Indoor Air Quality: Practical Tips for Managing Microbiological Contaminants 

” The lifestyle and climatic conditions mean that the vast majority of Quebecers spend an average of 90% of their time indoors. Therefore, good indoor air quality is essential for health. “1

– Institut national de santé publique du Québec

In a constantly evolving world, indoor air quality and the management of infection risks in indoor environments have become crucial concerns to ensure the health and well-being of individuals, especially in work environments. Our Building Sciences business line, which includes its own microbiology laboratory and regularly assists clients with contamination management, presents valuable information here to help you better control infection risks. 

Key Microbiological Contaminants 

The air we breathe contains inert particles and various microorganisms such as bacteria, yeast, molds, and viruses. These microscopic particles can remain suspended in the air and impact comfort or the transmission of infectious agents. Viruses, although tiny in size, can only multiply within a human or animal host, emphasizing the importance of occupants as emission sources. As for molds, bacteria, and yeast, these microorganisms can grow on the various materials that make up a building. 

Managing Viruses, Bacteria, and Molds 

While ventilation can play an important role in diluting the various contaminants present in a building’s air, knowledge and control of emission sources allow for better air quality control. 

Mold management primarily relies on moisture control, highlighting the importance of regular visual inspections and prompt elimination of leaks or water infiltrations. Any affected material should be removed or decontaminated. 

Remember that maintaining a healthy indoor environment involves a combination of proper ventilation, moisture control, and proactive management of potential contamination sources. 

Although excessive humidity can also promote bacterial growth on materials, occupants remain the primary source of bacteria found in the air. High concentrations of bacteria can indicate issues such as overcrowding, inadequate ventilation, stagnant water, or insufficient maintenance. 

Viruses are brought in and spread by infected occupants. While ventilation and cleaning can reduce the presence of viruses on surfaces, it’s worth mentioning that viruses have a very limited survival time once outside the host. 

Infection Prevention Methods  

Preventing infections in indoor spaces relies on a set of effective measures. The most influential prevention methods include limiting contacts, practicing physical distancing, maintaining hand hygiene, and following respiratory etiquette. Telecommuting for symptomatic individuals complements these basic measures. 

To enhance protection, additional measures such as increasing fresh air intake, wearing masks, and regularly cleaning the environment can be considered. 

Importance of Distancing and Handwashing 

In environments where contact with shared surfaces is unavoidable, frequent handwashing plays a vital role in limiting the spread of infections.

Additionally, as the risk of infection significantly decreases when one is more than 2 meters away from an infected person, physical distancing is crucial. 

Ventilation : Your Ally for Quality Indoor Air 

Adequate fresh air supply is essential to limit the accumulation of allergenic or potentially infectious particles. Monitoring carbon dioxide levels can serve as a reliable indicator of ventilation effectiveness. While filtration systems and air purifiers can also contribute to improving indoor air quality, their capacity to prevent transmission between individuals is limited.  


Understanding microbiological contaminants and prevention methods is key to creating healthy and sustainable workspaces that enhance productivity and well-being. To prevent infections, an approach combining physical distancing, hand hygiene, proper ventilation, and other preventive measures is essential for ensuring a safe indoor environment. 

To conduct a thorough audit of your work environments, it is recommended to enlist qualified professionals, such as those from Nvira, who can provide comprehensive and personalized expertise. Indeed, our experts can assess specific risks, propose tailored solutions, and ensure effective implementation of prevention measures, thereby helping establish an optimal work environment for all.