The Dangers of Low Humidity

Last year I blogged about how dry winters could be in these parts. I even had a doctor in Fairbanks compare the humidity levels in Interior Alaska, particularly in winter, to what astronauts experience in space.

Lately, I’ve been getting headaches, blurry vision and having trouble concentrating. I was concerned it was low levels of carbon monoxide (I’ve had my own CO scare several years back – you can read about the terrible ordeal here).

I did what any person with an Internet connection would do. I Googled. What I found was some pretty clear evidence that the low humidity level is obscenely low and most likely the cause of some pretty significant health issues.

I learned the the optimal relative humidity level for human comfort and health is anywhere from 30% to 50%.

A relative humidity level for an arid desert is 25%.

The humidity level in my home? 2%. Yes – TWO PERCENT.

Here are some of the results of low humidity:

1. Severe static electricity resulting in powerful shocks. CHECK. The static is so bad that I get shocks when I touch my computer, and it often causes my computer to freeze up.

2. Furniture dries out and cracks. CHECK.

3. Severe dry, itchy, red, flaky skin and cracked lips. CHECK.

4. Dry hair, split ends. CHECK.

5. Dry, itchy eyes. CHECK.

6. Sinus irritation, bloody noses, and respiratory problems. CHECK

7. Affects the human body’s ability to get oxygen and can cause headaches, migraines and lethargy. CHECK

8. Affects pets with all of the above.

The cure? A humidifier can do wonders. Even a vaporizer could help relieve some of these irritating symptoms. And the irony is that this house is a rental and came with an enormous humidifier in one of the closets, but we’ve never thought to use it. It’s coming out of the closet  now.

Additional reading: Humidifiers – Mayo Clinic

Have you been affected by extreme climates? What happened and what did you do?