Are Humidity Levels Responsible for your Allergy Problems?
For people with seasonal allergies, humidity is not their friend. While many of us look forward to the warmer weather and the numerous blossoms, allergy surfers dread it while they are looking forward to it. Pollen is not the only thing spring brings that plays havoc with allergies; it also brings about a change in humidity levels. The difference in humidity is worse than pollen, as the changes not only affect the person with allergies but also affects the allergens themselves. Humidity brings about a double whammy on allergy suffers, but the better we understand the role of humidity and allergens, the better we can adapt to it.
The Role High Humidity Plays with Allergens
One issue with high humidity levels is the amount of moisture put into the air. Moisture-rich environments are a breeding ground for bacteria, as well as dust mites, mold, and mildew. As these known allergens breed, they are spread throughout your home by use of ventilation systems, as well as opening and closing of windows and doors. One single allergen under ideal conditions creates an entire colony of allergens; wreaking havoc for all allergy suffers.
Perhaps the biggest concern in high humidity environments is the dust mites. Dust mites themselves are not the problem for allergy suffers; it is more their feces. The problem with high humidity is it creates ideal breeding conditions for dust mites, and the more dust mites there is, the more waste they produce. Humidity levels below 50% work to control the dust mite population.
Is Low Humidity Better for Allergens
We know high humidity creates the perfect breeding ground for a lot of allergens, but what about low humidity levels. The lower the humidity levels inside your home, the drier the air. Dry air often causes allergy-like symptoms for people as they suffer from sinus issues and a scratchy throat. We need a humidifier for allergies in this situation. In low humidity environments, these symptoms are not often related to allergies, which is why typically allergy treatments won’t work to clear up the symptoms. Most doctors refer to these symptoms as non-allergic rhinitis and are treated through the use of decongestants or nasal irrigation.
Although low humidity levels don’t create most nasal allergies, that doesn’t mean they don’t affect allergies at all. Those of us who suffer from allergic dermatitis find the low humidity levels rather bothersome, as they lead to severely dry skin and a lot of itching. The dry air also causes nasal passages to dry out, which prevents them from effectively trapping allergens, viruses, and other things in the air.
Is it Possible to Regulate Humidity Levels
We all know there is nothing we can do to control the humidity outside, as we can’t control the weather. Luckily, we can control the humidity levels inside our home to help relieve all kinds of allergy symptoms. Controlling the humidity level puts a stop to ideal breeding grounds for allergens, but also helps with several other health-related issues. Ideally, the indoor humidity range is 25 to 40%, based on findings by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Tips on Controlling the Humidity Levels Inside a Home
Now that you know what the humidity levels inside should be and that you can control them, we need to discuss the various things you can do. You need to find a way to measure the humidity levels inside your home. One of way to do that is to invest in a smart thermostat that measures the temperature, as well as the humidity inside your home. Other options include investing in a digital or analog hygrometer, a weather station, or downloading an app on your phone.
How to Lower Humidity Levels
Now that you have a way to measure the humidity levels, you need to know how to control them. If the humidity levels inside are too high, one option is to run your air conditioning, as it will remove any excess moisture from the air. If it’s too cold to run your air conditioning considers investing in a dehumidifier, which you can also run while running your air conditioning. The dehumidifier pulls the excess moisture from the air and then either drains or pumps it out of your home.
How to Raise Humidity Levels
Low humidity is a different issue. Most homes find the lower humidity to be a problem during the colder months as the furnace is on and dries out the air. To combat this, you can use room-sized humidifiers to put moisture into the air of specific parts of your house. Your best option to raise the humidity levels is to install a whole-house humidifier as it will disperse moisture into the air in every room of your home. The whole-house humidifier comes with a hygrometer, which allows you to set the humidity level and measure it. Hence, the humidifier only runs when levels drop below a certain point.