N ot so long ago, influenza was a serious threat, and it wasn’t very uncommon, even at the beginning of the 20th century, that a man should die after getting in touch with the virus. Luckily, today, although we haven’t learned yet how to cure it, we managed in some way to contain it and alleviate its symptoms so they don’t aggravate to a degree in which to pose a danger to people’s life.
Nevertheless, we must admit that it is still preferable to avoid it, as the state it induces isn’t one of the most pleasant. No one likes the fever and the chills that come with it.
One way to deal with the flu to take medication that can work against the symptoms and lower their intensity. But there are many natural remedies as well, and one of the most efficient, the most recent studies say, is to increase the humidity in the house. How does this work? We are about to explain in the following paragraphs, so stay with us and find out how a humidifier could help you fight influenza.
How does humidity influence viruses and bacteria?
Just like the more recent Covid19, influenza is caused by a virus, which travels through little droplets of saliva released by people who are already infected. The droplets can stay into the air for a considerable amount of time and be inhaled by other people or can infest surfaces and be transmitted through contact with the mouth or the nose.
In most cases, viruses and bacteria prefer dry environments and low temperatures, as they can travel easier when the air doesn’t bear a high quantity of moisture. When humidity is increased, viruses and bacteria collect some of the dampness and become heavier. This state forces them to fall to the ground, and, this way, the risk of inhaling them is reduced.
How to use a humidifier to prevent influenza?
By maintaining the humidity between 40% and 60%, you will create a less favorable environment for the virus to spread. However, before filling a humidifier with water and plugging it in, it is recommended to check the values of the RH indoors. You can use a hygrometer, or if you have bought one of those smart humidifiers, let it use its built-in sensor to detect how humid the air is. If the value is higher than 60%, then you are confronting with another problem, namely too high humidity, which in time will lead to the emergence of mold, so you should try to solve this problem either by running a dehumidifier or ensuring better ventilation.
Once you have determined if your home needs humidification, you can power the unit and wait until the air becomes easier to breathe. Not only that the dampness will act upon the microorganism, yielding them to the ground, but it will help you improve your breathing and even solve some problems caused by dry air like chapped lips or itchy skin. The tiny hairs in your nose will be influenced as well. As they will stop being dry, they will become more effective in filtering the air of viruses and other contaminants.
How to use it to alleviate the symptoms?
Once the flu is installed, the best you can do is to rest a lot, drink hot tea, and wait for it to pass. But your general state can be considerably improved if you bring more moisture into the air. You will be able to breathe easier and fight nasal congestion, which just makes everything harder to bear. Plus, the home will suddenly seem a more comfortable place, and you will be able to take some soothing naps that will help you get on your feet faster.
Some models offer a medicine cup or an aroma tray, where you can pour medicine that can help you with coughs and congestion. At the same time, you can use essential oils to alleviate the effects. Eucalyptus and mint are very popular during the cold season due to their ability to clear the airways and facilitate breathing.
What type of humidifier should you choose?
There’s plenty to choose from, depending on the size of the space you are trying to cover, and the type of mist you prefer. Thus, you can go with one of the following types:
- Warm mist models – Use a heating element to produce steam, which is then released into the room. As the water is first boiled, the bacteria and viruses in it are destroyed and the risk of contamination is lower. However, they may not be indicated for baby rooms, as they operate with hot water and can be dangerous
- Cool mist models – They use a fan and a wick filter to evaporate the water without the need to boil it. This way, they are the safest for babies and children, as they don’t pose any risk. On the other hand, the water isn’t filtered in any way, so you need to maintain perfect cleanness of the system to prevent the spread of microorganisms
- Whole-house models – Whether they come with steam or with evaporative technology, they produce enough moisture to cover large spaces, so you can invest in one and protect your entire family from the effects of seasonal flu
One more thing we should mention is that viruses seem to prefer the extremes, so over-humidification can actually create a good environment for them to multiply and spread. So, try to keep an eye on the moisture in your home. Don’t let it go too low but don’t let it go too high either. And don’t hesitate to call the doctor if the symptoms aggravate. After all, a humidifier can make you more comfortable as you suffer through the flu, but may not be enough in extreme situations.