We breath almost 20,000 times in and out on a typical day. Healthy air makes our breathing calmer and easier – and lessens the risk of inhaling damaging chemicals, pollen, viruses and bacteria.
Most people spend almost 90% of their lives indoors, in closed rooms. There the air is often of poor quality: humidity levels are too low (especially in winter), the temperature is not optimal or the air is contaminated with dust, musty smells or pollen.
The ideal humidity level of a room is important for our health. The relative humidity should be between 40% and 60%.
The air in a room is composed of a mix of gases and always contains a certain amount of water in gas form – water vapor also known as steam. This percentage of water in the air relative to the other gases is the humidity level of the room.
How important an optimal humidity level indoors is for our health and feelings of well-being can be seen easily seen in regards to the following points:
- Reduction in airborne dust particles – especially relevant for those with allergies
- Increase in ability to concentrate
- Protects the skin and eyes from drying out – prevents cracked skin and acne
The airborne water essentially collides with other particles in the air – for example bacteria and viruses, and then “falls” down to the floor, where it won’t be inhaled. This is thought to be one reason why the common cold – caused by a virus – increases in prevalence in the winter. In the winter people are more likely to use indoor heating systems, which dry out the air as a side effect of how they warm the house. This dried out air allows viruses and bacteria to move more freely, and therefore become more likely to be inhaled and cause sickness.