DOES AN AIR HUMIDIFIER PROTECT ME FROM THE CORONAVIRUS?
The question is not so easy to answer. A lot of new studies are being published these days and they don’t always contain consistent results. To fully understand the coronavirus, scientists around the world will have to carry on with their research in the years to come. At this point, we would like to explain two important reasons for using a humidifier.
LESS VIRUSES ON SURFACES AT A RELATIVE HUMIDITY LEVEL OF 50%
Scientists of the university of Carolina (USA) did some profound research on the SARS-Virus (SARS-CoV) and its behaviour on surfaces. The researchers discovered that the concentration of viruses on surfaces at 20°C and 50% relative humidity level decreases below 1% after two days’ time. In higher or lower humidity environments (e.g. 20% or 80%) the concentration of viruses is dramatically higher. We can learn from this study, that it is beneficial to set the indoor humidity level to a value between 40 and 60% relative humidity. This reduces the amount of viruses significantly.*
IMPORTANT: The research was carried out based on the SARS-CoV virus – not the current SARS-CoV-2 virus. However, according to the scientists, the viruses seem to be very similar in their behaviour. Therefore, it is very likely that the study results are also applicable to the current virus.
*Source (Effects of Air Temperature and Relative Humidity on Coronavirus Survival on Surfaces, : https://aem.asm.org/content/76/9/2712)
BEHAVIOUR OF THE VIRUS IN THE AIR AT AN OPTIMAL HUMIDITY LEVEL
Usually, viruses do not just float in the air but are attached to finest water droplets (particles). Those can remain airborne for a certain time. During this time, the risk of infection is very high. The behaviour of these particles is different in dry and humid conditions. In dry air, the particles are lighter and therefore remain in the air for a longer time. The humid and heavier particles fall down to the ground or to surfaces where they are less harmful. In optimally humidified air the exposure to viruses can therefore be reduced.
SHOULD I BUY A HUMIDIFIER TO PROTECT MYSELF FROM THE CORONAVIRUS?
According to the two aspects mentioned above, the use of a humidifier can be beneficial to reduce exposure to coronavirus. However, even more important are the protection measures we do have in our own body (e.g. mucous membranes). Our immune system works best with optimally humidified air. This means that a level of 40 to 60% relative humidity helps our body to be strong and healthy and optimally protect itself against external influences.