With over 16 million state and local government employees and thousands of citizens visiting government facilities on any given day, using a non-pharmaceutical intervention like humidity is highly recommended to create a healthy indoor environment for staff and visitors.
Shared workspace, frequent face-to-face interactions, and the constant flow of visitors make government facilities an ideal environment for viruses to spread. Staff and visitors in these facilities are exposed to health and wellness issues caused by overly dry air such as respiratory problems, skin irritations, dry nasal passages, dry eyes, and sore throats. Studies have shown keeping relative humidity (RH) levels within a range of 40 to 60 percent is necessary to maintain a healthy indoor environment and reduce the spread of airborne viruses such as SARS-CoV-2.
In addition, the natural defense system of our bodies becomes less effective in dry air, making it harder to fight off infection very effectively. It has been proven that viruses that cause influenza and other flu-like illnesses survive best in low RH environments. Installation of a humidification system allows precise control over the RH in an indoor space to render viruses inactive and less infectious, helping to protect staff, visitors, and the surrounding community.
Issues caused by low or fluctuating relative humidity
Spread of viruses
- Healthy levels of humidification can help to reduce the spread of viruses like COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) and seasonal influenza in the built environment.
- The World Health Organization has called for non-pharmaceutical approaches to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19,1 and the addition of humidity is a safe, efficient, and easy way to protect staff, visitors, and the surrounding community.
- Airborne viruses such as SARS-CoV-2, MERS, and Influenza A are expelled as aerosols through breathing, speaking, coughing, and sneezing. Researchers have captured pathogen-bearing aerosols traveling up to 25 feet from a simple sneeze.
Illness and Discomfort
- Dry indoor air has a negative impact on the overall health of staff and those visiting the facility because it allows infections to spread quickly.
- There are real costs associated with health-related issues caused by dry air, including higher absentee rates of staff.
Buyer’s Guide: Humidification for Government Buildings Learn more how to create a healthy indoor environment with the use of relative humidity to protect your staff, visitors, and the surrounding community.
1. Non-pharmaceutical public health measures for mitigating the risk and impact of epidemic and pandemic influenza