Humidifiers Could Help Kill Flu VirusesWritten by Duncan under Dehumidifiers, General, Humidifiers, Weather Station Reviews | 1 Comment
Cold and flu season has arrived and it’s been well established that running a humidifier in your home can help relieve congestion and soothe a sore throat. A humidifier can be particularly beneficial for children with colds and snuffles as their smaller nostrils get stuffed up more easily. Indeed, one of the first things most paediatricians suggest when a child comes down with a cold is running a humidifier to help ease congestion.
Now, recent studies and reviews of previous work suggest that maintaining an indoor Relative Humidity (RH) level between 40-60% can not only relieve cold and flu symptoms, it can actually help kill flu viruses on surfaces and in the air if used with other measures.
Research that studied the correlation between why the influenza season peaks in the winter months when air temperature and RH levels are so low concluded that the survival of influenza germs can be reduced significantly by using humidifiers to create RH levels of at least 40%. Using mechanically atomised influenza virus samples released as an aerosol to infect chicken eggs or egg membranes, studies consistently show that influenza survives far better at low RH levels. Although not as extensively studied as the effects of RH on aerosol survival, studies on the effects of RH on influenza survival on hard surfaces also showed a similar correlation. The data across several studies is remarkably consistent. Influenza germ survival is greatly reduced in environments with an RH of approximately 40 -60%.
Of course, this only reduces influenza germ survival rates and there is still no cure for the common cold. There are things you can do to alleviate any symptoms and using a humidifier is definitely one of them. Maintaining the right amount of moisture in your home can help to soothe sore throats and allow you to breathe better and sleep more comfortably. Even when the whole family is healthy, proper humidity levels in the home can relieve other winter symptoms caused by cold, dry winter air, such as a dry nose, a dry throat, and dry eyes.