A group of American experts has warned that humidity influences the transmission capacity of the coronavirus and for this reason it has launched a new recommendation to citizens to avoid risks. Is about control said humidity in the interior spaces so that it remains in the range of between 40% and 60%.
Specifically, that advice refers to relative humidity, a concept that scientists themselves define as the amount of water vapor actually in the air compared to how much it can hold.
The scientists who have addressed this issue are Joseph G. Allen, a professor at Harvard University; Akiko Iwasaki, professor of immunobiology at Yale School of Medicine; and Linsey C. Marr professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech. The three have published a joint article in The Washington Post in which they relate the importance of adding this prevention measure to those that were already applied previously.
Greater transmission in dry environments
These experts provide an example to explain how Interiors of our homes become drier with the arrival of winter due to warming air: Think of it as a sponge: 100%, the sponge is totally soaked; at 50%, it contains half the water. Warmer air can hold more water vapor; It’s like a bigger sponge ”, they detail.
When this happens, it is common for the relative humidity to reach 20%, an amount that is far from the ideal figure of between 40% and 60%, which It can mean that the virus is transmitted more easily while our body finds it more difficult to cope with infections.
They advise using portable humidifiers
Experts explain in The Washington Post that dry air helps droplets that we expel when we speak or cough stay in the air for longer. In addition, it also influences the distance they can reach. “Many of those larger droplets that would have settled in the air become smaller, travel further, and penetrate deeper into our lungs,” they point out.
For this reason, scientists insist on the importance of not neglecting this phenomenon and advise keeping the relative humidity under the recommended parameters. In private homes it is possible to use portable humidifiers to increase humidity when the environment is dry, as they point out. “A study on the transmission of influenza concluded that the use of portable humidifiers in the home could cause up to 30% less survival of this virus,” they point as an example of the effectiveness of this method.