According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, exposure to air with relative humidity of less than 20% can cause respiratory irritation. If your indoor environment is being heated without humidification, the air actually could be drier than the Sahara Desert, which averages 25% humidity.
When the mucous membranes in your nasal passages dry out, the cilia (tiny hairs) aren’t as effective at blocking unwanted intruders such as bacteria, mold, and other allergens. Dehydration of the mucous membranes in your throat and upper respiratory tract can cause an irritated throat and difficulty breathing. Maintaining your indoor environment at the optimal humidity level of 50% keeps those mucous membranes moist and reduces your susceptibility to infection.
It’s especially important to monitor indoor air humidity levels in newer office buildings. Energy-efficient construction techniques limit amounts of hourly air exchanges and increase the possibility that humidity levels could be less than ideal. Even when the overall humidity in the public areas of the building is satisfactory, it’s possible that humidity level in individual offices is not.
To check humidity in your workplace or home, purchase an inexpensive hygrometer (a humidity measuring device) at your local hardware store or online. Recommendation: Humidifiers.Selection4Less.com.
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