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Can a humidifier help prevent the flu?

Friday, February 13th, 2009 by:
A humidifer can reduce your flu risk.

A humidifier can reduce your flu risk.

A humidifier or vaporizer is one of the few ways to ease congestion in babies and toddlers. (They moisten the air and can help clear your child’s nasal passages.) Now, a new study shows that increasing humidity levels in your home may even help prevent the flu.

A recent study in Proceedings of National Academy of Science found that flu spreads better in dry air. So, when absolute humidity is low, influenza virus survival is prolonged and transmission rates go up. That’s why we see seasonal spikes in flu.

Although a humidifier can help, don’t over do it–too much humidity can lead to mold. The Mayo Clinic suggests 40 to 50 percent home humidity. To find out where you’re at, buy an inexpensive hygrometer to measure your home’s humidity levels.