What Is The Connection Between Humidity And Asthma
- Reactions 0 reactions
Weather, any time of the year, is not a friend to people with asthma. But hot, humid days can be some of the most challenging weather conditions we have to contend with.
Have you noticed that your breathing gets worse on days when the humidity rises over 50%? If so, you’re not alone.
I know that during the 30 years I lived in southern New Jersey, my asthma was definitely a lot worse than it’s been in the 3 years I’ve lived in southwestern Colorado. New Jersey, right on the Atlantic coast, has much higher humidity levels than the high desert and mountains of my current home. I especially felt the effects of heat and humidity during the summer allergy season.
Bottom Line: Dehumidifier Or Humidifier For Asthma And Allergies
Using a humidifier or dehumidifier for asthma and allergies largely depends on the current level of humidity in your home. It also depends on the season. During seasons of very high humidity, a dehumidifier might be your best bet. It reduces the humidity in your indoor air to an acceptable level.
During periods of low humidity, a humidifier increases the humidity in your home and alleviates the symptoms of dry air. As long as its used correctly and cleaned regularly, there wont be any danger of spreading allergens.
The choice of humidifier or dehumidifier also depends on your region. If you live in an area with a temperate or arid climate, the best humidifier fir asthma and allergies is a better choice. Meanwhile, if your region has a high humidity level, the best humidifier for COPD, asthma and allergies is more useful.
You can also use both. Use a humidifier during periods of low humidity and a dehumidifier during periods of high humidity. Whatever you do, the goal should be to keep the humidity level at a healthy level so as not to trigger your asthma and allergies.
Ideal Humidity Levels For Health
Humidity is the measure of moisture in the air. Too dry and it can cause the skin to dry out and the lining in the nose and throat to become dry.
Too damp and it can create a stuffy feeling and spur mold, bacteria, and dust mite growth. Its tough to find the perfect balance!
According to the Mayo Clinic, humidity levels are most comfortable between 30-50%.
Don’t Miss: Help Asthma Without Inhaler
Migraine Headaches And Weather Changes
Falling barometric pressure, a sharp increase in humidity, a sudden drop in temperature — these weather changes may trigger migraines in people already susceptible to them.
And it appears that stable weather may help reduce the incidence of migraines. “I had a patient here in New York who moved to Arizona and experienced an astounding improvement in her migraines,” says Richard Lipton, MD, director of the Montefiore Headache Center. While New Yorkers endure sudden and frequent changes in humidity levels and temperature, Arizona residents enjoy fairly uniform conditions marked by dry, warm air.
Research supports the theory that changing weather triggers migraines. In one survey that asked migraine sufferers to list triggers, 53% responded “weather.”
Not everyone can move to a different climate so they can feel better. But migraine sufferers can take some action against weather-induced headaches. First, Lipton urges his patients to keep a diary of their migraines to make cause-and-effect connections. Then, if weather changes seem to play a role in migraines, the next step may be to discuss pretreatment with a doctor to avoid the onset of pain.
How Can Dust Mites Be Eliminated
You can take action to reduce or eliminate dust mites in your home.
- Reduce humidity. To minimize the growth of dust mites, keep your home below 50 percent humidity. In humid areas, air conditioning and dehumidifiers can help. On dry days, open your windows for one hour per day to help remove humidity from the house.2
- Reduce the places where dust mites can grow. Remove some of the furniture or use furniture with smooth surfaces, eliminate drapes and curtains, and cover mattresses and pillows to reduce dust mites. Wash bedding in hot water once a week.
- Replace carpets. Carpeting should be removed from the home, especially if occupants are allergic to dust mites.2 If you must retain the carpet, use a vacuum cleaner with a high efficiency filter or a central vacuum cleaner. Damp mop floors often.
- Dust regularly. Incorporating dusting into your regular cleaning routine can reduce the amount of dust and improve overall indoor air quality in your home. When dusting, use a damp mop, damp cloth or a duster that can trap and remove dust to reduce the amount of it that is stirred up when cleaning. Think beyond traditional cleaning methods like dry brooms or feather dusters and use a tool that removes dust from your home.
California Air Resources Board . 2005. Report to the California Legislature: Indoor Air Pollution in California. Sacramento, CA: California Environmental Protection Agency.
Read Also: Does Allergy Cause Asthma
Inflamed Dermatitis Eczema And Asthma
Eczema and other forms of dermatitis are often exacerbated by changes in temperature and humidity. When sweat remains on your skin in high-humidity conditions, it can lead to heat rash an itchy, uncomfortable skin irritation that can occur when your sweat glands get clogged.
Extremely low humidity conditions can also worsen skin irritation. Oftentimes, eczema becomes inflamed in winter as suffers travel between overheated buildings and cold outdoor temperatures. The low humidity typically associated with cold winter months can worsen flare-ups as the skin is drained of moisture and essential oils.
For people with asthma, humidity levels can influence the frequency and severity of symptoms. Mold and dust mites thrive in high-moisture environments, so elevated indoor humidity levels can increase the amount of airborne irritants you’re exposed to on a daily basis. In addition, high humidity coupled with high temperatures can increase airway resistance when you breathe and trigger coughing and airway constriction in people with even mild asthma.
What Does A Dehumidifier Do For Allergies And Asthma Attack
A dehumidifier is a machine that removes water vapour from the environment. They are used to reduce the humidity in your home. They are especially useful in areas and seasons with high humidity.
A dehumidifier can help alleviate the discomfort faced by asthmatic patients breathing in denser air. It can also reduce the feeling of congestion caused by high humidity. A dehumidifier can also reduce the growth of microorganisms and mould in the home.
Also Read:Best Dehumidifier for conservatory
Recommended Reading: What Do You Call An Asthma Specialist
What Are Dust Mites
Dust mites are microscopic, insect-like pests that generate some of the most common indoor substancesor allergensthat can trigger allergic reactions and asthma in many people. Hundreds of thousands of dust mites can live in the bedding, mattresses, upholstered furniture, carpets or curtains in your home. They feed on the dead human skin cells found in dust.
Dust mites are not parasites; they don’t bite, sting or burrow into our bodies. The harmful allergen they create comes from their fecal pellets and body fragments. Dust mites are nearly everywhere; roughly four out of five homes in the United States have detectable levels of dust mite allergen in at least one bed.1
What You Can Do
- You can check the humidity in your home by using a hygrometer. These are sometimes included in thermometers or clocks.
- Ventilation and improved air circulation can be a cheap and effective method of reducing humidity, but if the humidity is higher outside than it is inside, just opening the windows is likely to increase indoor humidity.
- Heat recovery ventilation and other products that send warm air in ceiling cavities to cooler living areas should reduce relative humidity. A filter is a good idea if air is pumped into rooms.
- Use extraction fans in bathrooms and laundries, as hot showers and dryers can dramatically increase relative humidity. These areas are often prone to mould growth and extraction fans should be cleaned and maintained regularly.
- Refrigerated air conditioners often have built-in dehumidification functions that can be used to manage humidity levels.
- Dehumidifiers will extract water from the air and reduce humidity.
- Most forms of heating will lower relative humidity, but in some cases may cause air to become too dry. Avoid unflued gas heating and open fireplaces.
- Humidifiers may be suited to very dry indoor air but should not be set above 50 per cent relative humidity. They should include a feature to sterilise any mist they produce, so it does not spread bacteria, and turn off automatically once the desired humidity is reached.
- Except in very dry areas, avoid using an evaporative air-conditioner as it will increase humidity.
Recommended Reading: How Long Can An Asthma Attack Last
How Houston Humidty Can Affect Your Asthma
Suffering from asthma is no joke, and everyone who experiences asthma attacks knows how weather conditions can affect it and make it worse. The weather gets lots of blame for lots of conditions, from achy joints to headaches, and in many cases its air pressure or changes in pressure that brings on the suffering.
With asthma, changes in air pressure can also lead to a feeling of stuffiness or difficulty breathing, but humidity is one of the main culprits. If you live in an area that has high humidity, its important you understand how this can trigger asthma attacks so you can do all in your power to avoid them.
What Is An Asthma Trigger
If youve been diagnosed with asthma, its important to consider triggers in your environment that may be making your symptoms worse. Triggers are different from risk factors in that they may make it more likely that someone gets asthma rather than simply worsening ones symptoms.
There are many different asthma triggers, such as animal dander, medications, and even exercise. Not every trigger affects every person. If you have asthma, you will know, or soon learn, what affects your symptoms.
As you run through this list of asthma triggers, think about your own symptoms. Have you noticed whether any of them affect you? If youre not sure, it could be a good idea to start paying a little closer attention to when and where your symptoms get worse.
You and your healthcare provider can work together to find ways to lessen the impact of these triggers on your asthma.
Also Check: What Steroids Are In Asthma Inhalers
What Is An Allergy
An allergy is when the immune system overreacts to substances in the environment that are usually harmless to people. These substances are called allergens and are found in dust mites, pollens, molds etc. When the allergen encounters an allergic person, it triggers an allergic response causing discomfort and symptoms.
Climate change has led to long summers accompanied by high humidity. Humidity is the vaporized water contained in the air. The current temperature along with the amount of vaporized water is known as relative humidity.
As a result of prolonged high humidity levels, there is a rise in the number of people developing allergies.
There was a time when sneezing and coughing were considered as diseases and earned visits to the doctor. Nowadays, it is common to see people with allergies saying things like, Oh, it is just the allergy, You know how it is. Almost everyone has a runny nose, coughing or sneezing problem in the morning., The runny nose will go away once the weather gets better.
Usually, these allergies are linked to the seasons, but the underlying cause is the humidity during these seasons. Our attention is always directed towards the hot summers or the cold winters; so we do not pay much attention to the allergy symptoms. We counter it by popping some pills or waiting the season out. Too much or too little humidity, both cause allergies.
Checking The Air Quality
The air quality index indicates the daily level of pollutants, such as smog. Air quality levels vary daily and between locations. The more pollutants in the air, the harder it can be for a person with asthma to breathe.
The AQI measures air quality on a scale from 0500. The higher the number, the worse the air quality. Air quality tends to be worse on hot and humid days. Staying inside when the air quality is poor might prevent asthma symptoms developing.
You May Like: Do Chihuahuas Help Cure Asthma
How Can Low Humidity Affect Your Health
When you think about low humidity, you probably associate it with comfortable summer afternoons or dry winter nights. While low humidity is something to rejoice in during the hot months of summer, its something to pay close attention to during the winter, especially inside of your own home.;
Humidity is measured by the amount of water vapor in the air, and its an extremely important health variable that is often easily overlooked, yet easily remedied by purchasing a home humidifier. We might get frustrated at low humidity when we get static shocks left and right, but we should be more concerned on its effects on the body and overall health. Health experts say that ideal humidity falls in the range between 40 and 60 percent. When humidity is higher than 60 percent, it can contribute to the growth of mold and allergens, which, of course, can lead to health hazards for those with allergies and asthma. However, low humidity is equally dangerous, not just for those with existing health conditions, but also for the healthiest individuals.;
Extended exposure to low levels of humidity can dry out and cause inflammation of the mucous membrane that lines your respiratory tract, increasing your risk of contracting anything from the common cold to more serious conditions like influenza and other infectious diseases. Additionally, low humidity enables some viruses to live longer, which can make it more difficult to overcome even the most minor sicknesses.;
Is There A Recommended Room Temperature For Asthma
“A small study suggests that the best room temperature for people with asthma is between 68 and 71°F . This air temperature is mild, so it wont irritate the airways. Additionally, an indoor humidity level between 30 and 50 percent is ideal.”
Certain environmental factors can make your asthma flare. These include air temperature and humidity, both indoors and outdoors. The ideal room temperature for people with asthma is a mild temperature with low humidity.
Extreme temperatures and humidity levels can trigger an asthma attack. However, you can minimize your risk indoors by adjusting your environment.
Read on to learn about the best room temperature for asthma and how to reduce indoor asthma triggers.
Is there an ideal room temperature and humidity level for asthma?Very hot temperatures with high humidity and very cold temperatures can worsen asthma. Therefore, mild temperatures and low humidity are recommended.
According to a small study in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine Trusted Source, a room temperature of 68 to 71°F is ideal for people with asthma. This temperature isnt too hot or cold, so it wont irritate the airways.
Additionally, indoor humidity levels should be 30 to 50 percent, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. This level of humidity is less likely to cause asthma symptoms.
There are several devices you can use to create the ideal temperature and humidity levels indoors: Read More
Don’t Miss: What Causes A Wheeze In Asthma
How To Protect Your Asthma From Humidity
First of all, every person with asthma, whether child or adult, should have a written asthma action plan that will guide you in maintaining your asthma control. As soon as you notice any symptoms starting or worsening, refer to your action plan. But beyond that, here are a couple of other suggestions.
Home Humidity And Your Asthma
Home humidity problems are not only annoying and uncomfortable but can also lead to problems with your asthma control. When humidity levels in the home are high, dust mites;and molds tend to thrive. High home humidity levels can lead to asthma symptoms such as:
High home humidity levels are a trigger that indicates too much moisture. You can look around your house for a number of indicators of high humidity levels such as:
- Damp spots on ceilings or walls
- Sweating on the basement floor or walls
- Condensation on water pipes
Also Check: How Can Someone Get Asthma
Recommended Reading: What Causes Someone To Get Asthma
Chronic Skin And Throat Irritation
When humidity levels are extremely low, you lose more water vapor through respiration and the pores in your skin. This can cause chronic dry skin, chapped lips, a scratchy throat, and an itchy nose. As you rub your nose or swallow repeatedly to rid yourself of this feeling, you actually cause more irritation and inflammation to these delicate passageways.
Can The Weather Affect My Child’s Asthma
Yes. Weather conditions can bring on asthma symptoms. Some kids’ asthma symptoms get worse at certain times of the year. For others, a severe storm or sudden weather change can trigger a flare-up.
Hot, humid air also can be a problem. In some places, heat and sunlight combine with pollutants to create ground-level ozone. This kind of ozone can be a strong asthma trigger.
Wet weather and windy weather can cause problems too. Wet weather encourages mold growth, and;wind can blow mold and pollen through the air.
If you think weather plays a role in your child’s asthma, keep a diary of asthma symptoms and possible triggers and discuss them with your doctor. If pollen, mold, or other allergens make asthma symptoms worse, ask about allergy testing.