Have you heard the news that raising the humidity in your house will deactivate the coronavirus particles? Apparently, when humidity is low, the coronavirus thrives and stays alive longer. It is believed that most viruses can actually spread more if the humidity level is 60%.
Now we are not sure if this is true or not. But what we do know, and we are certain about it, is that excessive humidity is bad for your health.
Let’s try to understand this a bit further.
The term “relative humidity” is the percentage of water vapor that is in the air at a certain temperature. If the relative humidity is 100%, that means the air holds all the water vapor it possibly can. If it’s 50%, then it holds only half of its real capacity.
The amount of water that the air can hold depending on the current temperature. For instance, cold air can hold less water vapor. Warm air, on the other hand, can hold more.
What “too much humidity” means
But what does it mean to have “too much humidity” in the air? We can’t really control the humidity levels outside. And the indoor levels will depend on what happens outside. So if it’s warm outside, you can expect the levels inside your home to increase.
Now, what is the level that is considered to be bad for our health?
For indoor levels, the ideal relative humidity is between 35% to 60%. If you stay in a place where the level is more than 60%, health problems will manifest soon enough. The higher the levels, the more dangerous it can be for your health.
How will you know that the level is going up?
Among the signs include condensation on the windows. If you see wet stains on your ceilings and walls, that also means you should check the level of humidity at home. Among the other signs include a musty odor, moldy bathrooms, and even that feeling of stickiness in the air. If you feel all of these, you need to do something about the humidity.
But that is not all. This can also cause structural damages to your home. You will notice areas that are rotting. And with all the condensation, it can attract bugs and pests too.
Ill-effects of excessive humidity
Apart from the damages and the uncomfortable feeling, high humidity levels can keep your body from functioning properly. To be specific, it will keep us from cooling our bodies when we feel too hot.
You see, when it gets too hot, our body can naturally cool itself. Even without our prompting. For instance, we sweat. It cools our skin when it evaporates and it decreases our internal temperature. Our blood vessels also widen. This helps direct more blood towards the skin – to help cool our inner body.
If the humidity level in the air is high, it means it’s already carrying a lot of water vapor. When you sweat, that moisture will not evaporate as it should. Why? Because the air around you can no longer accommodate it. And if the sweat does not evaporate, it fails in cooling our body. It will only cause you to feel hotter and a lot stickier.
Direct effects of humid air can be fatal
If you don’t do something about the humid air, your body will look for other ways to cool itself. You can start breathing rapidly. You feel hot so you want to take in more air. Your heart will also be prompted to pump more blood, specifically towards your limbs in an effort to cool off. That will leave less blood going to your brain and internal organs. It will make you feel lethargic and light-headed. And remember the blood in your limbs? These will cause you to feel muscle cramps.
All of these will happen just because your sweat is not evaporating as it should.
Since your body is not cooling down, you will just keep on sweating. And that will make your body lose more fluids, electrolytes, and salt.
If you make this go for long, it can really cause heat stroke – and that can prove to be fatal.
Indirect effects of humid air
The direct effects are scary enough – but there are also indirect effects that can still compromise your health.
Do you remember all the things that happen when the humidity is high? Like the structural damage, molds, pests – these bring their own health problems.
For instance, the moisture will cause bacteria and viruses to thrive. That can trigger respiratory ailments and infections. Not to mention the fact that it can make contaminants stay airborne before they settle on surfaces. That means when you move around, you can catch these germs in the air.
The humid air will also bring dust mites and a lot of fungi. These will trigger indoor allergies. If you add mold into the mix, asthmatic individuals will also have problems.
As you can see, even if you are not triggered by the direct effects of humidity, there are many ways that it can compromise your health.
What causes excessive humidity
Now that you know what will happen if there is too much humidity, it’s time to understand what causes it.
There are 3 common reasons why this happens.
One is poor ventilation. You need to make sure that fresh air can get indoors. This will keep chemical and organic pathogens from causing any form of illness or discomfort. You can get in touch with a professional to change your ductwork or change the HVAC design in your home.
Another reason for high humidity is the oversized AC. If it’s too powerful for the small space in your home, it has a tendency to turn on or off more frequently. This will keep it from running long enough to successfully remove the humidity. That means you have to downgrade your HVAC system.
Finally, if your HVAC system is not maintained properly, it will not function well. Its inefficiency can compromise its ability to remove the humidity as well.
How to deal with high humidity
So what can you do to regulate the humidity indoors? Here are some tips that will prove to be useful in dealing with this problem.
- You can start by getting a dehumidifier. You can have it installed directly into your HVAC unit or you can buy an individual unit to place in areas around your home with the highest humidity level.
- If you have a humidifier, stop using it – at least, don’t use it while the warmer months are here.
- You should also improve the ventilation in the rooms of your home. For bathrooms that usually create a lot of moisture, make sure these have vent areas. An exhaust fan will help with the ventilation.
- When cooking, it will increase the humidity in the room. To limit this, cook with the pans covered.
- Having plants is good for your home but don’t put too much. These can also increase humidity levels indoors.
- You can also opt to add a carpet. These are known to absorb moisture in the air.
- Don’t hand clothes to dry without installing a proper ventilation system.
Most of these tips are not really hard to implement so you might as well implement these as soon as possible. This will help you regulate the relative humidity indoors to avoid risking it to be dangerous to your health. And if the humidity level in your home is higher than normal, and you need help with this, contact us today and schedule an appointment.