The flu season this year has been one of the most severe our city has seen with 19 reported deaths in our province to date. Our hospital emergency rooms are busting at the seams with long waiting times and many of us have missed work or been ill with this flu bug. Calgary has been especially hard hit this year and we are all left looking for things we can do to help us stay healthy.
If you are just getting over a bout of the flu, Canadian Living has a great article on natural ways to clean your home after you, or someone in your home, has had a cold or the flu.
To prevent flu, we would always suggest the flu shot every year as a way of building your immune system. Health Canada also suggests frequent hand washing, avoiding touching your nose, mouth or eyes with your hands, disinfecting objects that a lot of people touch as well as proper coughing and sneezing etiquette. But what about our home HVAC system?
What does the science say?
Science has known for some time that higher humidity in buildings can slow down the transmission of the flu virus. This interesting report in the MyHealthNewsDaily goes through a study where researchers from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, simulated flu transmission using “coughing” and “breathing” mannequins to measure virus particle movements. Their research showed that at 23% relative humidity, 70 to 75% of flu virus were still able to cause an infection. However, at 43% relative humidity, only 14% had the ability to infect.
Can our HVAC System Help Us?
Adding humidity has always been a key for us to stay comfortable living in Calgary. However, reaching the 43% relative humidity that the study suggest may not be possible in most of our homes, especially with the large outside temperature swings we experience here in Calgary. Even though we may not be able to reach the 43%, we can still benefit from raising the humidity in our home. We will always play a balancing act between keeping the humidity up, yet not high enough that it causes moisture on our windows which can lead to mould.
Added humidity makes us feel more comfortable at a slightly lower temperature, even our home benefits from the addition of humidity, especially our hardwood floors and home furnishings.
If you do not have a central humidifier, Arpi’s has many models that we can suggest so you get the right one for your home.
If you already have a humidifier, it is probably a good time to service it as it has been working full time for the last 5 months.
In addition to adding humidity, current UV germicidal lights can be a good addition to your system as a good way of killing viruses.
Even if you have not had your furnace serviced lately we can still come out and perform this service for you.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Calgary, Alberta about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide.