Humidity Can Help Keep Flu From Flourishing

We’ve all heard the news reports this winter: flu season is upon us with a vengeance! Most of us know of someone who has been affected; perhaps even yourself or your loved one in elder care New Jersey. We’ve also heard the usual advice to ward off the flu: get a flu shot, cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough, and wash your hands quite frequently.

But that’s not all you can do to keep the flu away. Research has shown that in homes which have room air humidity levels between 40 to 60 percent, viruses are less likely to linger longer than the normal up-to-24-hour period. “The research suggests that a proper level of relative humidity in your home can really make a difference in the survival of the flu virus,” states Jim McDevitt, instructor at the Harvard School of Public Health. He continued to state that by maintaining these humidity levels, flu particles on surfaces and in the air are expected to decrease.

Flu season comes during the driest time of the year in New Jersey and in most of the country. Winter humidity levels can drop to 20 percent in the home and office, leading to dry, itchy skin, chapped lips, parched throats, among other discomforts. The flu virus is all over—at the office, at the grocery store, at the doctor’s office, at school—so it’s important to do everything you can to shorten the flu’s life span.

How do you determine the humidity level in your home? A hygrometer is an inexpensive tool to measure humidity, and can be purchased at stores such as Target, Walmart, or your local drug store. Should your home have low humidity levels, portable humidifiers are inexpensive and come in a wide variety of sizes. Humidifiers also can be installed onto your furnace system. Together, the humidifier and hygrometer can help you keep your home’s humidity level between 40 to 60 percent—giving the flu virus less chance of surviving.