Humidity can have a direct effect on our health. Forty percent is a comfortable humidity level, according to Mr. Plumber. So, what happens when the air around us is too dry?
How does excess moisture affect our health?
Here’s what we learned.
Humidity Might Be Why You’re Still Sick
Low humidity can dry the mucous membrane surrounding our organs, which helps viruses persist. If your cough or flu isn’t going away, the dry air in your home or office can be a reason for it.
Health experts actually advise patients to raise humidity levels in their home as a way to combat the flu.
High humidity also affects your respiratory system. Breathing in moisture activates the nerves in your lungs and may cause your airways to constrict.
Humidity makes the air stagnant, which keeps allergens, like pollen and dust, adrift. This is especially concerning for those who suffer from asthma.
Humidity & The Skin
We all know that winter is the dry season in the US. As we crank the heat and fire up the hearth, we’re ultimately drying out our homes and skin even more. Soon we’re itching and scratching and requesting lotion and lip balm for Christmas.
This can be especially painful for those with skin conditions, like eczema. Moisture actually warms the air, so a humidifier may be more effective this winter than a space heater.
On the other hand, fungal infections thrive in conditions of excess moisture. While moderate humidity can give us that dewy glow we all crave, we should be careful not to over-moisture or spritz too often.
Humidity Can Make Us Thirsty & Tired
Both low and high humidity levels can lead to dehydration. We’re, of course, thirstier in dry, arid environments. But as we sweat and more fluid leaves our body than we put in it, high humidity can also dehydrate us.
Exhaustion can also occur when excess moisture in the air affects your body’s ability to cool off. We sweat to maintain body temperature and changes in our body temperature help us fall asleep and wake up. In an environment that has high humidity, our sweat cannot evaporate and our body has to work harder to keep itself cool.
In addition to moisturizing and drinking enough water, you can easily control the humidity in your home by investing in portable dehumidifiers and humidifiers.
The tricky part about portable machines like this is that you’ll have to rotate them out seasonally as fall and winter call for a humidifier and spring and summer yield more moisture. You might consider replacing the lost moisture by using a home humidifier.
Perhaps the most effective solution is to install a whole-house humidifier, which works similarly to a central air conditioner and automatically turns on and off depending on your desired level of humidity. If you already have one but are unsure whether it’s working correctly, contact your warranty company to have it serviced.