TNB Night Owl – Minimizing Viruses By Controlling Indoor Humidity

Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier.
Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier. Photo by Roecrew.

This isn’t exactly breaking news, but somehow this fact escaped my attention up until now: viruses thrive in low-humidity environments. In the winter when it’s cold outside, most everyone spends almost all their time inside with the heat on. Because warm air can hold more moisture than cold air, the indoor environment will feature a lower relative humidity compared to the outdoors. That’s a bad thing if your dearest wish is to avoid the flu, or any other virus. Low humidity also encourages respiratory infections.

You can make your indoor space less hospitable to viruses by using a humidifier to increase the amount of moisture in air. The ideal range you want is 40% to 50% relative humidity. A hygrometer is the instrument that measures relative humidity. You’ll need one of these to monitor the air moisture in your home in order to better control your indoor humidity.

Much more than 50% relative humidity is not desirable, as high levels of dampness encourages fungi, mites, bacteria, and (again) viruses. High humidity is a catalyst for asthma and allergic rhinitis. The “Use and Care of Home Humidifiers” is a downloadable PDF (32KB) from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which includes information on health risks associated with improper humidifier use and recommended humidifier maintenance procedures.

Hopefully, you won’t catch the flu or any other coronavirus this season. But if you do, a humidifier can help you feel better.

[T]o relieve your symptoms you can […] use a room humidifier or take a hot shower to help ease a sore throat and cough.

If you’re having guests coming for Thanksgiving, you might want to get out your humidifier, or go buy one today.

By the way, although static electricity is the least of our worries this winter, a humidifier also puts an end to unpleasant zaps.

Question of the Night: If you can’t enjoy the perfect temperature, do you prefer to be too hot or too cold?

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About Richard Doud 622 Articles
Learning is a life-long endeavor. Never stop learning. No one is right all the time. No one is wrong all the time. No exceptions to these rules.