Humidity and viruses: what you need to know

A new understanding of influenza couldn’t come quickly. Nowadays, nearly five million people catch the illness each flu season. Around a quarter of a million people die from it. Humidity could help relieve the symptoms of a virus, as well as preventing it from spreading if we use evidence from flu research as an indication. Humidity affects the flu in two ways. Studies have shown that moisture in the air could slow the spread of influenza. But why does humidity kill viruses? Let’s review the information together!

What is local immunity

Herd immunity (also called community or local immunity) is a form of indirect protection from infectious disease that occurs when a large percentage of a population has become immune to an infection, whether through previous infections or vaccination, thereby providing a measure of protection for individuals who are not immune. Immunity protects us from getting sick in response to viruses, and bacteria, and foreign biological agents that may be on surfaces we come in contact with our external environment. It is a fairly well-defined autonomous system of the body. The neutralization of pathogenic microbes and viruses is far from the only and, perhaps, not the main function of local immunity. It is extremely important to keep your nose and throat moisturized. Plus, the moisturized air will help you to avoid pet dander in the air. It will help reduce allergy and asthma symptoms, which are triggers for viruses. Dry air can make symptoms worse. That’s where a humidifier can help. A dry throat and nose may increase the spread of viruses which can cause a serious health problem. A moisturized room with the right humidity level will help to kill bacteria and viruses effectively and protect you from illnesses.

When we begin to notice we are getting sick, many of us read numerous forums and sites on the Internet to find a way to protect ourselves from ailments. At the same time, we come across a lot of conflicting advice and do not know who to believe. We have researched for you and put together helpful ways to strengthen local immunity to help you stay healthy.

The right humidity level

The air should be cool and humid. Ideal indoor humidity is about 50-60 percent. Humidity levels of 80 percent mean the air is too damp and can be harmful. Keep an eye on a humidity level at home to protect yourself from viruses and illnesses.

No sugar

Sweets are empty calories that are not nutritious or healthy. Sugar causes inflammation and reduces the body’s ability to resist infections. Therefore, to protect yourself from viruses, reduce sugar in your meals. That includes not only candies but also sweet beverages such as soda, chocolate, coffee with toppings, etc.

Cold beverages

Yes, yes and yes! And ice cream too. Hardening can be not only general but also local: if you train the neck, then with cold drinks, there will be less inflammation.

Walking outside

There are many benefits to walking outside in the fresh air. Getting exercise and breathing in plenty of oxygen is essential. Even in clinics, ozone therapy is recommended for increasing and strengthening immune systems. Limit time lying on the couch watching tv. Find a balance between being active and relaxing.


Do not forget to be active! Physical activity is not only good for building strong muscles. Movement affects everything: peristalsis, blood circulation, and immunity. A moving person is a healthy person. It doesn’t matter what you choose, a fitness class, jogging or just walking. Any activity is beneficial!

Take vitamin D

Our bodies may be low in Vitamin D, which helps power the body’s immune system, making us more vulnerable to infection. Therefore, consult with your doctor and start to take vitamins that are helpful for your immune system and body.

Do humidifiers kill the virus

Did you know that the influenza virus can survive in low-humidity conditions? Dry air allows bacteria to spread from person to person and make their way to you. Research also suggests that using a humidifier is a good idea in places where the spread of influenza poses a serious threat. For example, intensive care units or a house with a sick child.  Humidifiers kill the flu virus, prevent the flu, alleviate asthma, allergies and dry coughs, reduce snoring, heal dry skin and rejuvenate houseplants. Several studies over the last few years have found that raising indoor humidity to above 43% (50% is ideal) stops the flu virus dead in its tracks. A 2016 study found that teachers in low-humidity classrooms had an increased risk of allergy and asthma symptoms. Plus, using a portable humidifier in the bedroom decreases the influenza virus’s survival from 17.5% to 31.6% percent. Further, increasing moisture throughout the house was projected to increase the humidity of the residence by 3% to 12%, resulting in a reduction of the virus survival rate by 7.8—13.9 percent.

Plus, when you are sick, the humidifier will help to ease cough, asthma or any other respiratory problems. Even your houseplants, wood floors and wooden furniture will benefit when your indoor air is moist. Humidity helps houseplants stay vibrant and wood lasts longer.

How does humidity affect the human body

Humidifiers can help soothe all the problems caused by dry indoor air. Besides, cool-mist humidifiers may help ease symptoms of a cold or other respiratory condition. Humidity acts as a natural moisturizing agent that can relieve dryness. For this reason, humidifiers are often used for relieving:

  • dry skin
  • sinus congestion/headache
  • dry throat
  • nose irritation
  • bloody noses
  • irritated vocal cords
  • dry cough
  • cracked lips

Cooler air helps to dry out mucus in the nose. This will reduce coughs and throat dryness. Moisture also loosens mucus and makes it easy to clear from your throat.

Note: Burns are the most common injuries associated with humidifiers. Take special care if you have children. Never let children handle humidifiers, and don’t place a warm-mist humidifier in a child’s bedroom.

Ideal humidity levels

The amount of humidity varies depending on the season, weather and where you live. Generally, humidity levels are higher in the summer and lower during winter months. Ideally, humidity in your home should be between 40% and 50%. Humidity that’s too low or too high can cause problems.

  • Low humidity can cause dry skin, irritate your nasal passages and throat, and make your eyes itchy. It will cause the spread of viruses that are harmful to your health.
  • High humidity can make your home feel stuffy and can cause condensation on walls, floors and other surfaces that trigger the growth of harmful bacteria, dust mites, and molds. These allergens can cause respiratory problems and trigger allergy and asthma flare-ups.

How to measure humidity

The best way to test humidity levels in your house is with a hydrometer. This device, which looks like a thermometer, measures the amount of moisture in the air. You can easily purchase this device at hardware stores and department stores, or even online. Of course, you can measure it by yourself. How? Easily. If your skin, hair and respiratory system are dry, the humidity level at home is too low. But, if you notice signs of mold growth, that is an indication that the air in your home is too humid.

What do you need to do, when the air is too damp

Just as the air that’s too dry can be a problem, so can air that’s too moist. The dry air can cause several problems with your skin, and hair, and increase asthma attacks and allergies. Your sleep quality and mood may be negatively impacted. On the other hand, when the air is too humid, you will notice a spread of mold, growth of harmful bacteria, and dust mites. It may also increase coughing and some respiratory problems.

When humidity gets too high — common during summer months — it’s a good idea to take steps to reduce indoor moisture. There are two ways to reduce humidity:

  • Use an air conditioner. Central or window-mounted air conditioning units dry the air, keeping indoor humidity at a comfortable and healthy level.
  • Use a dehumidifier. These devices collect excess moisture from the air, lowering humidity levels. Dehumidifiers work like air conditioners, without the “cooling” effect. They’re often used to help dry out damp basements.

Dirty humidifiers and health problems

You need to know that it is important to clean your humidifier regularly. If your humidifier is cranked up so high that it’s surrounded by an area of wetness, that’s bad. Moisture feeds a lot of things we don’t want in our homes, like mold and spores. Unclean humidifiers can cause bacterial growth that can promote coughs and colds. These mold conditions can cause secondary infections. These secondary infections can cause serious illnesses. Warm mist vaporizers can get dirty quickly, but they’re also among the easiest to clean. Dirty humidifiers can breed bacteria and mold. In fact, without proper care, your air diffuser can do you more harm than good. You could be putting yourself at risk of:

  • asthma attacks;
  • pneumonia;
  • Legionnaire’s disease.

To get more information about the ideal cleaning routine for your humidifier you can read our article (link).

Are humidifiers helpful to kill viruses

A lot of laboratory researchers have found that while moderate humidity may not directly affect the flu virus itself, it does make virus particles heavier and cause them to disperse faster after a sick person has exhaled, coughed, or sneezed them into a room. Therefore, a good humidifier will help to protect your health and boost your immune system.


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