Immune Health and Active Living

Air quality matters

March, 2020

Winter has been in full effect for three months now and we tend to get sicker quicker this time of year. While the heat is running 24/7 to keep us comfortable and warm, it’s also sucking every bit of moisture out of the air!

The adult human body is about 60% water, which is why dry air has such a negative impact on our health. Dry, circulated air takes a toll on our bodies, from our skin, to our breathing, to our concentration. But fear not! Rather than turning off the heat or never getting on a plane, there are ways to make these dry, wintery days just a little bit easier on our body.

In the home

Keeping our home warm and cozy is key to getting through a cold winter, but what if that comforting heat increase our risk of getting sick?

Your body functions best in environments with higher levels of humidity because it craves the moisture in the air. To combat the higher risk of colds and flus that accompany the colder weather, invest in a humidifier to compensate for the lack of humidity in the air and make your environment at home that much more relaxing.

At the office

Let’s face it, once one person in the office gets sick, everyone gets sick. But COLD-FXers know better!

With heat vents blasting at full power every day, it is no surprise germs spread like wildfire at work. One study found that viruses spread faster and easier when humidity levels are low, making the office the perfect place for colds to spread. On top of that, another study shows dry office air impedes our ability to concentrate.

The most fun and simple way to remedy this is to add a plant to your desk setup. Plants go through a process called transpiration, where water is absorbed through their roots, and then escapes through leaves as vapor. In other words, plants work as mother nature’s very own humidifier!

Up in the air

It’s recommended that houses be kept between 30 and 50 per cent humidity, so you can only imagine what the less than 20 per cent humidity levels in airplanes will do to you.

Most airplanes are pressurized to higher altitudes, meaning you’re living both high and dry, a double whammy for your body. On top of increasing the chances of illness and the spread of germs from a plethora of strangers coming in and out of the airport, the dry recycled air in airplanes literally dries you out – particularly your skin and your eyes. Water is your best friend. Hydrate your insides, and it will show on the outside. Carry a reusable water bottle that you can keep filled. And as for your eyes, keep some moisturizing eye drops on hand and remember to keep those hands out of your eyes.