How Does Dry/Humid Air Affect Your Health?
Posted on 28th February 2019 by FM Mechanical Ltd
We all know sticky-hot, humid air and sauna-like, dry air to be unpleasant and uncomfortable, but can they be dangerous? Research suggests that extremes of either humid or dry air can have serious consequences on our health. This article is going to explore this claim, looking at the various effects health effects of the two.
How Does Humid Air Affect Your Health?
‘Humid’ air refers to air containing an abundance of water vapour. If it’s humid inside your home, this will likely be the combined result of a damp environment and poor dehumidifying.
Humidity can cause the following ill health effects:
- Respiratory problems – A humid environment is the perfect place for mould to grow. Breathing in mould spores can cause various adverse health effects, including airway inflammation, nasal congestion, wheezing, tightness in the chest, coughing and other respiratory problems. People who suffer from asthma may find that a humid environment greatly exacerbates their symptoms, with many reportedly finding it much more difficult to breathe.
- Skin rashes – Mould can also have a profound impact on your skin, causing skin rashes and redness.
- Gastrointestinal issues – As noted previously, inhaling mould spores caused by a humid environment can have a significant impact on your respiratory system, but the spores can also reach your digestive system and cause, or exacerbate, a range of gastrointestinal issues, including diarrhoea, abdominal pain and irritable bowel syndrome.
How Does Dry Air Affect Your Health?
On the other end of the scale, a lack of moisture in the air can lead to a very dry environment. This can also cause many detrimental health problems, including:
- Eye problems – A dry environment can increase the evaporation of tears, leading to disruption to healthy eye lubrication. This will result in dry, itchy eyes.
- Irritated sinuses – Dry nasal passages can also lead to problems, including inflammation of the blood vessels in the nose and subsequent congestion.
- Increased risk of infection and illness – In addition to eyes and the sinuses, another part of the body that can dry out is the mucous membrane. This is the tissue that lines many body cavities and tubular organs, including the gut and respiratory passages. When the mucous membrane is dried out, the body becomes vulnerable to certain viruses, such as the flu.
- Static electricity – Static electricity fails to dissipate in a dry environment. You may find that touching furniture, such as rugs, doorknobs or curtains may generate short electric jolts that can be startling and painful.
How Do I Prevent These Problems?
Problems are most likely to occur at either end of the scale: when the home is either too humid or not humid enough. For maximum safety, you want the environment throughout your home to sit somewhere in the middle. Research has found that the above adverse health effects can be avoided or minimised by maintaining humidity levels between 40 and 60 percent.
Many air conditioners have powerful dehumidifying capabilities that can help keep your home at optimum humidity. We install, service and repair these air conditioners, along with a range of ventilation products, for both domestic and commercial clients. If you wish to enquire further, get in touch with us today.