Check Humidity to Help Protect Against This Season’s Flu Epidemic
Ecoair reveals how managing excess moisture can help us stay healthy during the UK’s worst outbreak of flu in decades.
- This season’s flu outbreak has claimed over 214 lives so far this winter
- Humidity over 60% puts you at risk of infection from airborne viruses and bacteria
- Maintaining the correct levels of humidity in the home, school or workplace (40-60%) can reduce the risk of contracting and spreading the flu virus
- Don’t wait for visible signs – damp or mould will not appear until humidity levels rise above 70%
The Flu epidemic is still a very real and worrying threat in the UK. Public Health England’s latest report records a total of 2,045 flu related hospital admissions (144 just in the last week) and 214 confirmed deaths from flu (as many as 19 fatalities in the last seven days) so far this winter.
We are largely aware that maintaining basic hygiene habits – covering the mouth when coughing or sneezing and washing hands thoroughly and regularly – can help to minimise the risk of passing on any virus, whilst preventative methods such as the flu jab, are highly recommended for people with immature or weakened immune systems.
Brits are less aware, however, of how high humidity increases our chances of catching or passing on the dreaded flu this winter. Worryingly, as many as 17 percent believe that high humidity has no negative effect on our health at all.
Sally Fok, co-founder and MD of Ecoair and air treatment expert, demystifies the issue…
Viruses thrive in humid conditions
“Airborne microorganisms such as viruses thrive in humid conditions” says Sally. “As soon as humidity levels rise above 60%, viruses survive longer and breed quicker, escalating the risk of contagion.
“High humidity is not uncommon in UK homes during the cold, wet winter months. With a tendency to turn up the heating and close doors and windows to keep a house as warm as possible, we significantly reduce air circulation, causing moisture generated inside to become trapped. This creates exactly the warm, damp conditions that microbes need to thrive.”
Monitoring for excess moisture
“Humidity can be measured by using a hygrometer. These are widely available online, inexpensive, and will provide peace of mind. Any reading above 60% and it is strongly advisable to take steps to reduce the moisture levels in your home to protect your health.
“You can’t see humidity; visible signs of moisture damage – damp, mould, mildew, condensation, rotting or warped wood or peeling paint – won’t appear until humidity levels are consistently around 70% or above. If these signs are present, air moisture levels are way above optimum levels and as well as risking your health, you’ll likely also end up with costly damage repair bills.
“It is important to test all living spaces; it may be that the excess moisture only occurs in specific rooms. Bathrooms, bedrooms and basements tend to be the worst culprits.”
Reducing excess moisture to protect against illness
“Closing windows and curtains, air drying or hanging laundry on the radiator, taking long baths or showers, blocking vents, draughts or gaps, boiling the kettle, cooking, even breathing, can all contribute to the build-up of excess moisture in our homes.
“A very simple method to disperse excess moisture in the air is to ventilate. Frequent and good air circulation – especially in winter – will allow excess moisture to escape and as such, is a vital step for warding off flu and other illnesses. Open windows regularly and use vent fans and cooker hoods every time you cook or take a shower or bath.
“For a more immediate and controlled solution, a dehumidifier will successfully restore and maintain the correct moisture levels by quickly extracting moisture from the air. Once humidity levels in the home are brought down to below 60%, airborne microorganisms will not only stop breeding, but will struggle to survive.
“Desiccant dehumidifiers are particularly effective in reducing the risk of infection from airborne illnesses as in addition to extracting moisture from the air, they instantly kill any microorganisms that pass through the unit due to the internal heat. A dehumidifier with desiccant technology therefore doubles up as an air purifier, killing any microorganisms that may be present in the air. It also performs better than its compressor cousins at lower temperatures so is the ideal solution for the winter months.”
Sally concludes: “Flu and other winter bugs may be a staple of the season, but by taking simple steps you can drastically cut the likelihood of harbouring dangerous microbes in your home.”
For more information, visit www.Ecoair.org
Notes to Editors:
Sally Fok, co-founder and MD of Ecoair, is available for comment or interview and can provide expert input or tips for features on air treatment.
For further press information:
Julie Aguilera/Jo Kendall/Allie Ford
T: +44 (0)20 3440 8930
E: [email protected]
Launched in 2006, Ecoair is one of the leading suppliers of air treatment products in the UK and the #1 supplier of desiccant dehumidifiers. It is the driving force behind the introduction of desiccant dehumidifier technology in the UK and one of the first to bring desiccant dehumidifiers to the semi industrial market.
Ecoair boasts the largest range of desiccant dehumidifiers for the domestic market in the UK and is the only company currently to offer a 10L capacity desiccant dehumidifier for UK domestic use.
Providing the most honest and accurate product specifications, Ecoair is committed to bring products to market that give much better results than those of competitors.
Specialising primarily in dehumidifiers (desiccant and compressor), Ecoair also offers fans, air purifiers and air conditioning units (portable, wall mounted, multi split, window or ceiling cassette units).
With a dedicated R&D team, Ecoair has in the last 3 years invested heavily in improving the desiccant technology and specifications. Ecoair believes that all companies have a social responsibility to achieve sustainability. Many AC and dehumidifier products on the market still contain HFC gas, which is harmful to the environment. Ecoair’s R&D is focused on working with sustainable sources to eliminate the need for HFC gas in its products.
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/681730/Weekly_national_influenza_report_week_07_2018.pdf (Data applies to the period 2 Oct 2017 – 15 Feb 2018)
 Research carried out by Opinion Matters on behalf of Ecoair, with a nationally representative sample of 1,001 UK adults, between 13-16 November 2017