With our world shrinking and the majority of people now working from home, indoor air quality experts, Airthings, wanted to share some information on an issue that is easily fixed but often forgotten: humidity. Issues with humidity are a problem for everyone. It can cause mould growth, exacerbate eczema, bring on dust mite allergies, and has even been linked to asthma and respiratory illnesses. As if that wasn’t enough, the link between low humidity and infection has recently been investigated, and the results aren’t good. Since Airthings specialise in indoor air quality, they have generated a quick summary to demonstrate how healthy humidity levels impact everyone’s new temporary place of work; their homes.
Researchers for the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention found that when humidity levels were at 23%, 70 to 77% of flu virus particles were still able to cause an infection an hour after coughing. Raising humidity levels to 43% reduced the percentage of infectious particles to just 14%.
Yale University recently unveiled ground-breaking research that discovered the link between low humidity and the increased risk of contracting the flu virus. The lead researcher found that the body’s natural defence mechanisms were hindered in fighting the flu virus in environments of low humidity.
Why should I care?
The CDC research shows that the flu virus survived for longer in low humidity. The Yale researcher found that low humidity also made it more difficult for the body to remove inhaled particles and therefore reduced the test subject’s natural defences and increased the chances of contracting flu.
The tricky thing about humidity levels is that they fluctuate and vary depending on the home, daily activities, the seasons and much more. Excess humidity levels can result in mould growth on window panes and in the home whereas very low humidity levels can help the spread of the flu virus as shown in the research.
Correct humidity levels:
Healthy indoor humidity levels are between 30-50% according to Environmental Protection Agency recommendations. By keeping the home in between these recommended levels, it can reduce the risk that comes with poor indoor humidity.
How to maintain healthy humidity levels:
Humans find it hard to detect when humidity levels are changing, that is why we are so good at adapting to different environments. The problem is, we only notice when humidity levels are really bad, where we start scratching our skin or notice mould growth. The best solution is to monitor humidity, that way you can be alerted to when levels get too high or low. Airthings Wave Mini helps to monitor humidity, or by upgrading to Airthings Wave Plus, the device offers complete indoor air insights including humidity and radon gas.
In addition, Airthings have compiled their top tips to fix humidity in your home. The important thing to remember is that as long as humidity is monitored, it will show when is the right time to make these small changes to fix the issue before it becomes a bigger problem. With regards to the Coronavirus, the World Health Organisation warns that everyone can be at risk including those living in hot, humid conditions. For information and support on the Coronavirus, read what the WHO says here.
Want to find out more? Airthings take a further look into the research and the importance of healthy air when working from home, here.