‘Stop Swapping Air’ Campaign
What Is ‘Stop Swapping Air?’
- The phrase “Stop Swapping Air” was coined on an episode of the Osterholm Update: COVID-19 podcast, hosted by infectious disease expert Dr. Michael Osterholm. It’s based on the idea that the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 is to avoid swapping air, or in other words, to not spend time in enclosed spaces with people that aren’t in your pod. A “pod” is a small number of trusted people who are also not seeing others. It is most commonly immediate family.
- SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread from person to person through the air. When we breathe, talk, yell, laugh, or sing, we all create aerosols, which are tiny particles that can float in the air for minutes to hours. (Picture floating dust particles that you can see in sun streaming through a window.) If you share indoor air with someone who is infected with the virus, you risk breathing in the virus and becoming infected. Special forms of breathing protection, such as N95 respirators, can protect you from breathing in aerosols. But cloth face coverings are not designed to filter out such small particles, and they also may enter through the gaps around the cloth.
- This simple practice of not swapping air is the most effective step you can take right now to protect you and your family, friends, and colleagues.