A Proper Indoor Relative Humidity Level May Prevent COVID

While maintaining optimum relative humidity in indoor settings like your home may help keep you healthy, it is known that having adequate indoor ventilation might help stop the spread of COVID-19.

According to an MIT news release, the “sweet spot” for fewer COVID-19 cases and fatalities is between 40% and 60% indoor relative humidity. More people contracted COVID-19 when their indoor relative humidity was kept outside of those limits.

According to experts, most people find 30% to 50% relative humidity to be pleasant. A plane’s cabin has a relative humidity of around 20%.

The difference between the amount of moisture in the air and the maximum amount that can be held by it before saturation and condensation occurs is known as relative humidity.

The Journal of the Royal Society Interface published the study. Before vaccines were made widely accessible, researchers looked at COVID-19 data and meteorological readings from 121 countries between January 2020 and August 2020.

“They believed that indoor areas were heated to a comfortable level when external temperatures were below that range. They computed the related decline in indoor relative humidity based on the additional heating, according to an MIT news release.

According to the press release, the research teams discovered that the estimated indoor relative humidity in a location was either lower than 40% or greater than 60% when the region reported an increase in COVID-19 cases and deaths.

According to Connor Verheyen, the lead author and a PhD candidate in medical engineering and medical physics at the Harvard-MIT Program in Health Sciences and Technology, “there may be a protective effect of this intermediate indoor relative humidity.”

The study came to the conclusion that broad use of the 40%–60% indoor humidity range could lessen the necessity for lockdowns and other types of extensive limitations.

The study concluded that indoor RH optimization would achieve high compliance since all inhabitants of a shared indoor space would be exposed to equal ambient conditions, unlike interventions that depend on individual compliance (such as masking or hand-washing). “Humidity management devices could potentially be introduced more rapidly and inexpensively in some indoor environments compared to the lengthy timetables and high costs of vaccine development and distribution.”

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