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High Humidity

A R T I C L E

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The Risks of Too Much Home Humidity

By Dr. Kristie

Is the humidity level in your home too high or too low? Many people live in houses where the humidity isn’t ideal for health. If the humidity level in a home is too low, it can dry out the throat and nasal membranes, which increases the risk of catching a nasty cold virus. On the other hand, too much humidity can be a problem too. If you have a humidifier that runs all the time, the humidity level can rise too high. This can lead to other health problems – particularly if you’re prone to allergies.

Too Much Humidity in a Home: How Does It Affect Your Health?

When home humidity levels climb too high and the temperature is too warm, it creates an ideal breeding ground for dust mites. These tiny little creatures cause annoying symptoms in people who are allergic to them including watery eyes, sneezing, a runny nose, itching, and worsening of asthma symptoms.

Once dust mites gain a foothold, they hang out on bedcovers, mattress, curtains, and carpeting, and they can be tough to eradicate unless you correct the problem of too much humidity - and lower the temperature. Even then, it can take weeks or months to wipe out these pesky, little creatures.


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Other Problems Associated with Too Much Humidity in a Home

Dust mites aren’t the only bad guys associated with high humidity in a home. Mold also grows and thrives in humid conditions. Some people are highly allergic to mold, and its presence can trigger allergy symptoms and make asthma symptoms worse. Mold can grow almost anywhere in a home when the humidity level rises above 50% - especially in parts of the house where ventilation is poor.

What about bugs and other eight-legged creatures? They too thrive in an environment with lots of moisture. If you’re seeing too many creepy, crawly things running around your house, it’s time to check the humidity level.

What is a Good Humidity Level in a Home?

To avoid too much humidity and too much dryness, keep your home humidity levels between 35% and 50%. If the humidity level is too high, invest in a dehumidifier to reduce the moisture level. On the other hand, don’t go below 35% or you could put yourself at risk for colds and flu - particularly in the winter. You can buy an inexpensive device at your local drugstore to measure the humidity level in your home.

The Bottom Line?

The humidity levels in a home have a direct impact on health. Make an effort to keep yours in a healthy range.

References:

Merck Manual. Eighteenth Edition. 2006. 


About the Author

She is a Medical Doctor with a concentration in Family Practice. She also has an undergraduate degree in both Biology and Psychology and masters in Clinical Pathology.


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