Humidify for Health?
It’s been a long and lonely road for many seniors since the onset of COVID-19 last year, and there have been many developments and theories about the best ways to combat the virus and protect one’s self from contracting it. Luckily now in Arizona the vaccine is available to all seniors 65 and older, and the process for administering the shots seems to be smoothing out. One of the theories that has been questioned is whether a humidifier can help prevent seniors from contracting COVID-19.
Fellowship Square explores the current research as it related to if and how these machines can be of benefit.
Humidifiers have been touted as one of the ways to provide relief for at-home patients that are managing their symptoms at home. But some new articles have suggested that using a humidifier could actually aid in preventing COVID-19 as well. But is it true?
Dr. Stephanie Taylor, infection control consultant at Harvard Medical School, ASHRAE distinguished lecturer and member of the ASHRAE epidemic task group, recently called upon the World Health Organization to “review the scientific evidence on humidity and health, and recommend a minimum lower limit of indoor humidity in public buildings to reduce respiratory infections. The website www.40to60rh.com, on which her call to the WHO and petition as well, states: “There is now overwhelming scientific evidence that a mid-range air humidity has significant benefits for human health. It is very possible for us to be managing the indoor air quality of our public buildings in line with this evidence. The time has come for regulations on indoor air quality to include a humidity level of 40-60%RH. This is the optimal level for our respiratory immune system, and will reduce the spread of seasonal respiratory illnesses and their burden on society.”
It is believed that dry indoor air “can impact the chances of catching a virus in 3 ways: impairing the respiratory immune system’s defenses, increasing the virus’ ‘float’ time, and elongating the virus' survival time,” according to www.health.com.
Information about indoor air quality is further broken down on www.40to60rh.com. The “ideal indoor air” between 40 to 60 percent RH allows respiratory immune systems’ defenses to function effectively, capturing, removing or fighting germs and causes airborne droplets containing viruses to retain moisture, thus becoming heavier and falling out of the air. At this range, “airborne droplets containing viruses retain moisture, allowing physiochemical reactions to deactivate the virus.”
Most people’s HVAC systems have built-in humidifiers and individual humidifiers are found at drug stores and a multitude of online sources. And aside from the possible belief that it could help prevent COVID-19, a humidifier is also known for other benefits including anti-aging perks for the skin (say goodbye to wintery ashy skin!), better sleep and congestion relief, according to Health.
Fellowship Square advises all seniors to follow the recommendations put forth by the CDC, federal and state organizations when it comes to how to protect themselves against COVID-19. With specific questions as to how a humidifier could benefit seniors, individuals should speak with their primary care physicians as each person’s health circumstances and needs may necessitate a different approach.