Humidity plays a role in the development and treatment of allergies. Though your home’s humidity level can range from 0 to more than 100 percent, the range for indoor environments tends to fall between 20 and 70 percent. Lower humidity improves indoor air quality, but higher humidity is better for the throat and nasal passages. It’s important to find a balance that is not too damp or too dry.
Lower Humidity Means Less Allergen Production
Dust mites and mold can’t thrive in lower humidity levels. Dust mites are nearly invisible creatures that live off of dead skin cells. When the enzymes in their waste become airborne, it can cause our allergies to run rampant. Dust mites thrive in higher temperatures 75 to 80°F and humidity in the 70 to 80 percent range. While it’s nearly impossible to eliminate house dust mites and their droppings, you can control their numbers by lowering the humidity in your home below 50 percent.
Higher Humidity Relieves Allergy Congestion, Irritation And Inflammation
Air that is too dry, meanwhile, can also cause issues for allergy sufferers. Dry air irritates nasal passageways, which can lead to sinus infections. It also can pose a problem for people with asthma and sensitive skin.
Breathing air that is higher in humidity levels can relieve the symptoms of allergic rhinitis, like congestion, irritation and inflammation of the nasal passages. Moist nasal tissues can then do their job by expelling potential irritants and allergens, which will also reduce symptoms.
People with sensitive skin can also benefit from higher humidity levels. Eczema, atopic dermatitis and contact dermatitis are aggravated by dry air. Using a humidifier can help alleviate some of the symptoms of this type of allergy.
Higher humidity levels in the home can also help during cold and flu season. A warm-mist humidifier or vaporizer will help ease congestion and coughing. This is especially important for children who are too young for over-the-counter cold medicines.
Humidifiers Help Homeowners Achieve Balance
It can be difficult to find the ideal humidity level in a home, but achieving the proper level is one of the best ways to alleviate the many allergy issues we all face. Many modern humidifiers feature a hygrometer, which measures the humidity in the air. Setting the humidifier between 40 and 48 percent humidity is a good practice because it balances dust mite control with the moisture needed to keep sinus and skin allergies at bay.
If you need help figuring out how to best achieve the perfect humidity level for your home or business with your home’s current HVAC system, be sure to give our professionals a call. Schmitt Heating & Air Conditioning is dedicated to helping our customers live comfortably! Call and schedule an appointment today, at (415) 689-7849.