In case you don’t know it yet, reduced humidity can have some serious side effects on your organism and overall health. Humidity refers to the amount of vapor that is present in the air.
This variable is a very critical health factor but is often overlooked by most people.
In general, the recommended indoor humidity level must be around 40 to 60 percent, although there are experts who claim that it can also be around 35% to 45%.
During summer months when humidity is relatively higher, this can lead to mold growths, dust mites, and fungus.
These things can pose some serious health risks to asthma patients and those with allergies.
Reduced humidity, on the other hand, can also prove to be dangerous, resulting in more health complications.
Watch Out for Dangers of Low Humidity during Winter
During the chilly winter season, the use of heaters and the colder temperatures practically lead to dry air that then results in a lack of humidity.
This dry air which occurs can bring about different health concerns such as nasal congestion, irritated skin, dry skin, and itchy eyes.
After some time, your mucous membrane lining may also dry out when you stay longer in a low moisture environment.
Once such abnormalities take place and affect your respiratory tracts, there is a higher risk that you will suffer from colds, flu, and other similar infections.
Aside from this, there are also certain viruses that can survive longer in an environment with dry air which can further heighten your risks of being infected.
For instance, a study conducted by researchers, it was discovered that the flu virus lives longer and spreads faster in a low humidity environment.
Cases of nasal congestion can be associated with dry air inhaled and cold temperature more than other variables as revealed in the study.
The results reflect that the interaction between temperature and humidity can influence nasal cooling as air passes through the nasal cavity.
The nasal sensors detect this cooling which induces the sensation of air passage either blocking or letting the cooler air pass through leading to a less obstruction feeling.
While high humidity results in sinus congestion, very dry air or low humidity is found to increase congestion feelings since dry sinus membranes further distort the nostrils.
Depending on the air situation in your home, when you have very dry air, your best option is to increase its humidity.
Effects on Your Skin and Eyes
If you have been experiencing dry eyes, the reduced humidity might be the culprit as it is found to increase the evaporation of tears.
It may lead to the imbalance of moisture required for a healthy surface of your eyes.
Once reduced humidity combines with colder temperature, this can wreak havoc on your skin.
A lot of people experience dry, itchy, and scaly skin during the months of winter even if they weren’t diagnosed with skin ailments such as eczema in the past.
This condition is called winter itch as the result of moisture depletion from your skin.
Aside from itching of the skin, dry air can also cause skin dehydration that can leave behind some tiny cracks on the surface of your skin.
While it is not common for infectious agents to cause problems on the skin, unless it is transferred to the nose or mouth, having cracked skin can increase your risks of getting sick as this cracked skin can serve as an entryway for possible harmful pathogens.
It is especially true in arid environments and during winter months when relative humidity levels dip lower than 10%.
Maintaining the right levels of humidity can help reduce the risks of respiratory diseases and allergies.
Most of the health effects can be easily controlled by ensuring that your indoor humidity level is kept between 40% and 60%.
Tips to Increase Humidity Levels When You Experience Dry Air
Excessively dry air in your home will likely make you prone to dry throat or dry skin. You may even notice your house plants turning dry, feel the ecstatic electricity, or peeling wallpaper, all of which are due to dry air.
Reduced humidity in houses with wooden furniture and floors can make these contracts and lose water which can lead to divisions or cracks on the surface.
It is also important to remember that while it is common to experience decreased humidity during winter, it is also commonly experienced in dry climates or during summer months as the result of overusing air conditioning systems.
To improve humidity indoors, there are a few things you can do:
- Use a vaporizer or humidifier.
- Indulge in a hot bath through a steam bath. You can also fill your sink with hot water and lean over it with a towel wrapped around your head.
- Put a water bowl in your house.
- Inhale the steam coming from a hot cup of tea.
Don’t Make the Air Too Humid
While you want to drive away dry air indoors through adding some moisture, make sure that you don’t overdo it.
Extremely high humidity can lead to mold growth that could adversely affect your health.
A very humid environment also serves as the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and fungi that can be released through and spread by your humidifier.
Breathing in this dirty mist can result in infection and lung issues.
There are also studies that showed that the use of humidifiers has increased the risks of kids developing asthma.
As mentioned earlier, excessive moisture indoors increases the risks of mold development which can release toxins in the air, and this is something you would never want to breathe.
The Bottom Line
Just like how high humidity causes adverse health effects, decreased humidity isn’t a good thing as well. Keeping your indoor humidity at around 30 to 50 percent can benefit your health in many ways.