Dry air can have many consequences for your health. From eye and sinus irritation to respiratory and skin problems, prolonged exposure to excessively dry air will affect your well-being.
But do you know what the ideal humidity level is for your home and how to determine if the air in your home is too dry?
What are the signs of low humidity?
Dry air in a house has many physical signs. Static electricity occurs at humidity levels below 30 % in a room. Your skin starts to feel dry and itchy, and your nose can become blocked/irritated and feel like you have a cold. Your eyes also start to itch and your throat becomes dry.
As well as relying on your senses, you can rely on a hygrometer if you have one. This inexpensive device measures the relative humidity in your home and gives you an idea of how dry your air is. When the humidity falls below 30 %, it becomes urgent to take action to increase the humidity level in the room by adding water vapour and turning down the heating if necessary. Low humidity can easily be corrected with a hygrometer The use of this small device in your living room and bedrooms is recommended if you want to counteract the effect of dry air on your respiratory functions.
How to combat dry air?
Installing a humidifier is the easiest and most effective way to increase the humidity level in your home. In general, these devices allow you to adjust the desired indoor humidity level if they are equipped with a humidistat. However, they require regular maintenance to avoid the proliferation of bacteria in the water they diffuse. To avoid this type of problem and the possible health problems associated with it, opt for adding a few drops of lemon or white vinegar to the water in your humidifier when you fill it.
Also note that there are different types of humidifiers: hot steam, ultrasonic or cool steam. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, but all are ideal for keeping the air in your home healthy and sufficiently humid. You can also opt for systems that work with your heating system, such as radiator saturators or choose a humidifier for larger-scale indoor air humidification.
Finally, if you want to improve the efficiency of your humidifier, you can also fill your house with indoor plants. Plants have the ability to help maintain the relative humidity of the air, especially if you place the pots in plastic trays with raised edges. You can add a layer of pebbles, place the plants on top and water them from above. Between each watering, check the humidity level in the tray and add more so that there is always water in the tray to evaporate into the air and help limit the dryness of the room.
What are the risks associated with low humidity?
Unless you live in a naturally arid, dry or hot area: it is advisable to avoid air with low humidity. Insufficient relative humidity has negative effects on our health:
- It irritates the lungs and eyes;
- It contributes to the dryness of the eyes and the skin;
- It is associated with risks of respiratory infections;
- It promotes the transmission of influenza;
As a reminder, the ideal humidity level of one is between 30 and 60 %. At these levels, your body experiences fewer health problems related to your skin and respiratory system. This humidity range is ideal because bacteria and viruses spread less quickly compared to higher humidity levels. In addition, your home and its contents are safer as the wood does not dry out and your electronic devices are not damaged by electrical shocks.
The 9 best humidifiers in 2023
Do you want to humidify the air in your home, but don't know which device to choose?Discover our selection
Low humidity irritates the lungs, eyes and skin
Low humidity irritates the lungs because when the air is dry, it contains only a small amount of oxygen. It is known that oxygen is necessary for life. Therefore, as soon as the body cannot get enough humid air, the human being is forced to breathe deeper and heavier, which irritates the lungs and can lead to complications.
In the eyes, we all know that the eye has a protective envelope of fluid. In an area of low humidity, this protective envelope gradually dries out, as the body tries to conserve water and compensate for the water it loses. This leads to rapid eye infection as the protective layer has become too thin to protect the eye. In addition, people tend to blink frequently in areas with little or no moisture. This frequent blinking leads to further water loss from the eye, which promotes irritation from things such as dust.
Finally, low humidity is not without consequences for the skin either. In contact with moisture, the skin becomes moisturised and remains soft. Conversely, when the air is dry, the skin dries out, becomes dull and may be more prone to itching and eczema.
Low humidity may be associated with risks of respiratory infections
There is scientific evidence that the risk of respiratory infection is increased in an area with low humidity. Low humidity naturally tends to dry out the airwaysincluding the nose. The nose contains a protective amount of mucus that prevents dust and harmful bacteria from entering the lungs, but when humidity is low, this mucus dries out and dust and other bacteria enter the airways, causing problems ranging from frequent sneezing to respiratory infections.
Low humidity can also lead to shallow breathing, due to the lack of water in the air. This respiration causes a feeling of friction and lack of oxygen to the person. This can lead to an asthma attack, which is why we advise you to get a baby humidifier (or for you): you will protect your health and that of your family from the many inconveniences caused by low humidity.
Low humidity promotes flu transmission
Low humidity makes it easier to transmission of influenza and influenza. Indeed, these diseases are mainly present when the humidity is low, which contributes to their spread and transmission.
A relative humidity level between 40 and 60 % is sufficient to combat airborne influenza infections. This level is indeed ideal, as it shortens the time during which airborne flu remains infectious.