February 26, 2018
Have you ever wondered why some winter days sting colder than others, and some summer days are almost suffocatingly hot? More often than not, the culprit is humidity.
Humidity is a measurement of the amount of water in the air we breathe--typically in the form of water vapor. Humidity plays an important role in your overall comfort, and too high or low humidity can cause health problems.
You may have heard the term “relative humidity” and “absolute humidity” during a weather forecast.
Absolute humidity is the total amount of water vapor that is present in a certain amount of air. If temperature changes, so will absolute humidity; for example--warmer temperatures have higher absolute humidity because air is able to hold more water vapor at higher temperatures.
Relative humidity is the most common way to talk about humidity, and is usually what you’ll hear humidity being expressed as in weather reports. Relative humidity is the ratio of the current absolute humidity to the highest possible absolute humidity, depending on the current temperature--which means relative humidity is reported as a percentage, and the higher the percentage, the more humid the air.
Humidity is always present in our air, and while we typically associate it with outdoor weather, it’s incredibly important to remember that humidity indoors can also affect our health.
Aside from playing a major role in our overall comfort, too high or too low humidity can also lead to health problems--so it’s important to maintain your air’s humidity to just the right amount.
Indoor humidity should be kept between 20% and 60%.
High humidity indoors can be very uncomfortable--causing the air to feel stale and warmer than it truly is. Humidity over 60% can also cause mold and mildew growth, affecting allergies and other health hazards.
If your indoor humidity is below 20%, you’ll start to experience eye, nose, skin, and throat irritation. If you wear contact lenses, they can become irritated as well.
The best way to have healthy humidity in your home is by understanding its exact levels with the help of an indoor air quality monitor, like Awair.
There are plenty of plants that act as natural humidifiers in your home, such as the areca palm. If you want constant control of your humidity levels, the useful Awair Glow can automate humidifiers and dehumidifiers in your home, depending on your air quality at any given time.
As the summer months roll on, some teachers and parents have back to school on their minds. Earlier this year, there were a mix of K-12 classroom dynamics as the vaccine was being distributed across states. Many schools reopened in some capacity, but others were in a completely remote or hybrid format. Now, as younger age groups are waiting for the “green light” for the vaccine, school officials are faced with classroom health and safety questions.
Why does it seem significantly more difficult to concentrate on work when it’s hot outside? It has much more to do with our bodies than we may realize. A series of studies have proven that we are unable to concentrate and fully engage with our work if the temperature around us is not within a specific range; if you want to reach a peak level of productivity, you should work in an environment that stays between 68℉ and 76℉.
While it can be easy to view extreme weather events as only impacting the outdoor space, this is far from the truth. When natural disasters hit, they affect our indoor air quality (IAQ) and can increase the risk of health conditions. In fact, in 2020, “36 counties in Washington, Oregon, and California experienced very unhealthy air quality ratings due to particulate matter from wildfire season,” according to NPR’s analysis of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data.