduce, they die. Yes, it sounds like a simple solution, but there is a bit more to the story than meets the eye.
Far UVC 222
UVC rays have the power to penetrate the skin, the eyes, and destroy DNA. Depending on the wavelength of the light is how deep it will enter the tissue and cause damage. Far UVC 222 has a wavelength of 222 nm that does not penetrate skin or the eyes, yet is strong enough to inactivate pathogens. Although it can effectively stop germs from being able to replicate, it can only do so if it has been allowed enough exposure time to the germs. The light has to be in direct contact with the germs for at least 3 minutes in order to do any good. UVC 222 is an excellent way to effectively fight germs and pathogens, but only if used correctly.
Does UV Sanitation Work?
The short answer to that question is that, yes, it does work to stop the spread of viruses and other germs. Should it be used as an only means? Probably not. You may invest in some germicidal UV lighting solutions to protect you in your business, or your home, but do not let it replace handwashing, social distancing, and other safety measures that are in place to prevent the spread of COVID19.