Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Dry or Wet?

HUMIDITY. We all hear this word every now and then. We hear of it almost always being mentioned in weather forecasts. In industries, process engineers have to deal with it. I personally had to deal with this word for one or two semesters. Then there's the label that says: "Store in a cool, dry place." We don't realize it but it affects our health as well. No, this is not a lecture. It's just that, it was only until recently that we realized its significance since it has greatly affect my husband's health. :)

Maybe we are paranoid but ever since we moved here, Hubby's asthma has worsened. It heightens during the winter season, when the air is "too dry" = very low humidity. The specialist said that the asthma is an allergic reaction to house dust mites. I always try to keep the house dust-free and I replace the beddings at least every two weeks. But hubby still has attacks. It pains me to see him suffering.

One day, we saw this program on German tv about dangerous substances and molds inside the house and how it can greatly affect the health of those living in it. These are chemicals used in the treatment of wood which may be released into the air as time passes and may be inhaled, causing the dwellers to suddenly fall ill or be ill for long periods of time. Molds is not a new subject... we know that it dwells in warm and moist areas so that it is important to always ventilate the house, especially in areas that are wet, like the bathroom and the kitchen. The expert in that particular program always checks the humidity in the house that he investigates using a hygrometer. And that is where we got the idea. We thought it would be good to monitor the humidity in our home too.

So in-between looking for some Deer Solution online, as a gift for a friend who has a garden and wants to keep away stray animals from destroying her plants, I also did some readings about humidity, but on the health point of view. And here's what I found out:

During winter, the humidity is very low resulting to a very dry air. During summer, humidity is usually high, which equates to wet air. If the humidity in your home is too high, try to ventilate the rooms. Install exhaust fans or AC if necessary. If it is too low, you will need to add in moisture or water vapor. One can do this by installing a humidifier or for a quick remedy, boil water in a large covered pot and once the water has boiled, move it into the area that you want to humidify and open the lid to let the water vapors out.

Very low levels of below 25% causes increased discomfort and drying of the mucous membranes and skin, which can lead to chapping and irritation. Low RH also increases static electricity, which causes discomfort. This could also be the reason why my hair refuses to behave itself. :) High levels of humidity, on the other hand results to condensation indoors and on surfaces, which serves as breeding grounds of molds and fungi and leads to more health problems. A healthy indoor humidity? Between 40-60%.


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