The Surprising Connection Between Winter Colds and Dry Air
- December 6, 2017
- Posted by: envision
- Category: Home Comfort
We’ve all felt it; the tickling in your throat that means winter is coming. More than anything else, the beginning of ‘cold season’ is the sign that winter is officially here.
But what if there was a way to live through winter without an unnatural number of colds? What if, instead of downing orange juice and carrying around a bottle of disinfectant spray, all you had to do was install a humidifier?
It’s true – dry air could be to blame for all your years of seasonal suffering.
Your Air Could Be Drier Than the Sahara and Mojave Deserts
There’s a reason ‘dry as desert air’ is an expression – it’s because deserts are parched, making the air dry and irritating. Anything that you call ‘dry as desert air’ has to be uncomfortable and irritating, too.
We decided to find out what the humidity levels were for some famous deserts. The average humidity level in the Sahara is around 25%. The air in the Mojave desert has a humidity level of approximately 30%.
By comparison? A home suffering from dry air can have humidity levels as low as 15%.
In the winter, you’re actually living in conditions drier than a desert. And if you wanted dry desert air, you wouldn’t live in Canada!
Air That Dry Can Make You Sick
If you’re home’s humidity level is really that low, that dry air could be actively making you sick.
Cold viruses are invisible to the eye, and they are everywhere; on doorknobs, our hands, and anything else we might come in contact with on an average day.
Normally, our immune system keeps those viruses out, using the natural moisture barriers our body produces. Yes, we mean snot. The mucus in our nose, sinuses and throat act as a guard, turning the viruses away so we stay healthy.
The problem in the winter is that dry air sucks up moisture from wherever it can. That includes us.
When the dry air in your home sucks up the moisture you produce, your guard is down; that’s when the cold viruses swoop in. Then we have to spend 3 miserable days in bed, full of medication and that natural tea remedy you found on the Internet.
Do You Experience the Following Cold Symptoms in the Winter?
A cold or two is natural in winter, just like it is in summer. But if you find that winter is one long cold, dry air may be to blame.
Here are some of the signs that dry air is the problem:
- Dry eyes – yes, even your eyes aren’t safe from the vampire that is dry air.
- Sore, scratchy throat
- Stuffed up sinuses
- Nose bleeds
- Increased allergies
Please note: If you have a non-stop cold, you should always get a professional opinion from your doctor first.
The Ideal Indoor Humidity Level is 35-50%
Once you’ve checked with your doctor, you should check your humidity level. This is easily done with a hygrometer, which are reasonably priced and available at your local hardware store.
You’re looking for the sweet spot of 35-50% humidity. This keeps the air comfortable, easy to breathe, but not so humid that you get condensation on your windows.
If your humidity level is less than 35%, you should invest in a whole-home air humidifier.
A Humidifier Could Cure More Than Your Cough
A humidifier will do more than cure your cough, sore throat, and dry eyes.
1. It Will Provide Relief to Your Dry Skin
Remember, dry air is like a leech that sucks up any moisture it can – and the water in your skin is fair game. That’s why we get so scaly and itchy when it’s cold out. You may have tried every moisturizer in the book, but that’s a band-aid; what you need is the cure.
A humidifier will alleviate your dry scalp and skin, leaving you itch-free and infinitely happier.
2. It Will Save Your Hardwood Floors and Furniture
The problem with a leech-like dry air is that it’s not picky about where it gets its moisture. This puts your wooden furniture, your home’s wooden structure, and your hardwood floors at risk.
Most hardwood floor manufacturers include warnings about what low humidity can do to your floors. They’ll warp, crack, and shrink, leaving ugly gaps and ruining your investment.
A humidifier will protect that investment, and then some.
3. It Will Save You Money
Moist air naturally feels warmer – you’ve probably noticed that in summer. With dry air in your home, you’ll feel cooler.
When the air doesn’t feel warm, we turn up our furnaces, which unfortunately contribute to dry air. The drier the air gets, the more you run the furnace, and before you know it you’re at Sahara desert levels of discomfort.
A humidifier will work with your furnace to make your air feel warmer. As a result, you’ll be able to use your furnace less, and you’ll save money on your energy bills!
4. It Will Eliminate Excess Static Electricity
Do you find your hair stands on end, or you’re constantly getting sharp shocks in the winter? There’s actually a reason for that. Dry air will conduct more static electricity than moist air, leaving you prone to clinging fabrics and unpleasant shocks.
A humidifier will return balance to your air, and you won’t be tiptoeing towards the door wondering if you’re going to get zapped.
For more information on whole-home humidifiers, check out this article.
ATEL to the Rescue
We’re here to improve your home air quality and make that dry air disappear. Our humidifiers are top of the line, and our service is unparalleled. Fill out a free quote, and we’ll get started making your winter a happy one.