Inside the “Humidity Fights Flu” campaign
A load of infections that can be caught by humans are airborne. This is why you may see someone in a public space wearing an n95-mask. They want to do as much as they can to avoid picking up germs from other infected individuals. But what can you do when you’re in an indoor space? Well, humidification specialist, Condair, is launching a “Humidity Fights Flu” campaign to promote awareness that an indoor humidity level of 40-60%RH is very beneficial in combating airborne influenza infections.
Tim Scott, head of sales at Condair plc, comments, “There is overwhelming scientific evidence that person-to-person airborne flu infections are reduced when indoor humidity is maintained at 40-60%RH. Yet there is still no legislative requirement for public places or healthcare facilities to manage their humidity levels appropriately and take advantage of this effective weapon in the fight against seasonal flu. If you’re out in public in the middle of flu season or during a virus outbreak then you may want to look for the best mask for you so that even if humidity levels aren’t appropriately managed everywhere then you’ll still have a means of limiting the spread of infection yourself.
“The building services sector should not just accept this as an inevitable blight on our society every winter and ought to be doing more to address the spread of seasonal influenza through humidity control. Without humidification most indoor environments will drop below 40%RH for a substantial duration during the winter. It is in this dry danger zone that infectious airborne flu germs survive for many hours. It has been proven that maintaining a room’s air at above 40%RH results in the airborne flu virus becoming deactivated five times faster, which results in a significant reduction in cross-infections, less absenteeism and improved occupant health.”
As part of its Humidity Fights Flu campaign, Condair has published the summaries of 24 scientific studies on its website, which show the effect humidity has on health. The research on www.condair.co.uk/fighting-flu shows three humidity-related processes that inhibit the spread of airborne respiratory infections. Firstly, that when an infected person breathes, sneezes or coughs-out infectious particles, fewer of them remain airborne if the air is above 40%RH. Secondly, at 40-60%RH those remaining infectious airborne germs are rapidly deactivated due to chemical reactions with the salts and proteins contained within their host airborne droplet. Lastly, the studies show that our respiratory system’s defence against airborne infection operates significantly better at between 40-60%RH.