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How Does a Humidifier Affect COVID-19?

COVID-19 has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) as of March 2020. With over 114M cases worldwide and counting, coronavirus disease 2019 has impacted a notable share of the world population. 

What is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus disease 2019, also known as COVID-19, is the disease caused by the virus severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2). Coronaviruses are a group or family of viruses that can cause the common cold, SARS, or MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). 

COVID-19 symptoms range from mild to moderate with older populations or adults with pre-consisting conditions suffering more severe symptoms resulting in death.

How Can a Humidifier Affect Coronavirus?

How does humidity affect COVID-19?

According to a 2020 paper published in the Annual Review of Virology by Yale professor Akiko Iwasaki, temperature and relative humidity (RH) play an important role in modulating immune response to viral infection. In this study, Iwasaki and the co-authors identify three major effects of low RH on immune function and viral transmission:

  1. Lower levels of humidity improve the survival of airborne pathogens and increase their trajectory.
  2. “Cilia,” the tiny hairlike structures that line the inside of your airways, struggle to perform their protective duties in dry conditions. Cilia need sufficient moisture to trap foreign particles before they enter your body and cause any damage. 
  3. The presence of chronic dry air weakens the immune response, increasing the likelihood of transmitting viral infections.

Here’s the gist: dry air = bad. Sufficiently hydrated air = good. 

Since coronavirus is a viral infection transmitted through air droplets, increasing RH levels in your home can help in a number of ways. Increased RH can help to reduce the survival rate of COVID-19, improve your body’s defense against the virus should it enter your home, and ensure proper immune response to the coronavirus if you happen to transmit the disease.  

The best way to increase the RH levels of your home or living space is by using a humidifier. A humidifier can move from room to room increasing the moisture content of the air in your home to achieve optimal levels. 

What Are the Best Home Humidifiers?

Coronaviruses are troubling. It is safe to say that most of us are willing to take any necessary precautions to protect our health and the health of our family and loved ones. 

Adding a humidifier to your healthcare toolkit is a great way to improve your chances of remaining healthy and safe in the midst of this pandemic. When choosing a humidifier for your home, it is important to consider the following factors:

  • Do you need a compact humidifier or a whole house humidifier?
  • How easy or rigorous are the cleaning and maintenance requirements?
  • How big is the device tank? How long will the device run before needing a refill?

Compact Humidifier  vs. Whole House Humidifier

Before you begin your humidifier search, you need to determine whether you need a compact-sized humidifier or a whole house humidifier. Compact humidifiers are intended for smaller spaces like a particular room in your home; these humidifiers are small in size and can be moved from room to room allowing you to control the humidity levels of specific spaces. 

A whole house humidifier, on the other hand, is a larger device (often installed as a part of your HVAC) that works to increase the humidity levels of your entire home. Whole house humidifiers work alongside your furnace to raise RH in larger spaces. 

So, do you need a compact humidifier or a whole house humidifier? It depends. If you have a smaller home, or you prefer to control the humidity levels of a particular space (like a busy living room or a child’s nursery), a compact-sized humidifier is the way to go. If you have a larger home, or you prefer to raise humidity levels in every room of your house, then you may need a whole house humidifier. 

Care and Maintenance

Humidifiers need TLC, some more than others. When choosing the best humidifier for your home, you want to keep a close eye on the care and maintenance requirements

All humidifiers require daily wipe down to ensure proper function. The more rigorous process, however, is the weekly deep clean to prevent mold and bacteria build-up. Some humidifier devices have complicated componentry with an even more complicated set of cleaning directions. Most humidifiers require a manual clean, preferably with a natural disinfectant like white vinegar and water to effectively deep clean your device.  

Make sure to choose a device with care and maintenance requirements that are suited to your lifestyle. Canopy humidifiers, for example, are entirely machine washable with a replaceable paper filter that lasts up to 45 days.  

Tank Capacity

Humidifiers come in all shapes and sizes. You can find travel humidifiers that fit in your handbag, or massive humidifiers that lay claim to an entire corner of your room. 

Why is tank capacity important? Tank capacity is directly related to run time. The larger the tank, the longer the run time. For example, Canopy humidifiers have a 2.5L tank with a 36 hour run time. If you run your humidifier all day, you would only have to refill your Canopy water tank every day and a half. 

When choosing the best humidifier for your home, you want a device with a tank capacity that is easily compatible with your lifestyle. Maybe you don’t mind refilling your humidifier multiple times per day. Or, maye you prefer to refill your humidifier tank every few days. The choice is yours!