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Relaxation

Dry indoor air can cause illnesses

Many people suffer from colds and infections in the winter. The reason might not merely be a weakened immune system, but a lack of humidity. US scientists have discovered that the flu virus finds better conditions in dry air, which increases the risk of infection.

Sneezing and sniffling is always on the increase during the winter, particularly in our temperate climate. People spend more time in enclosed rooms and the immune system is weakened due to a lack of sunlight. These are the most common causes of a cold, but they are not the most significant ones: the main cause is the cold winter air, in which the influenza virus can live much longer and spread much better. This has been discovered by US scientists and has been proven in an extensive study.

 

Cold air is dry. It may sound like a paradox but it can easily be explained: air that enters a room from the outside in winter contains only very little water vapor, because cold air can absorb much less water than warm air. However, we often have the impression that cold air is wet – after all, fog is a fairly common occurrence; but this is because cold air has already absorbed the maximum volume of moisture and releases the excess. Overall, only a very small amount of moisture is available in cold air, which ultimately also enters our rooms.

 

And then we feel chilled, even though the thermometer shows 22°C; because if the humidity is lower, we perceive the same temperature to be much cooler than with a high humidity level. The consequence: we turn up the heat. And what little moisture there was in the air now evaporates even faster and the air is even dryer once it’s warm. What happens now is called the “Sahara Effect“: skin feels tight, breath ways are dry, eyes are burning. We’re all familiar with it.

 

Regular aeration only increases the problem. After all, more cold and dry air enters the room. Measures inside your own four walls are the only remedy – whether it is indoor plants or air humidifiers. Warm air with sufficient humidity is much worse for germs; this has been confirmed by American scientists. If you ensure a sufficient humidity level in your rooms, then you will feel better and be healthier. And since we will still feel warmer even if the temperatures are colder, you will even save on heating costs.

 

Further links:

http://www.spiegel.de/wissenschaft/mensch/ausbreitung-im-winter-grippeviren-moegen-s-trocken-a-606618.html